When the temperatures start to drop, and the leaves turn shades of amber and crimson, there’s nothing quite like a warm bowl of chili to wrap you in a cozy embrace. I’ve been on a white bean turkey chili kick lately, mostly because I’m trying to eat healthier before the holidays. But I turned it up a notch by introducing the unique duo of pumpkin and poblano peppers.
Get ready for a flavor-packed journey that combines the heartiness of turkey and pumpkin, and a subtle kick from poblano peppers. Ready to start cooking? Simply hit the “jump to recipe” button. Or scroll through for some helpful tips and tricks.
Why This White Bean Turkey Chili Rocks
This white bean turkey chili recipe has quickly become one of our favorites. It’s great to make in a big batch so you have some leftovers throughout the week (yay to busy nights where you don’t have to cook!) Plus, Pete likes to have a side of tortilla chips and eat it like a “dip” which makes it fun. But here are all the reasons why we love this recipe:
Pumpkin In Chili
The pumpkin puree not only adds a velvety texture but also brings a subtle sweetness, making this chili stand out from the crowd. The pumpkin thickens the chili, even without the use of masa flour or corn starch. And pumpkin gives the chili a nice autumnal color and booste of vitamin A too.
Typically, people will add cayenne or jalapenos to their chili. Poblano peppers offer a more mild heat and earthy flavor, complementing the richness of the turkey and the creaminess of the pumpkin.
This recipe is a time-saver. With simple steps and minimal cleanup, you can have a hearty meal ready in no time. Plus, left overs! Also, most of the ingredients are are things you can have saved in your pantry and freezer to make last-minute meal prep a breeze!
Feel free to customize! That’s my favorite part about making chili, is that it is easy to tweak it here and there and make it your own recipe. Add your favorite toppings, experiment with spice levels, or even throw in some extra veggies (I sometimes throw in riced cauliflower).
How To Make White Bean Turkey Chili
Start by gathering together your ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
- ground turkey: Ground turkey is a lean and versatile meat option. It’s a great source of protein and can be used as a healthier alternative to ground beef.
- olive oil: Brings a subtle flavor to your chili and helps to sauté the onions, peppers, and turkey, enhancing the overall richness of the dish.
- pinto beans: Pinto beans have a creamy texture and a mild, earthy flavor. But you could use any white bean you prefer. They add protein and substance, contributing to the heartiness of chili.
- pumpkin puree: Pumpkin puree adds a velvety texture and boost of vitamins to your chili. It’s also a fantastic way to incorporate a seasonal twist to your recipe.
- corn: Corn brings a burst of sweetness and a satisfying crunch to your chili. You can use fresh, canned or frozen. Personally, I like to use the fire roasted corn that comes canned.
- chicken broth: Chicken broth serves as the liquid base for your chili, infusing it with flavor and providing a comforting foundation.
- poblano peppers: Poblano peppers are known for their mild heat and distinctive flavor. They add depth to your chili with a slightly smoky and earthy taste
- white onion: White onion provides a milder and slightly sweet flavor compared to yellow or red onions.
- white chicken chili spice kit: The white chicken chili spice kit typically includes a great chili spice blend. But if you need to mix up spices from your cabinet, a combination of white pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and corn masa (corn flour) can replicate the flavors found in a pre-packaged spice mix.
Now, let’s get to cooking! Here’s how to make white bean turkey chili with pumpkin and poblano peppers.
Sauté the Aromatics:
Start by heating a bit of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add diced onions and poblano peppers, letting them sizzle until softened and starting to brown. This is the foundation of flavor for your chili. Remove the veggies from the pot and set aside.
Brown the Turkey:
Add the ground turkey to the pot. Break it up with a spatulat and cook it thoroughly, allowing it to brown. The caramelization will add a depth of flavor to your chili.
Spice Things Up:
Once the turkey is nicely browned, it’s time to introduce the white chicken chili spice packet. The combination of cumin, coriander, and other spices will infuse the dish with warmth and complexity. If you can’t find a white chili spice packet, I have included spice measurements for you below in the recipe card.
Make It Turkey Pumpkin Chili:
Now, let’s add the star ingredients. First, add in the canned pumpkin and blend it in with the cooked turkey. Because the pumpkin thickens the turkey chili, start adding the broth just one cup at a time. After adding a cup of broth, add the cooked diced onion and poblano peppers.
