Hearty Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash (READER REQUEST!)

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turkey chili recipe

What’s Up, Hungry People!

Today I’m spilling the beans on what might just become your new go-to chili. It’s chock-full of power-packed ingredients like butternut squash, quinoa, black beans, and tomatoes. Trust me, this isn’t just your average turkey chili; it’s a full-on meal that’s both nourishing and seriously tasty.

Reader Request: The Art of Butternut Squash Slicing

Marsha Y. slid into my inbox with the million-dollar question: “How do you slice up a butternut squash without sacrificing a limb?”

Well, Marsha, I feel you. It’s been ages since I last wrangled a butternut squash, and I’d forgotten what a workout it could be. So, for this recipe, I used about three cups of diced squash, which comes from roughly half of a medium-sized squash. Now, let’s break down my foolproof method, because trust me, you’ll want to wear an apron for this!

Here’s What You Need: Butternut Squash Slicing Tools

  • A large, sharp knife
  • A sturdy spoon
  • A vegetable peeler
  • An apron

How to Slice a Butternut Squash Without Losing a Finger:

  1. Start with a Strong Foundation: Use your trusty knife to slice off 1-2 inches from both the top and bottom of the squash, exposing the seeds.
  2. Scoop It Out: Place the squash upright and use a spoon to scrape out those pesky seeds and stringy bits.
  3. Apron Up, Friends: Seriously, butternut squash will stain your clothes faster than red wine at a wedding.
  4. Hold & Peel: Press the hollowed-out end against your abdomen while gripping the squash firmly with one hand. Use a vegetable peeler in the other hand to remove the skin, peeling towards yourself.
  5. Rotate & Repeat: Turn that squash and continue the peeling process until you’ve stripped most of the skin. Flip it, so the hollow end is against you and finish peeling the top part.
  6. Steady Does It: To prevent the squash from doing the cha-cha across your table, wrap one end in a clean dishcloth. Hold it down firmly as you slice.
  7. Downward Dog: Cut each squash half lengthwise, keeping the flat end on the table. This technique gives you the leverage you need.
  8. Cube It Up: Now, cut each quarter into 1-inch cubes, and voila, your squash is ready for action!

And if all else fails, snag some pre-packaged butternut squash from the produce aisle. No shame in the game, right?

Bringing It All Together: Why This Chili Rocks

This isn’t just turkey chili with a butternut squash cameo. Nah, the squash practically fuses with the turkey, while quinoa adds a texture that mimics traditional chili. I’ve whipped up turkey chili before, but adding butternut squash is like adding an amp that goes up to 11.

Top Tips for Making Stellar Healthy Turkey Chili

  • Choosing Ground Turkey: Opt for ground turkey that’s lean but not too lean. A bit of fat will add flavor. You can also substitute with ground chicken if turkey is unavailable.
  • Season Generously: Don’t skimp on spices. Taste the chili as it cooks and adjust seasonings as needed. Just remember, you can always add, but you can’t take away.
  • On Quinoa: Make sure to stir in the quinoa during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking. This ensures it cooks fully without turning mushy.
  • Butternut Squash Alert: The butternut squash can easily turn too soft if cooked for too long. Aim for chunks that are bite-sized to ensure they hold their shape.
  • Serving Options: Feel free to garnish with shredded cheese or sliced avocados in addition to sour cream and parsley. Different toppings can bring new dimensions to your chili.
  • Storage Solutions: This chili freezes beautifully. Store in an airtight container and reheat whenever you’re in need of a quick, hearty meal.
healthy turkey chili

If you’ve made it this far, then you’re probably as jazzed as I am about this turkey chili. Between the protein-packed ground turkey and the nutrient-rich butternut squash, you’re not just satisfying your taste buds—you’re giving them a nutritious hug!

But hey, let’s not forget about the rockstar spices like chili powder and cumin that bring the heat and flavor. Marsha Y., I hope I’ve answered your butternut squash conundrums to your satisfaction. Let’s keep the recipe requests and questions coming; my inbox is always open for you awesome folks. Enjoy!

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Healthy Turkey Chili

The Starving Chef
This turkey chili recipe is a hearty and nutritious blend of ground turkey, butternut squash, quinoa, and spices, perfect for any chilly day.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Healthy
Servings 6


  • 16 oz ground turkey
  • ½ cup white onion
  • 3 tablespoons garlic minced
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup fire roasted corn
  • ½ cup black beans drained & rinsed
  • ½ cup tomato diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups butternut squash cut into one inch cubes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley for topping
  • sour cream for topping


  • In a large pot over high heat, cook and crumble the ground turkey until it is no longer pink and has started to brown. Move the cooked turkey to the sides of the pot, leaving the center exposed.
  • Add the chopped onions and minced garlic to the opening in the center of the pot. Let the onions cook for three minutes without stirring.
  • Mix in the onions and garlic, then stir in the chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper, followed by the corn, black beans, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste.
  • Stir in the butternut squash and cook for a minute or two, until the tomatoes have mostly lost their moisture. Pour in the chicken broth and stir everything together.
  • Bring the chili to a rolling boil and cook, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes or until most of the excess liquid has evaporated. The chili should not appear liquid-y.
  • Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir in the quinoa and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 15-20 minutes.
  • Serve the chili with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh parsley. Enjoy on a cold afternoon!
Keyword chili, slow cooker, turkey
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