Turkey Basil Chili

To be honest January is one of my least favorite months of the year. It’s rainy, its cold and it’s gray. The only good thing about January, aside from my mother in-law’s birthday, is that this rainy, cold, gray weather is perfect for making chili. Which is exactly what I did this past weekend. However, in the spirit of eating healthier in the New Year this scrumptious tummy warming chili is made with turkey instead of ground beef and gets a little touch of sweetness from some basil and a kick from some jalapeno.

I got the idea to make this chili after trying some chicken chili at a local lunch spot. It is important to note that I did not have my heart set on chicken chili when I went to get my lunch. You see, I crave the old fashioned chili at this particular place. But a couple of weeks ago when I went in to get my weekly chili, they weren’t serving it. Instead along side split pea and chicken noodle, they had a chicken and basil chili.

At first I hesitated. Where was my chili? I had been craving that chili all day. I did not want chicken in my chili. Let alone any basil, who puts basil in chili anyway? This was supposed to be a quick run in and grab kind of lunch, but now I had to make a decision. A decision that could change the whole rest of the day.

Okay, so maybe I am over dramatizing it just a tad. It really didn’t take me more than a couple of minutes before I determined that I wasn’t really in a split pea or chicken noodle kind of mood, I opted to try the chicken and basil chili. And I’m pretty glad I did. It was absolutely delicious and I was surprised that I had never thought to add basil to chili before.

When I decided to make this at home, I was going to use ground chicken, but alas my grocery store did not have any so I opted for ground turkey. If you have ground chicken you can use that instead.

The Recipe

  • Serves 4 - 6
  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground turkey or ground chicken
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 jalapenos, diced (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can chili beans in zesty tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 5 fresh basil leaves

Instructions:

  1. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, combine ground turkey, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon cumin and garlic powder. Cook over medium heat until turkey is cooked through. Strain and set aside.
  2. In the same pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, jalapenos and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Return turkey to pan. Stir to combine.
  3. Pour in fire roasted tomatoes, chili beans and their liquid, and tomato sauce. Stir in dried basil. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 2 hours. Stirring and tasting occasionally. Adjust seasoning with salt if needed.
  4. Just before serving, roll basil leaves tightly together and then chop to make basil chiffonade. Sprinkle into chili and stir to combine.
  5. Ladle chili into soup bowls. Serve.

Enjoy!

  • http://www.thelocalcook.com Wendy

    That sounds great! I wonder if I could use frozen basil? I have a bunch in the freezer from the summer surplus.

  • http://simplyscrumptiousfoodie.com/ Jessie

    wow! I just made chili last night but I’m loving your lighter and healthier version. I need to put basil in chili next time because I’m very intrigued with kind of flavor it contributes to the chili.

  • Pingback: Turkey Basil Chili – Life’s Ambrosia | Happy Happy Joy Joy

  • http://www.familyfreshcooking.com/blog/ marla {Family Fresh Cooking}

    I just did a chicken and basil dish over here. I love this flavor combo, hadn’t thought to do it in chili though. Must try, looks great!

  • http://myfabulousrecipes.blogspot.com Sook

    Wow turkey basil chili! All my favorite ingredients!! Love it!

  • Ulrike

    This is as good as it sounds! I am just about done making it. However, I think the remaining 1/2 tsp cumin was forgotten. When does it go in?

  • http://www.lifesambrosia.com Deseree

    Thanks for catching that Ulrike! Add the remaining cumin at the same time that you add the dried basil. :)

  • http://www.howtogrowbasil.com anthony

    Very interesting recipe. I also enjoy using turkey. I will give this a try.

  • Donna

    A dear friend turned me on to your blog after preparing your kung pao chicken for me. I have been hooked ever since. Kung pao chicken is now a regular request in our home. My 10 year old loves its spiciness. I have since tried other recipes… carne asada tacos (on the grill). My husband walked into the kitchen as I was finishing up the marinade for the steak…”this kitchen smells greats, whatcha makin’?” Needless to say, this is also going to be repeated. For dinner last night, we had the turkey basil chili. Again, a huge success. I have never had such a positive reaction from my family when experimenting with new recipes. Thank you so much! Can’t wait to try more. We’ll soon be trying the roasted pork tenderloin and the chicken lettuce wraps. Would sure love to see a recipe for chicken tortilla soup.

  • Diana

    trying this friday.. have a huge bin of basil so excited to use it.

  • Diana

    made this last night… and it was wonderful… then we made Hot Dogs for March Madness and I couldn’t resist…. I had a chili dog!

  • Diana

    I came across your blog when looking for ground turkey recipes and everything looks SO good! I can’t wait to try this chili! Keep up the cookin’ and the recipes comin’!!!! Thanks!

  • Elena

    Just made this recipe as written. It was delicious. It’s made my family’s keeper list!!! Thank you so much for sharing.

A little bit about me...

My name is Des. I’m a Mom to Kellan. Wife to Ryan. Dog mom to Pumpkin and lover of all things food. Whether it is cooking it, eating it, shopping for it or watching TV about it, food is one of my favorite things. Read more »

Have new recipes emailed to you.