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Quinoa Turkey Chili Recipe

Quinoa Turkey Chili Recipe

This heart-healthy chili is not only tasty, it's a vitamin and protein powerhouse! —Sharon Giljum, San Diego, California
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 40 min. Cook: 35 min. YIELD:9 servings


  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 3-1/2 cups water, divided
  • 1/2 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro


  • 1. In a large saucepan, bring quinoa and 2 cups water to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from the heat; fluff with a fork and set aside.
  • 2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan coated with cooking spray, cook the turkey, onion, red pepper and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender; drain. Stir in the chili powder, cumin and cinnamon; cook 2 minutes longer.
  • 3. Add the black beans, tomatoes, zucchini, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, bay leaf, oregano, salt, pepper and remaining water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in corn and quinoa; heat through. Discard bay leaf; stir in cilantro.
    Freeze option: Freeze cooled chili in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally and adding a little broth or water if necessary. Yield: 9 servings (2-1/4 quarts).
Editor's Note: Look for quinoa in the cereal, rice or organic food aisle.

Nutritional Facts

1 cup: 264 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated fat), 20mg cholesterol, 514mg sodium, 43g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 9g fiber), 15g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 2 lean meat, 2 vegetable.

Reviews for Quinoa Turkey Chili

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ChocolateMudCake User ID: 162783 245466
Reviewed Mar. 14, 2016

"Made this for my husband and I because we are trying to eat healthier. It tasted great! We are pushing 50 and our metabolisms aren't what they use to be. Thank you for submitting such a great recipe that is healthy and tasty!"

Shoes58 User ID: 2519954 242530
Reviewed Jan. 25, 2016

"OK -- i liked this recipe more than my other--it was hearty and tasty and i swear it felt healthy as it was consumed.But i probably will not make again...unless i have a different audience."

svetabrus User ID: 8692941 241534
Reviewed Jan. 11, 2016

"Amazing recipe! It's very tasty and healthy! I feel more energetic after I eat it! I made it many times and it always come out good."

Kimberly Hines User ID: 1929928 231851
Reviewed Aug. 26, 2015

"I make this recipe for new mamas. There's so many nutrients packed in! Personally, I think it could use more kick, but that's simple to add individually at serving time."

garrett8250 User ID: 7971957 189311
Reviewed Sep. 5, 2014

"I've made this recipe several times, and it's always well-liked. The recipe makes quite a lot, but it freezes well. I like to use one can of kidney beans and one of black beans, instead of two cans of black beans called for. I also just leave out the "adobo" stuff since I don't know what that is and don't care to go out and find it, and it's still very flavorful and excellent.

I also leave out the corn. I put in chopped celery instead (less starchy and zero calories). I also throw in a handful of chopped kale, because why not? I like things hot and spicy, so I also add jalapeño peppers and extra chili powder. Make sure to use organic zucchini and red pepper -- those are on the Dirty Dozen list! ;-)
If you want even more protein (and flavor), add some chopped ham or turkey deli meat along with the ground turkey."

cccosey User ID: 5810783 170812
Reviewed Feb. 22, 2014

"We like spicy food at our house so this was excellent. I realized that I didnt have enough tomatoes so I added rotel and I just skipped the corn all together. It was still yummy. I think I will make this again!"

lorischlecht User ID: 1226455 117259
Reviewed Feb. 17, 2014

"I hate to be the Debbie Downer among all the excellent reviews, but I didn't love this. Out of fear of it being too spicy, I only added half a chipotle pepper, and a tsp of the sauce, since I have to feed my young son. I found it "ok" but I won't go out of my way to make it again. It makes so much. But it sure was simple to throw together."

overthetop55 User ID: 7134810 189347
Reviewed Sep. 12, 2013

"This chili was excellent. It had just enough bite to satisfy the husbands liking for spicy foods and still not too spicy for my sensitive tongue. Also it is very colorful. I will definitely make this again"

rwippel User ID: 4262008 174700
Reviewed Aug. 14, 2013

"I didn't think a delicous and healthy chili recipe existed. The recipe was A-Mazing! My husband loved it! I loved it! I don't think he even noticed that there was so little meat in there. I think the 1/2 lb. was just enough to do the trick. I should disclose, I didn't add the cilantro. My husband is not a big fan. Other than that I followed it to the T. Thanx for the recipe Sharon!"

peacharmadillo User ID: 3329993 128197
Reviewed Jun. 8, 2013

"I loved the veggies and while I did add only half the quinoa, I appreciated their nutritional contribution. I didn't tell my husband it was ground turkey and he didn't complain, which he normally would do. Gotta' confess- served it with tortilla chips and in my opinion, everything is better on tortilla chips."

sdipiazza User ID: 2106899 189345
Reviewed Mar. 5, 2013

"Loved this recipe...but next time will cut the quinoa in half..I have enough chili to feed an army."

sheltiesweetie2007 User ID: 6914278 103146
Reviewed Oct. 29, 2012

"Very healthy and easy to make. Be careful if you add the adobo sauce - I may have added too much because that taste stands out over others. Next time I may try to add more cinnamon as another poster recommended."

sherabim User ID: 6501745 128196
Reviewed Oct. 16, 2012

"Very good. However, I added two chicken bouillon to give it more flavor, a few dashes of extra cinnamon to the actual sauce, and a few dashes more of salt to the sauce. My family loved. I would not add the Quinoia again though...It doesn't add anything to the recipe. Next time I will make it with seasoned rice."

celestie4 User ID: 5199189 103145
Reviewed Jul. 2, 2012

"I also added zucchini. Excellent chili!"

teri396 User ID: 3790128 128194
Reviewed Jun. 6, 2012

"did not have black beans, used northern white beans, Flavor was good but I think the texture would be better with black beans."

Sager User ID: 2995972 109604
Reviewed Feb. 18, 2012

"Easy to make, filling and healthy. I find that cooking quinoa the suggested amount of time can make it glumpy."

stubby01 User ID: 3164116 186493
Reviewed Feb. 8, 2012

"Where do you find the chili peppers in adobe sauce? And the adobe sauce?"

jmcgoffin User ID: 6509689 117258
Reviewed Feb. 5, 2012

"My husband and I love this recipe! It's so flavorful!"

psgjnj User ID: 6483835 211439
Reviewed Jan. 23, 2012

"Excellent variation on a chili recipe. Took it to a soup exchange and everyone loved it!"

jaystay23 User ID: 6242077 186011
Reviewed Jan. 4, 2012

"Probably my favorite chili of all time! I usually like to put cheese and sour cream in my chili, but this is so good, I don't put anything on it!! Even my kids ate it!"

Laura4750 User ID: 6431437 103144
Reviewed Jan. 2, 2012

"This chili recipe is fantastic! The only thing I changed was instead of turkey I used ground chicken, my husband and I prefer"

Heidikpchef User ID: 6425782 105563
Reviewed Dec. 27, 2011

"Delicious and healthy. Can't ask for more on a chilly day!"

redrobin2175 User ID: 6411245 145842
Reviewed Dec. 18, 2011

"I only used about 1/3 of the adobo sauce, and the chili was really great! Even my mother liked it and she doesn't like quinoa."

LindaEC User ID: 5991685 105502
Reviewed Dec. 4, 2011

"Wonderful balance of flavors! I did not have any chili peppers in adobe sauce so I left that out, and I left out the adobe sauce itself. Still delicious!"

dcdenley User ID: 3708906 103143
Reviewed Nov. 29, 2011

"delicious and simple; somewhat spicy for the kids but they ate it. Definitely make the Moist Mexican Corn Bread to have with it - YUM!"

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