Craig Claiborne, famed New York Times food writer, once said chili con carne, rather than apple pie, might be America’s favorite dish. I know from my perspective it would certainly seem so. More than any other recipe, friends are always asking for chili recipe recommendations. So I figured with the recent launch of my new website it is about time I get a recipe out there for a tasty (and healthy) chili.

Healthy is the operative word here, mind you. Sometimes I fear a cook thinks she has to listen to the devil on her shoulder when she wants to make a crowd-pleasing and comforting pot of chili. That’s because when embarking on making chili a cook sits at a crossroads. He or she can choose between a really healthy meal or a calorie, fat and sodium bomb! So in order to keep my chili on the healthy road, I use lots of fresh vegetables and keep the meat lean and measuring below 4 ounces per person. Then I add lots of flavor from spices, jalapeno, lime and scallions.

In my opinion the beans are never optional. Not only are they inexpensive but they are an excellent, plant-based source of protein. According to the American Dietetic Association they’re a rich source of calcium, phosphorus, folate and iron. The ADA also says they can help reduce your cholesterol, help you feel fuller longer, ward off certain types of cancer by maintaining a healthy digestive tract and help diabetics control blood glucose levels.

And don’t forget to stay away from those saturated fat-laden toppings like cheese and sour cream. Instead listen to the angel on your shoulder and opt for minced red onion, chopped cilantro and those with healthy fats like diced avocado, pumpkin seeds and toasted pine nuts.

turkey chili with pintos
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Prep Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups each

Calories per serving: 330

Fat per serving: 12.5 g

Saturated fat per serving: 2.5 g

Carbs per serving: 34 g

Protein per serving: 23 g

Fiber per serving: 10 g

Sugar per serving: 5.5 g

Sodium per serving: 850 mg


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 pound ground turkey or chicken

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Anaheim Peppers or small green bell peppers, diced

  • 1 large onion, diced
1 bunch scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated

  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced, seeds to taste

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 28-ounce can peeled tomatoes
, crushed by hand or cut into chunks
  • 2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 cup chicken broth

  • 1 lime, juiced

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

  • Garnishes: diced avocado, toasted pine nuts or pepitas, minced red onion, chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Heat oil in a large heavy-bottom soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Crumble in turkey or chicken and cook, breaking up large pieces until no longer pink, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, peppers, onion, scallion whites and jalapeño and cook, stirring often until the vegetables are cooked down and mostly softened, about 10 minutes. 
  2. Stir in chili powder, cumin and salt and cook until the spices are fragrant 30 seconds to 2 minutes.  Sprinkle the cornmeal over the vegetable mixture and stir to coat.  Stir in tomatoes, beans and broth and bring to a simmer, stirring often.
  3. Reduce heat to maintain simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until the chili is thick and the onions and peppers are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.  Stir in lime juice, oregano and the remaining scallion greens.  Serve with garnishes if desired.


59 mg Cholesterol, 888 mg Potassium, 0 g Added Sugars