Turkey Beef Veggie Chili

Lean protein and a mix of vegetables make this chili a quick and healthy weeknight dinner.

The only chili I knew as a kid either came out of a can or the fast-food window at the nearby Wendy’s drive thru. (Yes, that’s the fast food chain with the red-headed girl in pig tails and freckles!)

Don’t get me wrong–there’s a time and place when you’re in a pinch (maybe a late day at the office), and you’ve got a minivan full of children (dangling dangerously close to the edge of hangry-ville), where a stop at Wendy’s is essential and non-negotiable.

But man. Once I made homemade chili? I never went back.

Fast-food and canned chili have chunks of fatty beef, swimming in a thin liquid of wimpy veggies (or no veggies at all in most cases). They are often overly salty and leave you desperately needing to chug a gallon (or two) of water. (Or, back in the day, a can of sugary Coke)! You just can’t compare that to quality meat, layered with freshly sautéd onion, bell pepper, and celery. (Ok, I’m starting to drool now.) These foundational staples add a textural crunch and layer of flavor you can’t get from a can.

Try this chili. You won’t go back.

You won’t go back because this chili is hearty, meaty, with just the right blend of meat (a blend of turkey and lean ground beef), beans and extra veggies. You won’t go back because this chili is so easy to make. If you’re going to open a can and warm the pot on the stove, you might as well make this!

This is a no brainer healthy weeknight meal that comes together in less than an hour. And it really feeds a crowd, but easily cuts in half if you don’t need to cook for a family. If you don’t finish it for dinner, it makes a great lunch the next day in a hot thermos (for kid lunches too).

Because this comes together super quick, I don’t even bother with an instant pot.

Is it Kid Friendly?

One warning about making this for kids–depending on the brand of your chili powder (some contain more cayenne pepper than others), be wary of the spice level. Know your chili powder, and adjust accordingly!

I like to call Natalie (my 5 yr old) “soup girl” because she would happily dig into any bowl of soup, slurp it up, and come back up for air promptly asking for seconds. It’s no different when it comes to this chili. Slowly but surely I’m working on my 7 year old (who still dislikes beans). I keep adding them into my soups, hoping one day he’ll start liking them. After all, that’s how he got used to celery!

You can tailor which veggies to include, though, based on your kids’ preference. I always include onions, bell peppers, and celery, but chili is so versatile, it would still be ok if you omitted the green veggies.

I also pair this meal with baked potatoes or mac and cheese on the side. That way if the two year old decides she’s being picky, she’ll still have a healthy baked potato and cheese to nosh.

Is it Allergy & IBS Friendly?

This is gluten free, egg free, dairy free. If beans are hard for you to digest, omit them.

Chili Recipe

Sauté the veggies

The flavor building blocks of any stew, soup, stock, or chili is to first sauté the vegetables and brown the meat. The flavor is released through the sautéing process, and adding salt and pepper in each step helps to layer in the salt and flavor, instead of adding it all at the end.

I use a mix of lean ground beef and turkey. I like the variety in meat, but all beef or all turkey would work fine too. (Tip: if you decide on using all turkey, you can add a 2 tablespoons of bacon bits to add some extra flavor.)

If you use lean meats (like I do), then you can skip the step to drain the fat. Everything can just be added to the pot after the meat is browned. And, conversely, if you don’t mind some fat, feel free to use fattier beef for a richer chili.

I like Muir Glen canned tomatoes when possible. They’re organic, have less additives, and the cans are BPA free. They’re available at Whole Foods, or specialty grocery stores. I’ve also started to see them at mainstream grocery stores (yay!). You can use a 28oz can of tomatoes or two 15oz cans.

Trader Joe’s makes this Smoked Paprika that I really like. Feel free to use regular paprika, but if you enjoy a little smokey flavor, this is one to look out for. (This chili doesn’t have enough of the paprika to make it smokey, but feel free to add to your taste preference.)

A note about chili powder

Some chili powder can be spicy because of the cayenne pepper. If you’ve got kids that can’t take any spice, you may want to adjust your chili powder accordingly. Sometimes I use Ancho Chili Powder (which contains no cayenne pepper), so it’s completely kid-friendly.

Simmer the chili

I don’t bother with the instant pot because this comes together so quickly on the stove. Simmer it for 30 minutes (the longer the better, but if you need to get dinner on the table quickly, 30 minutes is fine.)

Turkey Beef Veggie Chili

Lean meat and lots of veggies make this chili hearty, healthy, and a winner.

Prep Time15 mins

Cook Time30 mins

Total Time45 mins

Course: Main Course, Side Dish

Cuisine: American

Servings: 6 people


  • 1 tablespoon oil


  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced

Chili Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or fattier, if preferred
  • 1 pound ground turkey can also be substituted for another pound of ground beef
  • 28 ounce can of diced or peeled tomatoes
  • 2 cups (16oz) beef broth or 1 can of beef broth (15 oz)
  • 1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed or any bean you prefer
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed or any bean you prefer
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional, deepens flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional, deepens flavor)


  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (if your chili powder has a lot of cayenne pepper, your chili may come out spicy. Adjust according to taste & ingredients).
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1½ teaspoon paprika smoked paprika, if desired
  • 1½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  • Dice the vegetables (onion, celery, bell pepper).

  • Heat the oil and sauté the vegetables in a large pot until tender, with a pinch of salt & pepper (3 min).

  • Add the ground turkey & ground beef and continue to brown until everything is cooked (10 min).

  • Add the spices (cumin, chili powder, oregano, paprika, garlic powder, salt & sugar) and the liquid ingredients (canned tomatoes, beef broth, canned beans (rinsed and drained). Add optional ingredients to deepen flavor (tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce).

  • Simmer on the stove with the lid on for 30 minutes (minimum), and up to 90 minutes (for even better flavor and taste). This chili freezes well!

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Antonette Greenfelder
Antonette Greenfelder
Antonette Greenfelder was born and raised in Washington. Antonette enjoyed writing, cooking, and traveling. Antonette's skills as a hard worker led her to becoming an editor at Homecook Mom. As an editor, Antonette has enjoyed helping others improve their writing skills.