Turkey Chili with Heirloom Tomatoes

This chili is all you need to slow down on a fall or winter day. It’s easy to make and has the magic to not only fill your belly, but your heart as well.

Chili Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey or beef
  • 3-4 lbs heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 medium to large onions
  • 2-3 large peppers
  • 1 summer squash
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt (add more depending on your preferred taste)
  • 1/4 c taco seasoning or chili seasoning
  • Olive oil to cook

Want to make Bread Bowls too? Find that recipe here.


Make your Tomato Sauce with Heirloom Tomatoes from the Garden

Start by chunking up whatever heirloom tomatoes you have on hand. I give these a rough chop and remove the stems and the area at the top of heirlooms that’s sometimes cracked and a little hard to eat.

heirloom tomato for chili

I find that this is one of the best ways to use of the overflow heirlooms I have. But keep in mind, the variation in color of the heirloom tomatoes will change the color of your base each time. I have a TON of Yellow Hartman’s Gooseberries this year so most of my chilis and sauces have a yellow/orange tinge to them. But they all taste delicious.

yellow hartman's gooseberry tomato for chili

I like to use my split tomatoes in recipes like this because they taste the same, even though they’re ugly! Save those pretty tomatoes for salads and hors d’Oeuvres you want to impress guests.

Once the tomatoes are chunked, add them to an instantpot and pressure cook on high for 5 mins. If you don’t have an instantpot, you can cook them in a large pot on the stove until they release their water and look soft. If there’s a lot of water drain some off. Some tomatoes are more watery than others, so my general rule of thumb is that I want a mountain of tomatoes with some water, and not an ocean of water with floating tomatoes. I’ll drain off water until the water is less than 30% of the tomatoes.

If you want to remove this skins, this is the time to do it! But watch your fingers, because this can take off a layer of skin. I leave mine on because I like a little texture and I’m too lazy to remove them. Then use an immersion blender to any consistency you’d like.

Prep The Onions, Peppers, Squash, and Garlic

In a large pot or dutch oven add a bit of olive oil and turn on medium heat. Dice the onion and peppers, and finely chop your garlic. What’s great about chili (and cooking in general) is that you can tweak any recipe to your preferred liking and it’s still going to be hearty and delicious. Don’t like peppers? No problem, toss ’em. Really love onions? Cool. Double the amount of onion. Your kitchen, your rules! This recipe uses 3 cloves of garlic, but sometimes when I’m feeling extra Italian I do a whole bulb. Why not? *throws hands in the air*

diced onion for chili

For an unexpected but welcomed addition to this chili, grate a summer squash. This adds texture, warmth, flavor and more importantly sneaks an additional veggie into my children.

grate a summer squash

Once you’ve diced, shredded, and chopped throw everything into a dutch oven over medium heat with your olive oil. I prefer to sauté everything for about 10 mins or until the onions are translucent.

peppers, onions, and squash sauteed for chili

Then add your ground meat of choice. I like to do turkey because it’s leaner, but this goes just as well with ground beef! Continuously chop and stir the meat so that it breaks apart and cooks into bite sized pieces. After the meat is at least 75% of the way cooked, you can add your taco or chili seasonings. The meat will continue to cook as it simmers, so don’t over cook it or burn it during the sauté.

After the meat is mostly cooked, but definitely broken down to soup-size, finally add in the tomato sauce you made from the garden.

Simmer on low with a lid for at least 1 hour. The longer it simmers the better it gets!

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