The Lunch Bunch: Hearty Turkey Chili Recipe for Your Week of Lunches

asweatlife Hearty Turkey Chili Recipe the lunch bunch

Football season is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of fall. Correction – I mean tailgating season. Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely love the comfort of curling up on the couch on Sunday afternoon to watch a Bears game. However, growing up around the corner from Ohio State’s campus, the idea of a Saturday afternoon tailgate excites me even more. Enjoying a perfect fall day outside, with crisp sunny weather, gorgeous leaves, music, friends and football … well, that’s simply perfection.

After a tailgate, nothing sounds better than some comfort food to warm back up, which is exactly what my family always did. My thoughts immediately go to my mom’s amazing homemade chili and cornbread.

Over the past few years, my mom and I have tweaked the recipe each season to make it healthier and healthier while still maintaining all the wonderful flavors. This healthy turkey chili recipe is a perfect crockpot meal to feed you through the entire week. What is my favorite part of this meal? It always seems to be even better on the second or third day!

During the work week, have you ever experienced that mid-afternoon slump, around 3 pm or so, when you find yourself going for another coffee or searching for whatever snack is readily available? I’ve been through those afternoon doldrums before and I know that they are a direct result of not taking the time to eat right. When you consume a high carbohydrate meal (let’s just say the go-to: turkey sandwich, baked chips and soda?), your blood sugar spikes quickly resulting in some short-term energy and then drops back down again.

This blood sugar roller coaster drives us to have more cravings and eat even more carbs throughout the day. If we replace some of these high glycemic foods with high protein and healthy fats, our blood sugar will remain steady. And what does that mean? We will have higher, sustainable energy and will remain fuller longer! With all the lean protein and high fiber of this chili, that haunting candy bowl in the office will be easy to say “no” to this month!

*Bonus recipe! If you want some easy cornbread to top of this dish here’s a simple tip: Buy a corn bread mix (gluten free mixes actually do very well!) and add 1-2 cups fresh corn. In a pan, sauté onions, peppers and jalapenos and then add this mixture as a base layer to a cast iron skillet. Make sure the cast iron skillet is the same temperature of the oven prior to baking by warming in oven 5-10 minutes. Pour corn bread mixture on top. Bake according to directions and flip over when serving to show the colorful peppers.

Download this week’s lunch bunch here.

asweatlife Hearty Turkey Chili Recipe the lunch bunch


Grocery List:


  • 1 onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 Anaheim pepper
  •  jalapeno pepper


  • 5 lbs 99% lean ground turkey


  • Olive oil
  • Tomato paste
  • 2 cans petite chopped tomatoes, no salt added, undrained
  • 1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained *optional, add last
  • Chili powder
  • Salt and pepper

Optional add-ins:

  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1 medium tomato
  • Fresh corn
  • Greek yogurt, plain
  • Cheese – one block cheddar (shred on own) or goat cheese



  • 5 lbs. 99% lean ground turkey
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 Anaheim pepper, chopped
  • ½ Jalapeno pepper, chopped (no seeds)
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 2 cans petite chopped tomatoes, no salt added, undrained
  • 1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained *optional, add last
  • 3 T chili powder
  • Additional toppings – cheese, avocado, Greek yogurt


  • Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and turkey. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until turkey is no longer pink, continuously stirring. Drain and discard any fat.
  • Place turkey into slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients (chili powder last). Stir and season with salt and pepper, if desired.
  • Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or low for four hours. Serve with toppings!

*If you don’t have a crock-pot, cook in a big pot on medium/low heat for at least an hour. Enjoy!

Week of Lunches:

  • Monday – Chili topped with cheese and ¼ avocado
  • Tuesday – Chili topped with ¾ cup (1 single serve) of Greek Yogurt
  • Wednesday – Chili topped with ½ cup fresh corn (or cornbread?!)
  • Thursday – Chili topped with crispy tortilla strips and ¼ avocado
  • Friday – Chili served with a cheese & tomato quesadilla (6-inch corn tortilla)


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About Patty Duffey

Patty is a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach in the Chicago area. She is Ohio bred and received her bachelor’s degree in dietetics at Miami of Ohio, while continuing on the following year to complete her Dietetic Internship at Mount Carmel Hospitals in Columbus. Upon becoming an RD, Patty made the remarkable decision to work abroad in Australia for one year. She loved the active and healthy culture, and it seemed that most Aussies shared a common view that is was better to be proactive as opposed to reactive when it came to health and wellbeing. She knew that the health and fitness industry was exactly where she wanted to be. Since moving to Chicago three years ago, Patty has gained experience as a dietitian and nutrition coach at both Life Time Fitness and My Fit Foods. Her goal is to continue to build her health coaching skills as a nutrition entrepreneur. She currently works at Lululemon and loves working for a company where she can bring fitness and nutrition together in such an inspiring environment!