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Kale Turkey Chili Recipe

Kale Turkey Chili

This is an adaptation of a Turkey Chili recipe from my friend Susan Nickerson. I believe she calls it her “husband catching chili” because she apparently ensnared her husband with its charms. But my chili is devoid of beans (avoiding the starches when possible) and I’ve “vege-fied” the recipe to ensure it’s packed with vegetables, including, yes, kale. My husband is a devout meat eater so this is one of the many ways I sneak vegetables into his meat dishes without him knowing it. Wait, he’ll never see this, will he?

For any vegetarians reading this, I’ve separated out the meat section of the ingredients because it’s optional.



  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 4 Organic carrots, big ones, peeled and sliced
  • 4 Celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 Brown Onion, chopped pretty small
  • 1 Red Pepper, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/8 C Water


  • 20 oz Ground Turkey in a bowl, mushed up with a wooden spoon
  • 1 teaspoon Granulated Garlic
  • 1/2 t Onion Powder
  • 1/4 t Chili Powder
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt

Add Wet Stuff and Combine Everything

  • 28 oz Can of Whole Tomatoes, cut up with scissors in the can
  • 6 oz Tomato Paste
  • 1 Small can of Ortega fire roasted chopped green chilis
  • 1 Small bunch kale leaves, pushed from stalk and chopped into 1 inch pieces

Sautee the Vegetables

Heat a big pot with medium or high heat (I use the Le Cruset paella pan).

Coat the bottom of the big pot with olive oil.

Toss the vegetables in the oil and try to get them to get a little bit of brown on parts of them over high or medium high heat.

If the pan starts to get too dry, add some water and cover with a lid and steam the vegetables till they get medium soft (but not all the way soft).

Put the vegetables in a glass bowl (not plastic).

Prepare the Meat

Put the turkey meat into a bowl and chop into it with a wooden or bamboo spoon.

Sprinkle the spices over the top of the meat and then mix in with 2 wooden spoons so you don’t have to touch raw meat.

Bring the pot up to medium high heat again and throw the turkey meat in.

Put the turkey into the pan and mush into one 1 inch layer spread out across the bottom of the pan so one layer will brown.

When the first side of the meat is brown, break it up and flip the pieces over.

When both sides are browned, chop up the meat into really small pieces and keep them browning.

Cook until there’s no liquid in the pan.

Combine everything in pan

Add the tomatoes and juice to the pan of browned meat and deglaze the pan with the tomato juice.

Add the tomato paste, green chilis and vegetables and stir together.

I usually am too hungry to keep cooking it for much longer after this, but you could if you wanted to, but I just start eating it and put the lid on to let it kind of meld together.

You also have the option of topping the chili with cheddar cheese in serving bowls.