Protein Packed Turkey Chili and Pasta

One Protein, Many Dinners: 

Turkey Chili

Hands up if your first thought as dinner approaches is something like, "Nope. Can't even." It's hard not to get into a dinner rut when every night seems like a replay of the worst game in history, "The Wheel of Meat," especially when it always seems to land on chicken. And then there's the added challenge of trying to achieve the balance between “How long will this take?”, “Is it healthy AND delicious?” and of course, “Will they even actually eat this?” 

It's not hard to win the trifecta of "delicious + healthy + family will actually eat it" when you have a powerhouse protein in your corner. And the easy part? It’s nothing you need to hunt down at some specialty shop on the outskirts of town and know a secret passcode to give the clerk. (It’s turkey, people; not a University freshman party.)

Turkey is the perfect choice for breaking out of your dinner rut! It's low in sodium, and an incredible source of vitamin B12. Plus, it tastes amazing, and it's super affordable.

So, why are you only eating it twice a year?

Before you get all “But my roasting pan is in the garage loft somewhere between my PeeWee hockey equipment and a box of unmailed wedding thank-yous,” I’ll stop you right there: You can swap out ANY protein in your regular rotation of family favourites with turkey with little to no recipe changes. Turkey is adaptable and available (bonus; it's usually a fab local find), and it’s a complete protein, meaning it contains all eight essential amino acids your body cannot produce on its own - making it a great choice for any meal. But enough with the science stuff; I'm getting hungry. Here are two of my faves: 


Turkey Chili

Double beans and Amino acid hero turkey? Get ready for a protein punch!


1lb ground turkey
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 large can whole plum tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, pressed or grated
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp red pepper flakes
olive oil for pan
salt and pepper for seasoning


  • Sauté chopped onion in large pot or Dutch oven with olive oil until translucent.
  • Add chopped green pepper and garlic and cook until water has been removed from peppers (no one likes a watery chili.) Add turkey and season with salt and pepper.
  • Break up turkey into small pieces with wooden spoon, and season with salt and pepper (a few cranks of each will suffice.)
  • Pour tomatoes into large bowl and with clean hands, break and squish them with your hands and add to pot with beans and remainder of seasonings. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer – the longer the better!
  • Chili will be ready in 30 minutes but tastes best if allowed to stew a bit. Serve with grated sharp cheddar and sliced jalapenos.

Use this recipe as a nacho topping, too!


Turkey Penne with Sundried Tomatoes and Spinach

Turkey breast fillets add delicious depth to this easy pasta dish


1lb penne
2 turkey breasts
3 cups washed baby spinach
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and cut into thin strips
1/3 cup parmesan
Salt and pepper
1 tsp each oregano and basil
2 cups 10% cream


  • Boil penne in salted water according to box directions. 
  • Thinly slice turkey into strips. In deep sauté pan, brown the meat in drizzle of olive oil on both sides for 2-3 minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside (Don’t worry that turkey isn’t finished; we’ll continue cooking turkey in sauce.)
  • To same pan, cook garlic over med low heat until fragrant, 1-2 minutes; stirring to prevent burning.
  • Add cream, seasonings, tomatoes, spinach, and parmesan cheese and raise heat until low simmer.
  • Add turkey back to post and continue to simmer until spinach has wilted and turkey is cooked and coated with cream sauce and slightly thickened.
  • Add drained pasta back to pan and stir well to coat.
  • Serve hot!

Make sure to bookmark or print this post - or pin this easy turkey swap out chart for all your future turkey meals.