Turkey vegetable chili isn't exactly something I grew up with. When I was in high school, our cafeteria served chili every now and then. I wouldn't really say that I had a refined palette when I was a teenager. God knows I wasn't a healthy eater in those days, either. Most of the time, my lunch room tray would include a bag of sour cream and onion chips and a big chocolate chip cookie. Just writing this makes me want to kick my own ass right now. Anyhow, one day when chili was on the menu at HUHS, a new girl from Texas was in line in front of me waiting to get food. As she got closer to the chili-filled styrofoam bowls, I hear her exclaim, "Why is there macaroni in my chili!?! I have never seen this before." She did not try to try to disguise her surprise, but the lunch ladies paid no attention and kept lining up new bowls that were there for the taking.
I pondered this question for a moment and just simply I guess that's how we make chili in Wisconsin. It never really occurred to me that offense would be taken by adding elbow-shaped pasta, but apparently true Texas chili is served sans pasta. Then I sat down, ate my chili...and probably a bag of chips and a cookie, too.
I love chili. I really do. You can make it a million different ways, call it chili and well, no one questions you. If it looks sort of reddish-brownish, is thicker than soup and has a sliver of seasoning - it's chili. About two years ago I hosted a chili cook off at my house. The winner, my friend Marty, made Thai Turkey Chili. It was incredible and of the twelve crockpots that sat on my dining room table, his was the only one that was bone dry at the end of the night.
My chili recipe isn't based in Thai flavors, rather veggies and turkey with a more traditional chili flavor. The recipe itself is really simple. I made this on a Monday, which is my busiest day with work and my kids. The hardest part about this recipe is chopping vegetables. If you can do that, you'll have no problem acing this recipe.
Up until I made this recipe, I've enjoyed using Muir Glen canned tomatoes and have even gone out of my way to recommend them as the linings of the cans are BPA-free. They're also organic, so I thought I had a slam dunk in terms of a high quality food. Then today it occurred to me that Muir Glen is owned by General Mills. General Mills is one of many deep pocket companies that have tried to prevent labeling of genetically modified foods. Unfortunately, genetically modified foods and organic foods can not coexist, so I'll have to say adios Muir Glen! Want to know if any of your favorite brands support GMO? Here's a great graphic.
If you're looking for a better canned tomato, try Eden Organics. It's my understanding that they're not owned by a larger company that stands in the way of labeling GMO foods. Their products are also organic and free of BPA.
You can add just about any type of vegetable to your recipe. Use organic whenever possible. Organic vegetable are not only free of pesticides, herbicides and other byproducts, but they also have more nutrients than conventionally-produced vegetables.
The flavor really comes from the seasonings that are added to the recipe as much the vegetables. For this recipe, I used fairly traditional chili seasonings with a little extra curry to suit my taste buds. I make large amounts of chili powder, then store it in mason jars. It's a convenient and healthier way of getting seasonings. Many store-bought seasonings contain additives like MSG.
After I added all the ingredients, I gave the crockpot a good stir, put the lid on and left it alone for a couple hours. When I serve chili, I often use homemade yogurt instead of sour cream.
Turkey Vegetable Chili
Serves 6 - 8
1 lb ground turkey breast
1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil (you can use butter or olive oil if you'd like)
2 14.5 oz cans tomato puree
2 carrots, chopped (if small, use three)
1 medium yellow onion. chopped
1 1/2 c. mushrooms, chopped
1 green zucchini, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoons oregano
1 tsp curry powder (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Note: This chili powder is only enough for one recipe. I highly recommend making more, storing it in a mason jar and using again and agin. It stores well for up to six months.
1. Melt coconut oil in heated crockpot
2. Add ground turkey. Allow to brown entirely before adding vegetables.
3. While turkey is browning, begin preparing vegetables.
4. Add canned tomatoes, vegetables and chili seasoning to crockpot. Stir all ingredients together thoroughly and let sit at medium/high heat for two hours, or low heat for four to 6+ hours.
Serve with your favorite chili topping and enjoy!
Need help managing your weight or want to tone up a little? I just launched my new program, The 10 Pound Club. Want more information on that? Here you go!
Traci is a nationally recognized health and fitness expert who has been featured on The TODAY Show and Dr. Oz. Traci is available for corporate speaking events and wellness coaching, as well as private training. Contact Traci here.