Layer Rest Of Ingredients Together:
Next, toss in the pinto beans and corn. Then add more broth a cup at a time until the white bean turkey chili reaches your preferred thickness.
At this point, if you’re using a chili packet, add in the corn mesa flour and cayenne spice packet (if desired) and stir all the ingredients together.
Simmer and Mingle:
Allow the chili to simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes. The broth will meld all the flavors together, creating a rich and satisfying base for your chili. This is when the magic happens, and your kitchen starts smelling like a haven of comfort.
Toppings to Elevate Your Bowl Of Chili
Truly, what I love about chili is everyone can make it their own based on the toppings. Want it more creamy? Add some cheese or sour cream. Desire a little more spice? Top it with jalapenos. Craving some crunchy textures? Corn nuts or tortilla chips will do the trick! Here’s a list of chili toppings to inspire you:
- Corn Nuts: Sprinkle a handful of corn nuts on top for an unexpected crunch. Their toasty, nutty flavor adds a delightful contrast to the chili.
- Pepitas: Pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, bring a nutty and earthy flavor. Toast them lightly and scatter them over your bowl for a burst of texture and richness. Plus, they’re a great garnish for a pumpkin based chili.
- Sour Cream: A dollop of cool, tangy sour cream is the perfect counterpoint to the warm and spicy chili. It adds a luscious creaminess that ties everything together. You could also substitue this with plain Greek yogurt.
- Cheddar Cheese: Shred some sharp cheddar cheese over your chili. As it melts into the hot bowl, it creates a savory, gooey goodness that enhances every bite.
- Cilantro: Fresh cilantro leaves provide a burst of freshness and a hint of citrus, balancing the richness of the chili. Chop it finely, or use whole leaves, and sprinkle it on top just before serving. Plus, having a little green garnish the top makes most foods really pop with color. It’s a food styling secret.
- Avocado: Creamy slices of avocado add a luxurious texture and a mild, buttery flavor. They’re not just a topping; they’re a creamy, dreamy complement to the chili.
- Jalapenos: Want a little bit more spice? Jalapenos bring a good level of heat, making them perfect for those who enjoy a bit of spiciness without overpowering the dish.
Side Dishes For Your Turkey Pumpkin Chili
Tortilla Chips: For an extra layer of crunch, add some tortilla chips on the side! It’s like a built-in scoop for every delicious bite.
Cornbread: A loaf of fresh baked cornbread or cornbread muffins is the perfect side to a comforting bowl of turkey pumpkin chili. Plus, you can use the bread to soak up any left over sauce at the bottom of the bowl when you’re done.
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 2 large poblano peppers, diced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 can pinto beans (15 ounces)
- 1 can pumpkin puree (15 ounces)
- 1 cup corn
- 3 cups chicken broth
- White chicken chili spice packet
Start by heating a bit of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add diced onions and poblano peppers, letting them cook until softened and starting to brown. Remove the veggies from the pot and set aside.
Next, add the ground turkey to the pot. Break it up with a spatula and cook until browned.
Once the turkey is nicely browned, add the white chili spice kit packet. (If you don't have a white chili spice kit, I have included spice measurements for you below in the recipe notes.)
After the chili spices are added, spoon in the canned pumpkin and one cup of broth and mix it in with the turkey until it is well blended.
Add back the cooked diced onion and poblano peppers.
Because the pumpkin thickens the turkey chili, start adding additional broth just one cup at a time until the chili reaches your desired thickness.
At this point, if you're using a chili packet, add in the corn mesa flour and cayenne spice packet (if desired) and stir all the ingredients together.
Next, toss in the pinto beans and corn and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
Serve with your favorite chili toppings and enjoy!
White Turkey Chili Homemade Spice Kit
As an alternative to the white chili spice kit sold at the store, you can also just add your own spices from home. Here's what I recommend including:
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 Tablespoons corn mesa
- corn nuts
- sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- grated cheddar cheese
- diced avocado
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 422Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 99mgSodium: 1132mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 9gSugar: 7gProtein: 33g
Nutrition information provided is only an estimate.