BBQ turkey chili is a fall favorite in our home and you can enjoy it too! In an attempt to spice up our weeknight ground turkey, I took inspiration from some store-bought bbq sauce in our refrigerator.
Chili is a go-to meal in our home because it conveniently combines protein and vegetables in just one hearty bowl. I usually cook up this beef and vegetable chili. It’s packed with protein and delicious vegetables such as zucchini and mushrooms. But in an attempt to eat more lean meats, I decided to swap out the beef for some ground turkey.
Using ground turkey is a great way to get lean protein in your diet but it can be dry and flavorless. Spicing up the turkey with various spices and smoky sweet bbq sauce makes for a delicious bowl of chili.
I add frozen, sliced bell peppers for convenience and a vegetable boost. Top this chili with anything from sliced green onions to shredded cheddar cheese and enjoy hot from the stove.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ medium yellow onion, finely diced
- Kosher salt
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 pounds ground turkey
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 Tablespoons chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (add 1 teaspoon if you like heat)
- ½ Cup bbq sauce
- 1, 28-ounce can plum tomatoes (such as san marzano)
- 16 ounces frozen, sliced bell peppers (any color)
- 2 Tablespoons cornmeal
- Optional garnishes: shredded cheddar cheese, scallions, sour cream, guacamole, or lime wedges, corn chips for dunking
- Heat oil in a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Once the oil is beginning to ripple, add the onions and ½ teaspoon salt.
- Cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, 8-10 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.
- Add the turkey to the pot and use a wooden spoon to break the meat up into small pieces. Cook over high heat until the turkey is no longer pink and the liquid has evaporated, 8-10 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring often, until very fragrant 3-5 minutes.
- Add the barbecue sauce and plum tomatoes to the pot. Fill the empty tomato can halfway with water, swirl it around and pour the water into the pot.
- Use a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes and add 1 teaspoon salt to the pot.
- Bring the chili to a simmer and reduce the heat to low.
- Simmer, uncovered on lowest heat for 20 minutes. Stir the chili every 5 minutes or so to make sure the chili doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Empty the bag of frozen bell peppers into the pot and add the cornmeal. Bring back up to a simmer and simmer the chili uncovered until thick and delicious, 30-60 minutes.
- Top with shredded cheddar cheese or sour cream and serve hot.