Turkey and White Bean Chili with Cilantro Quinoa


There are so many ways to make a great chili! This is one of my easier, healthy, weeknight versions that I make often. Plenty of protein and fiber with the lean turkey, beans and quinoa. It comes together quickly after a bit of chopping. I served this with an easy Caesar salad with some homemade cornbread croutons (recipe below).

Turkey and White Bean Chili with Cilantro Quinoa


  • a couple of tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, smashed, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small poblano or pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/4 pounds  (one package) ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon masa harina (sub all purpose flour if you don’t have it)
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • one 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, crushed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • one mexican beer (or a few if you want to drink some) 🙂
  • two 15 to 16-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
  • Quinoa
  • fresh chopped cilantro
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • Assorted garnishes, such as chopped red or green onion, crumbled cotija cheese, black olives, sour cream and avocado


Heat the oil in a heavy, large pot over medium-high heat. Add the  poblanos, jalapeno and onions and garlic. Saute until the vegetables soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the turkey and brown until no longer pink, breaking up the turkey with the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle the masa or flour over and stir to blend. Add the beer, tomato paste, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, sugar, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir until well blended and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the and beans and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Add more salt and pepper if it needs it.

While the chili is cooking, cook 1 cup of quinoa (follow package directions). I cooked mine with chicken stock for extra flavor but water is fine too. Once it is done mix in some fresh chopped cilantro and  a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, spoon some of the Quinoa and Cilantro into a bowl and top with the Chili. Garnish with all the yummy extras.

Caesar Salad with Cornbread Croutons

For the croutons I made a package of Marie Calendar’s Cornbread. Then I just cubed it up after it had cooled, put the cubes on a foil lined baking sheet, and sprayed it with some EVOO (I have a cool olive oil pump that I love). Season with salt and pepper then bake at 350 for about 20 min. Give them a turn about half way through.
For the salad I just tossed some good crisp romaine with some Caesar dressing, roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and the croutons.

Ingredient Notes:

Masa Harina is the Mexican corn flour used to make the masa (dough) for tamales. It’s a great thickener for chili so I usually have it on hand.
The Quinoa I use is from “Bob’s Red Mill”. It’s a really good organic Quinoa that has been pre-rinsed so you don’t have to rinse it. Quinoa can be bitter if it is not rinsed really well before cooking. Bob’s Red Mill is a great brand and I use a lot of their products. It’s sold in most grocery stores where ever the natural or health food section is.
I also tried a new Caesar dressing. The brand is “Rao’s” and I thought it was really good. If you know me, you know that I’m sort of an freak about ingredients and I check labels thoroughly on any packaged foods. This dressing is all natural and as close to something I would make at home as I could find. I here Trader Joe’s has a good one too.


  1. How amazing! I was just telling a friend I was going to make white bean turkey chill and needed to find a recipe and here it is – that’s so cool. It looks fabby, Rhonda – loving your blog! 🙂

  2. Anne Klein

    Just did this tonite. Excellent! I rearranged the steps a bit to make a non- spicy version for the kids and then a regular version for us. Both versions tasted great! Thank you!!!

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