Turkey Quinoa Chili

4.86 from 7 votes
1 hour
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Turkey Quinoa Chili with black beans is healthy, easy to make and one you’ll crave all fall and winter long!  This turkey chili recipe is low in fat with tons of fiber and protein! Make it a meal with these Mexican Sweet Potato Wedges on the side!

Turkey, Black Bean and Quinoa Chili - Overhead hero shot of chili on gray distressed background garnished with avocado, jalapeno, cheese and sour cream

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

When the weather finally cools off here in the South, one of the first things I love to make is a great big pot of chili. I then freeze it in smaller portions for us to enjoy throughout the winter.

I generally make beef chili, but this year I opted for something on the healthier side.  This Turkey Quinoa Chili with black beans has become a fast favorite and one you’re sure to love, too!

You’ll love that the quinoa cooks right in the turkey chili so you don’t have to worry about cooking the quinoa…. just right and it’s not an extra step.

A turkey chili with quinoa is:

  • Super tasty!
  • Loaded with fiber and protein!
  • Easy to make.
  • Make-ahead.
  • Freezer-friendly!

How to make Turkey Quinoa Chili:

Gather and prep all the ingredients:

  • Olive Oil
  • Ground turkey
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground coriander
  • Dried oregano – preferably Mexican oregano
  • Onion
  • Red bell pepper
  • Poblano peppers
  • A jalapeno pepper
  • Garlic
  • Chicken broth
  • Quinoa
  • Black beans
  • Canned diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Cilantro
  • Topping as desired: Shredded cheese, sour cream, diced avocado

Cook the ground turkey:

  • Brown 2 pounds of ground turkey in a skillet or saute pan.  I like to use a combination of white ground turkey and dark ground turkey.  The dark ground turkey meat adds extra flavor while still keeping the chili lower in fat.
  • I prefer to brown the turkey in a skillet or saute pan because with 2 pounds of ground turkey and the high sides of a Dutch oven or soup pot, the turkey tends to steam and not actually brown.  You’ll want to make sure it really browns for added flavor.
  • Drain off any excess liquid or fat from the turkey, then sprinkle the spices directly over the turkey meat, stir and set aside.
Turkey, Black Bean and Quinoa Chili - Chili served up in gray bowls garnished with sour cream, cheese, avocado, jalapeno and cilantro

Cook the vegetables:

  • In a large soup pot, cook onion, Poblano peppers, red bell pepper and a jalapeno or two.

Finish cooking the turkey quinoa chili:

  • Add the seasoned turkey meat back in along with chicken broth, diced tomatoes with green chiles, crushed tomatoes, black beans and quinoa.
  • Let the turkey chili simmer away until the quinoa is cooked and the chili thickens up.
  • If you have any leftover quinoa from another use, simply toss it into the Turkey Quinoa Chili at the end.  The chili may not be as thick because cooking the quinoa in the chili helps thicken it up.
Turkey, Black Bean and Quinoa Chili - Overhead shot of the whole pot of chili in white Dutch oven on gray distressed background garnished with cilantro

That’s it!  Serve this delicious Turkey Quinoa Chili with your favorite toppings!  We like sour cream, avocado, jalapeno slices, shredded white cheddar cheese and a garnish of cilantro.

Turkey Quinoa Chili is so delicious and so healthy!

Turkey, Black Bean and Quinoa Chili - Overhead shot three bowls of the chili on gray distressed background garnished with cilantro, jalapeno, cheese and avocado
Turkey, Black Bean and Quinoa Chili - Close-up shot of the chili in gray bowl


For more great chili recipes, be sure to try my:

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Turkey Quinoa Chili

4.86 from 7 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Turkey Quinoa Chili with black beans is healthy, easy to make and one you'll crave all fall and winter long!  It's low in fat with tons of fiber and protein!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Soups and Stews
Cuisine Southwestern / Mexican
Servings 8
Calories 273 kcal


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil - divided
  • 2 pounds ground turkey - white or dark meat
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder - or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano - preferably Mexican oregano
  • 1 large onion - chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper - seeds and membrane removed, chopped
  • 2 medium Poblano peppers - seeds and membrane removed, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper - seeded if desired, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic - chopped
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup quinoa - rinsed
  • 2 cans (15-ounce each) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans (14.5-ounce each) tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
  • 1 can (15-ounce) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Diced avocado


  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or saute pan. Add the turkey and brown well, breaking it up as you go until thoroughly cooked through. Drain off any excess liquid or fat.
  • Season the turkey with salt, black pepper and sprinkle the spices over the turkey. Stir to coat and set aside.
  • Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven or other heavy soup pot.
  • Add the onion, reduce heat to medium and cook 5-6 minutes or until beginning to soften.
  • Add the red bell pepper, Poblano peppers and jalapeno peppers. Cook 5-6 minutes or until softening.
  • Add the garlic and stir cook until fragrant, approximately 15 seconds.
  • Transfer the turkey to the Dutch oven along with the chicken broth, quinoa, black beans, diced tomatoes with chiles and crushed tomatoes.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 30-45 minutes or until quinoa is cooked and chili has thickened.
  • Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper or chili powder as desired.
  • Stir in cilantro.
  • Serve with grated cheddar cheese, sour cream and diced avocado or any other toppings you desire.


SUBSTITUTIONS:  Use kidney or pinto beans in place of black beans.
MAKE AHEAD:  Can be made 1-2 days ahead.  Cool thoroughly then refrigerate.  Can be stored right in the pot (if nonreactive) in the refrigerator.  Reheat on the stovetop on medium-low until heated through and simmering.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  Cool thoroughly then store in airtight containers in the freezer for 2-3 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator then reheat gently in a saucepan on the stovetop until heated through and simmering.  Can also be microwaved on medium heat–stir halfway through.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 273kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 741mg | Potassium: 744mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1452IU | Vitamin C: 67mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 3mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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4.86 from 7 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This is so good! My husband even thought it was delicious despite the healthier ingredients he might not typically endorse (turkey and quinoa). Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. Hi, Carol, Thanks so very much and glad you were able to get your hubby on board. I’ve been making this with bison lately for a client and they thoroughly enjoy this. Thanks again!!

  2. 5 stars
    Made this for the first time this week. It was superb. We ate half and half has gone into the freezer. Will definitely make it again. I had to tweak it slightly as couldn’t get Poblano peppers but it didn’t suffer for it at all.

    1. Hi, Sue, Thanks so very much and glad you enjoyed! Just made this for a personal chef client the other day and it’s one of their favorites, too! Thanks again!