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[Recipes] Turkey Chili — Protein-Loaded, Low Fat, Fiber Rich

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Lean It UP Turkey Chili -- the finished product.

I‘m always looking to invent new recipes that combine stellar nutrition with succulent taste. This time I wanted turkey chili.

I didn’t want to create any ordinary chili though — I wanted an UBER healthy, protein-packed chili that delivered a spicy punch. This chili is loaded with muscle-building protein, belly filling fiber, and disease fighting antioxidants; lowers cholesterol and blood pressure; burns calories through thermogenesis; prevents inflammation; promotes positive heart, digestive, and gastrointestinal health; and even controls blood sugar levels. It’s hard to fathom how something so nutritious could also taste so incredibly delicious.


Ingredients, Ingredients, Ingredients…


– 2 lbs lean ground turkey (93% lean or more).

Ground turkey is an incredible source of protein, iron, vitamin B6 and B12, riboflavin, niacin, selenium (a powerful antioxidant), phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. Swapping out lean turkey for beef cuts out a significant amount of fat, saturated fat, and calories.

Applegate Farms Turkey Bacon

Applegate Naturals Turkey Bacon

– 4 strips of natural, unprocessed turkey bacon.

All-natural, unprocessed turkey bacon made without any preservatives is a delicious and healthy source of protein. Each strip only has 30 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, no saturated fat, 200 mg sodium and 6 grams of protein. I REALLY like Applegate Naturals Turkey Bacon.

– 1 hot green chili pepper.

Chili peppers contribute vitamin A and have been shown to fight inflammation, serve as a natural pain reliever, reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, clear sinus congestion, boost immune function, and aid in weight loss through themogenesis. Thermogenesis is the process by which your body raises its core temperature, burning both calories and fat. 1 chili pepper also provides 182% of your daily value of vitamin C.

– 3 tbsp tomato paste

 tuttorosso crushed tomatoes, tuttorosso

– 1.5 cans canned Tuttorosso crushed tomatoes.

Tomatoes contain high levels of vitamin C and and the carotenoid lycopene, a potent antioxidant. Lycopene has been shown to protect against a wide variety of cancers, including colorectal, breast, prostate, endometrial, lung, and prostate. Tomatoes also promote good colon and prostate health.

– 3 cloves garlic.

Garlic helps control blood pressure by thinning blood, it raises HDL (good) cholesterol and prevents LDL (bad) cholesterol from building up, and even improves immune function. Pretty potent for a spice.

– 1 sweet white onion.

Mainly for flavor, but contributes moderate levels of potassium.

– 6 leaves fresh basil.

Contains high levels of vitamin K and beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Basil has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.

– 1 can red kidney beans.
– 1 can white cannellini beans.

Both types of beans contain extremely high levels of protein and belly-filling, cholesterol lowering fiber (1 cup provides ~46% DV of fiber, that’s a ton!). The fiber in beans helps control blood sugar levels from surging after a meal and promotes heart and gastrointestinal health. Beans also provide thiamin for memory, iron, molybdenum, tryptophan, and the antioxidant manganese.

– Extra virgin olive oil. 

A study in Greece showed that consuming olive oil daily results in a 47% decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease. 47%! Olive oil is the world’s best protector of the heart. Consuming olive oil regularly can significantly lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, controls blood sugar levels, improves insulin sensitivity, and even prevents the accumulation of belly fat. It’s also loaded with polyphenols (antioxidants). This stuff is liquid gold…start using it as often as possible.

– 1 cup chili powder.

For flavor.

– 3 tbsp cayenne pepper. 

See chili pepper. Add more cayenne if you want it spicier.

– 1/2 cup cumin.

Cumin provides iron, benefits the digestive system, and even displays anti-carcinogenic properties.

– Brown rice.

Complex carbs and fiber for long-lasting energy.



Step-by-Step Directions

Turkey chili, turkey chili recipe

Steps 1 and 2


Coat the bottom of a large pot with a generous layer of extra virgin olive oil.


Mince up the garlic and chop up the onion. Place both into the pot and let them cook over low heat in the oil until they turn translucent/turn slightly golden brown. DO NOT burn the garlic…it WILL ruin the entire recipe. This is a really critical step, but luckily it’s the last part that requires any attention whatsoever.

Turkey chili recipe, turkey chili

Step 3


Once the garlic and onions brown, add in the lean ground turkey meat. Mix the turkey, onions, and garlic around with the olive oil and allow it to cook until it turns brown/dark grey. Once the turkey has turned brown drain any excess oil that’s left in the pot, but make sure not to lose any of the garlic or onions.

turkey chili, turkey chili recipe

Steps 4 & 5


Finely chop up the basil leaves and chili pepper. Add the basil, chili pepper, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and cumin. Mix thoroughly.


Cover with a screen, let the chili simmer on low-medium heat for 30 minutes.


Begin to cook the brown rice in a rice cooker (if you have one), if not make it over the stove or in the microwave (it won’t taste as good though).


After the chili simmers for 30 minutes add both cans of beans. At this point taste the chili. If you want it spicier add more cayenne pepper and/or chili powder.


Let the chili simmer for an additional 25 minutes.


Serve with brown rice, or eat it plain if you want fewer calories/carbs.




Makes 10 servings.
Total cooking time: ~ 1 hour 15 minutes


  • Calories – 247
  • Protein – 22 grams
  • Fat – 13.5 grams (mainly healthy fat from EVOO)
  • Saturated Fat – 2 grams
  • Fiber – 1.6 grams


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Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Instagram (@BRYDISANTO) & Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto
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