Dinner, Fall, Gluten Free, Healthy, Soup, Stove Top, Winter

Three Bean Turkey Chili with Honey Jalapeño Grits

A twist on the classic cornbread and chili, this Three Bean Turkey Chili is served over creamy Honey Jalapeño Grits for the perfect cold weather comfort food. With three types of canned beans, lean ground turkey and Mexican inspired spices, it’s hearty, healthy and ready in just about an hour. The grits are just as delicious. They’re savory and sweet with just a little kick from the jalapeño. Everything is also gluten free, easily made dairy free, vegetarian or vegan!

Three Bean Turkey Chili with Honey Jalapeño Grits

How to Make Three Bean Turkey Chili

Let’s start with a pretty basic chili recipe. It’s nothing fancy, but this Three Bean Turkey Chili does have a few key ingredients that make it my favorite recipe. First, sauté a yellow onion in a bit of olive oil before adding in the ground turkey. This allows the onion to soften and continue caramelizing as the turkey cooks. Go for dark meat turkey as this will add a richer flavor.

The turkey should only take a few minutes to brown, so you can go ahead and add in some garlic and chopped bell pepper, plus all the spices. I like my turkey chili to have a bit of texture, so the vegetables should only cook for a few minutes. Remember to salt as you go! When the whole pot starts smelling delicious from the toasted garlic and Mexican spices, add in a can of fire roasted tomatoes, all three cans of beans and some chicken stock. Also, a key ingredient: one tablespoon of dark brown sugar. A little extra sweetness is going to enhance the flavor of the tomatoes and make the chili taste almost like slow cooked baked beans.

Bring everything up a boil then reduce the heat to low. Simmer the chili for about 25 minutes to allow all the flavors to meld together and the broth to thicken. The last, but very important step is to cut the heat and stir in a couple spoonfuls of apple cider vinegar. A final hit of acid really elevates all the other flavors in the dish. Finally, taste for salt. It’s a big pot of chili, so be generous with your seasoning!

Three Bean Turkey Chili with Honey Jalapeño Grits

The Best Grits…

These Honey Jalapeño Grits are a twist on the classic chili cornbread combo. They’re creamy, a little sweet and the perfect base for our Three Bean Turkey Chili!

Grits are super easy to make on the stovetop. All you need is about a cup of dry yellow corn grits (sometimes labeled as polenta), any type of unflavored milk, jalapeños, olive oil and some good quality honey. Bring the milk to a boil along with a couple cups of water and then add the grits and jalapeño. Grits tend to clump up right when they go in the pot, so make sure to give everything a stir before reducing the heat. Cook the grits on low, stirring every 5 minutes or so, for about 20 minutes, until they become super thick and creamy.

When all the liquid has absorbed, add the honey, olive oil (or butter, your choice) and a good pinch of salt. Grits are not an exact science, so make sure to taste the final product to be sure its seasoned correctly. Add a little more honey if you like them sweeter or another splash of milk for a creamier consistency.

Three Bean Turkey Chili with Honey Jalapeño Grits

Tips and Substitutions

  • This Three Bean Turkey Chili can easily be made vegetarian or vegan by omitting the ground turkey. The recipe already has three types of beans, so even without the meat, it will be super hearty and satisfying. For the grits, use olive oil or vegan butter and some sort of plantbased milk. I like soy-milk for something a little lighter, but full fat coconut milk will give you a much creamier texture.
  • If you don’t have all three types of beans on hand, replace one or two with equal amounts of another. Other types of beans like white beans, chickpeas and cooked lentils would also be a great addition.
  • Make sure to use stone ground grits, not instant grits. These have varying cook times and will result in a different texture.

More Recipes to Try:

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Yield: 6 servings

Three Bean Turkey Chili with Honey Jalapeño Grits

Three Bean Turkey Chili with Honey Jalapeño Grits

Healthier turkey chili with three types of beans, served with creamy stovetop grits. Warm, comforting and easy to make.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish

For the Honey Jalapeño Grits

  • 1 cup yellow grits
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk or non-dairy alternative
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or butter
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. When shimmering, add the onion and sauté for 5-8 minutes, until softened.
  2. Add the turkey and use a rubber spoon to break into bits. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the bell peppers, garlic and spices. Cook for 2-3 more minutes or until fragrant.
  4. Pour in the fire roasted tomatoes, beans, chicken stock, brown sugar and a generous amount of salt. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the apple cider vinegar. Taste for salt and add more as needed. Serve over grits with chopped cilantro.

For the Honey Jalapeño Grits

  1. Bring the milk and 2 cups of water to a boil.
  2. Add the grits and jalapeño. reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, for 20-25 minutes, until thick and creamy.
  3. Stir in the honey and olive oil (or butter). Season with salt to taste.


To make this recipe vegan or vegetarian, omit the turkey by skipping step 2 and proceeding with the instructions as written. Use olive oil and a non-dairy milk for the grits.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 655Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 92mgSodium: 1087mgCarbohydrates: 69gFiber: 14gSugar: 11gProtein: 43g

All nutritional info is an estimation

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