You’re going to love this hearty and Healthy 30-Minute Turkey Quinoa Chili. Filled with ground turkey, quinoa, bacon, beans, and roasted poblano peppers, this comforting one-pot meal is perfect for weeknight dinners and meal prep!Jump to Recipe
Originally posted on 02/25/2017 – Updated on 10/20/2021
I could go on and on about how much I love this Healthy 30-Minute Turkey Quinoa Chili! It’s the ultimate cold weather meal because it’s loaded with plenty of smoky, comforting ingredients like ground turkey, poblano peppers, hearty bacon, quinoa, and black beans. Enjoy it as an easy weeknight dinner or freeze it for later!
You’ll be surprised at just how low maintenance this turkey quinoa chili recipe really is. Once the poblano peppers are roasted, everything is thrown in one big pot and left to simmer to bring all of the intricate layers of flavor together. Every bite is filling, smoky, hearty, and savory!
Turkey chili ingredients and substitutions
- Ground turkey – Lean ground turkey is very nutritious and flavorful on its own, making it a great choice for healthy chili. If you want, feel free to use ground chicken or lean Mexican beef instead.
- Quinoa – The quinoa cooks right in the chili, making this an easy one-pot chili recipe. Feel free to substitute quinoa with rice, barley, or another grain if you want.
- Bacon – Because chili is always better with bacon!
- Smoked ham hock – This is completely optional but it gives the chili a beautiful smoky flavor. You should be able to find a ham hock in the deli section at your local grocery store, but if not, feel free to omit it.
- Black beans – Or use pinto beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans, or chickpeas.
- Corn – Use frozen corn to keep things simple or roast or grill corn on the cob for extra flavor.
- Poblano peppers – I love the smokiness roasted poblano peppers add to chili but if you can’t find any, you can replace them with chopped bell peppers to saute with the onions.
- Seasonings – Classic chili seasonings like cumin, oregano, garlic powder, chili powder, and smoked paprika are all you need.
- Fire roasted tomatoes – These charred tomatoes are perfect in a hearty, healthy turkey chili, but regular diced tomatoes will work just as well.
How to make turkey quinoa chili
Time needed: 35 minutes.
- Roast the poblano peppers.
Roast the poblanos on your gas stovetop or in the oven until they’re charred on all sides. Transfer them to a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap to help the peppers “sweat”. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel the charred skin off and chop them up.
- Saute the onion and bacon.
To a large pot, add some oil and heat over medium heat. Saute the bacon and onion together for about 5 minutes.
- Add the turkey and seasonings.
Add the ground turkey, garlic, chopped peppers, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, and salt to the pot and stir. Cook until the turkey begins to brown.
- Add the rest, simmer, then serve.
Next, add the diced tomatoes, smoked ham hock, chicken stock, beans, and quinoa, and corn. Stir everything together and bring it up to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn down the heat and let it simmer until the quinoa is cooked. When it’s ready, top each bowl with lots of toppings and enjoy!
Healthy toppings for chili
- Avocado slices or chunks
- Greek yogurt
- Sliced radishes
- Pickled red onions
- Lime wedges
- Tortilla chips
- Sour cream
- Shredded cheese
- Red chimichurri sauce
Don’t forget the cornbread or dinner rolls on the side!
Helpful tips and FAQs
- Make this chili recipe after Thanksgiving or the holidays when you have lots of leftover turkey to use up.
- Customize your ground turkey chili by adding in sweet potato, butternut squash, broccoli, greens, or anything else you like.
Turkey chili with quinoa is really easy to make in the slow cooker. Saute the bacon, onions, garlic, and turkey in a pan on the stove. Once they’re all ready, add them to the crockpot along with the rest of the chili ingredients. Cook on High for 4 hours or on Low for 7 hours.
To make turkey quinoa chili in the Instant Pot, first saute the ground turkey in some oil on Saute mode. Transfer it to a plate when it’s browned, then saute the bacon, onion, and garlic in the IP with a little more oil.
Turn off Saute mode and add everything into the IP. Cook on High Pressure for 20 minutes. Release the pressure valve and remove the lid once all of the pressure has been released. Adjust the seasonings as needed, then serve with all of the toppings you love.
Chili is one of the best make ahead meals and a great choice for meal prep and easy weeknight dinners. When the batch is ready, let it cool and store it in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Yes! Add the cooked and cooled batch to airtight containers or ziploc bags and freeze for up to 3 months. Let the frozen chili thaw in the fridge before you reheat it on the stove or microwave.
Looking for more hearty and comforting dinner recipes?
- Mediterranean Chicken and Orzo
- Sausage Tortellini Soup with Kale
- Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi
- French Onion Chicken Meatballs
Did you try this Healthy 30-Minute Turkey Quinoa Chili? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below and giving this recipe a rating! Don’t forget to take a picture tag me on Instagram or use #lenaskitchenblog to be featured in my stories! I love seeing what you come up with!
Healthy 30-Minute Turkey Quinoa Chili
- 6 slices bacon cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 medium sweet onion diced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 smoked ham hock or use smoked shank or turkey wings
- 2 lbs ground turkey
- 2 poblano peppers fire roasted and diced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
- 3 ½ cups chicken stock
- 2 cans black beans rinsed and drained
- 1 ½ cups corn roasted or regular frozen corn
- ¾ cup quinoa uncooked
- avocado sliced
- greek yogurt
- radishes sliced
- cilantro chopped
- lime cut into wedges
- Fire roast the poblano peppers on your gas stovetop, until charred. Use thongs to roatate. Add to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to help release the skin, peel it and chop the peppers. If you don't have a gas stove, use your oven and broil on high, turn every few minutes to get that fire-roasted look.
- Heat a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat. Add the sliced bacon and onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one more minute.
- Add the ground turkey, garlic, chopped peppers, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, chili, smoked paprika, and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, breaking up the meat until it starts to brown.
- Add the diced tomatoes, smoked ham hock, chicken stock, beans, chopped poblano peppers, and quinoa, and corn. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until quinoa is cooked according to package.
- Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy while hot.