Chipotle Turkey Lentil Chili
Yield: approximately 6 servings
Have leftovers but not enough to feed everyone a full meal?  My crew enjoys the remaining chili served over a base of rice or mashed potatoes, and I occasionally make chili dogs to rave reviews!


  • 1 medium (about 1 1/2 cups) diced yellow onion
  • 1 pound ground turkey*
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce**
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14-1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 (14-1/2-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup dried brown lentils
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup***
  • Optional garnishes: sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, jalapeño slices, and/or chopped avocado


  1. In a large, lightly oiled pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, sauté the onion until softened, 3-4 minutes.  Add the ground turkey and brown, crumbling as it cooks.
  2. When the turkey is nearly cooked, add the bell pepper, chipotle pepper, chili powder and salt; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes.  Stir in the tomato sauce, undrained tomatoes, chicken broth, lentils, and maple syrup.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. Serve with desired toppings.


  • * I typically use ground turkey breast in this recipe, although I occasionally opt for ground thigh meat.  Thigh meat adds a little extra flavor, while the breast meat is leaner.  Both are delicious, so choose according to personal preference.
  • **When working with chili peppers, you may wish to wear plastic or rubber gloves. If your bare hands touch the chili peppers, wash them well with soap and water and avoid touching your eyes. For the indicated 1-1/2 teaspoons of chipotles in adobo, I use about half a chipotle pepper and some of the sauce for a level of spiciness similar to medium salsa.  Feel free to increase or decrease the heat according to taste.  Also, using just the adobo sauce will lend flavor without much heat, as it does not contain the seeds.  Freeze the remaining chipotle peppers individually with some of the sauce in an ice cube tray or in foil cupcake liners. Once frozen, transfer to a zip-top bag for future use.
  • *** I have made this chili many times without the maple syrup and it is still delicious if you choose to omit.  However, the hint of sweetness pairs well with the spice of the chipotle pepper and rounds out the flavors beautifully.  If you do not have any on hand, you could substitute brown sugar or honey.

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