High-Flying Turkey Black Bean Chili


I’ll admit it; I’m a bit obsessive when it comes to chili. Most people have one chili powder blend in their pantry. I have four, all of which I buy online at wholespice.com: Chili Powder Dark; ancho chili powder; Chili California Powder; and Chili New Mexico Powder. You get the idea. But my recipe tester Catherine was having none of it when I suggested this recipe include all four of my chili powder blends. “No,” she said. “I have one blend, just like any other normal person. Either this is going test well with one blend, or it’s not going to fly at all.” Fortunately, it achieved the correct flying altitude with just one blend—whichever one you happen to have on hand—but if you want all three (I can’t resist), look at the Cook’s Note. I love this chili straight up, topped with avocado-cilantro cream, while Catherine likes it best topped with poached eggs. Talk about a protein hit! And for a brain boost, there’s nothing like the choline that both black beans and eggs provide.

4 cups cooked black beans, or 2 (15-ounce) cans, rinsed
Freshly squeezed lime juice
Sea salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, deribbed, seeded, and minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano, gently crushed in your hand
1/2 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound ground white or dark turkey meat, or a combination
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 red bell peppers, chopped into bite-size pieces
4 cups cooked black beans or 2 (15-ounce) cans, rinsed
1 tablespoon Grade B maple syrup
Freshly squeezed lime juice


1 avocado, halved and flesh scooped out
2 tablespoons water
3/4 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

In a bowl, combine the drained, rinsed beans with a spritz of lime juice and a pinch of salt; set aside. In a 6-quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and sauté for 3 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic, jalapeño, chili powder, ancho chile powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, and cinnamon and sauté for another minute. Add the turkey and 1/4 teaspoon of salt, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, and brown for about 3 minutes. If the pan is dry or the spices stick, pour in a little juice from the tomatoes to deglaze the pan, stirring with the wooden spoon to loosen any bits stuck to the pan. Add the tomatoes and another pinch of salt, then the peppers and beans and another pinch of salt. Stir to combine. Bring it to a simmer over medium low heat, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the cover and simmer for 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Stir in the maple syrup. Taste, and add lime juice and salt as needed.

To make the cilantro avocado cream (which is an optional garnish), put the avocado, water, lime juice, cilantro, and salt in a blender and process until very smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl.

Serve the soup in individual bowls garnished with a dollop of the cilantro avocado cream.

COOK’S NOTES: Chili powder is a spice mix made of ground chile peppers (including cayenne), paprika, cumin, garlic, onion, and black pepper. If you use my favorite chili powder blends in this chili, keep the ancho chile powder and, for the 2 teaspoons of chili powder, sub in 2 teaspoons of Chili Dark Powder, 1 teaspoon of Chili New Mexico Powder, and 1 teaspoon of Chili California Powder, all from wholespice.com.

If fresh red bell peppers are not available, jarred roasted red bell peppers will do in a pinch.

Eliminate the turkey, and this becomes a delicious vegetarian one-pot meal.

If you don’t want to haul out your blender or food processor to make the cilantro avocado cream, place all the ingredients in a bowl and mash them together using the back of a fork. It won’t be smooth and creamy, but it will still be yummy.

Reprinted with permission from The Healthy Mind Cookbook Copyright © 2015 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.

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