10/05/2011 05:23 EDT | Updated 12/05/2011 05:12 EST

Turkey Chili Recipe: Healthy Thanksgiving Comfort Food


Comfort food does not have to weigh us down. In fact, there are many healthy substitutions you can make to traditional recipes without sacrificing taste. This dish is the perfect, crowd-pleasing example. Not only does it taste good, but the addition of curry powder makes it an anti-inflammatory meal.

Curry spices haven long been used by Chinese and East Indian medicine practitioners for this purpose. Turmeric contains curcumin and curcuminoids, which are powerful anti-inflammatory phytochemicals that act as natural cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors in the body and inhibit the production of the prostaglandins -- hormones that cause inflammation and swelling.

There are many different brands of curry powder to choose from. Be cautious of those pre-packaged dry chili/curry mixes. More often then not, they have MSG and are very high in salt, both of which you want to avoid.


1/2 pound of ground turkey

1 whole green pepper chopped

1 med. sized onion chopped

2 cloves of garlic chopped

2 cans of low sodium whole tomatoes

1 can of tomato paste

1 can of drained and rinsed black beans

1 can of drained and rinsed kidney beans

2 tsp of curry powder

1 tbsp hot chili flakes

Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Sautee ground turkey on low-medium heat with olive oil or organic coconut oil, add pepper, onion and garlic, continue to sautee until vegetables become slightly tender. Be cautious not to overcook the vegetables as they're still going to cook when you add the tomatoes and spices. The ground turkey and vegetables only take about 10 minutes.

Pour the cooked ingredients into a large pot and add the tomatoes, paste and beans. Stir and continue to cook on medium for another 10 minutes. Add the curry powder and hot chili flakes. You can continue to cook on low heat to let the spices work their delicious flavour into the chili or you can immediately serve on a bed of brown rice or just on its own. If you like your chili a little thicker, you can add another can of tomato paste.

Note: for a vegetarian option, omit the ground turkey and add garbanzo beans (chick peas).

Joy McCarthy, registered holistic nutritionist and health coach of Joyous Health, loves to inspire others to eat well and live well. She also teaches an array of wellness workshops and co-creator of Eat Well Feel Well, a six-week nutrition and yoga course in Toronto. Joy welcomes your questions or comments.

Please note: All of these recipes are created in her joyous kitchen with the healthiest ingredients. She's not a calorie counter or a professional chef -- She's a nutritionist who loves to cook and bake, and she's delighted to share her creations with you.