September 5, 2019
No matter the time of year, this paleo ground turkey chili is always welcome at my table. It has all the hearty texture and incredible flavors of classic chili minus the beans.
This recipe also uses ground turkey instead of ground beef, which is slightly leaner but no less flavorful and delicious. It’s easy to assemble and can be enjoyed in all the ways we use classic chili.
Paleo Chili with Ground Turkey
Ground turkey and vegetables simmered in a seasoned tomato sauce make for a hearty paleo chili that will have everyone asking for second helpings. The addition of veggies makes it even more nutritious and an excellent low-carb swap for beans.
And for the record, it’s passed my picky eater’s test and remains a favorite dish for entertaining and tailgating parties.
To bulk this chili up we’re using zucchini, carrots, and celery. They add volume and fiber while soaking up all those flavors from the tomatoes, ground meat, and chili spices.
Of course, those aren’t the only veggie options, so I’ll list a few additional ideas below, but first let’s go over the basics:
- Lean ground turkey: if you want to use ground chicken, check this chicken chili recipe.
- Oil: for cooking the veggies.
- Aromatics: garlic, onion, celery, and carrots. You can chop them ahead to save time.
- Spices: chili powder, ground cumin, oregano, and salt make this chili super flavorful.
- Cayenne pepper: optional to make it spicier.
- Zucchini: adds fiber and volume.
- Canned tomato puree: or tomato sauce instead.
- Canned diced tomatoes: add more texture and flavor.
You’ll find the measurements in the recipe card below.
Additional veggies to add to chili
While these aren’t in the original recipe, the following veggies are terrific options that cook at the same time as the rest of the ingredients and do a wonderful job of blending in with the tomato sauce and flavors:
- Diced sweet potato
- Bell peppers
- Cauliflower florets
Can You Add Beans?
If your family likes bean chili, you can add a can or two of your favorite variety to this recipe, but make sure to add a cup of liquid such as chicken broth or water per can to prevent the chili from drying out.
How to Make Ground Turkey Chili
Here’s where we turn all those veggies and pantry staples into a thick and rich chili quickly and easily on the stove-top!
The four simple steps:
- Cook the meat
Brown the ground turkey meat with the garlic over medium-high heat. Remove the meat from the pot and set it aside in a large bowl.
- Cook the veggies
Sauté the onions, celery, carrots, and seasonings over medium for 3 minutes before adding the zucchini. Cook the veggies for an additional 4 minutes or until the onions are translucent and the veggies tender.
- Combine everything
To the veggies, add the cooked turkey, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes. Stir to combine and simmer the chili for 20 minutes.
Serve the hearty chili with all your favorite toppings.
How to Make Ground Turkey Chili in the Slow Cooker
This is where things get even easier. You can definitely turn this into a slow cooker chili and here’s how:
- Brown the turkey, garlic, and onion over medium heat before transferring it to the slow cooker.
- Add the remaining veggies, spices, and tomatoes. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours until the chili is thicked and veggies cooked down.
Watch how it’s made in the slow cooker with this chili recipe video. In the video I’m using ground beef, but you can easily swap the beef for ground turkey to make this recipe.
What to Serve with Turkey Chili
Just because this turkey chili doesn’t have beans doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it like the classic recipe. Unless you’re following a paleo diet, you can add any of your favorite chili toppings, turn it into a chili taco, or serve over hot dogs. This recipe does it all.
Here are a few topping ideas to help get you started:
- shredded Cheddar cheese
- diced avocado
- sour cream
- tortilla chips
- over a baked potato
- with cornbread
Best Ground Turkey Chili Recipe
- 1 ½ pounds ground turkey
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 ½ cups onion, diced, about 1 large onion
- ½ cup chopped celery, about 1 stalk
- 1 ½ cups carrots, peeled and diced, about 4 medium carrots
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
- 4 cups zucchinis, diced, about 2–3 medium zucchinis
- 15- ounce can tomato puree or tomato sauce
- 15- ounce can diced tomatoes
- In a large Dutch oven, brown the turkey meat with the garlic over medium-high heat for 5 to 6 minutes or until browned. Remove the meat from the pot and set it aside in a large bowl.
- Add the oil to the pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and seasonings to the pot and cook for 3 minutes before adding the zucchini. Cook the veggies for an additional 4 minutes or until the onions are translucent and the veggies tender.
- Add the cooked turkey, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes to the veggies, and stir to combine. Bring the chili to a boil before reducing the heat and simmering for 20 minutes.
- Serve with all your favorite chili toppings.