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Turkey Chili with Adzuki Beans Recipe

Turkey chili recipe with adzuki beans - Dr. Axe

Total Time

1 hour 10 minutes, not including bean soaking time



Diet Type


  • 1 cup dry adzuki beans
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • ¼ cup whey from yogurt or 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ pound smoked turkey, pulled
  • 32 ounces diced canned tomatoes, sugar & BPA free
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon grass-fed butter or coconut oil
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 2 green peppers, diced
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, pressed or minced


  1. Soak adzuki beans overnight in the filtered water with the whey or vinegar. Drain and rinse after soaking.
  2. In a large pot or dutch oven, combine the beans with the broth and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the pulled smoked turkey, tomatoes, chili powder, smoked paprika and cumin to the beans. Stir to incorporate and continue to simmer while completing the next step.
  4. In a skillet over medium-high heat, sauté the ground turkey and onion in butter or coconut oil. When the turkey is half done, add the green peppers and garlic. Continue to sauté until the turkey is browned.
  5. Add the ground turkey and vegetables to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for 15–20 minutes, until the chili is slightly thickened. Taste for seasoning and add salt for flavor or chili powder for more spice.
  6. Enjoy with avocado, goat's milk yogurt, salsa or green onions. Flavor will improve over the next few days.

Fall weather calls for chili making, and this Turkey Chili with Adzuki Beans will hit the spot. With not one, but two kinds of turkey, and a hint of smokiness from paprika, you’ll want to enjoy a piping hot bowl by a bonfire. This is a Texas-style chili: heavier on the meat. So invite the meat-lovers in your life and show them that eating healthy doesn’t have to mean giving up their favorite food!

This turkey chili features adzuki beans, the red bean traditionally used in Asian cuisine. Adzuki beans are a part of the healing diet because they contain lots of iron (about 25 percent of your RDI in this recipe), magnesium, potassium, zinc and folic acid. If you’ve ever experienced an iron deficiency, you know that getting enough of this essential mineral can up your energy, help you sleep better, and help you maintain a positive mood. All good things when the days are getting shorter.

Did you also know that eating iron-rich animal sources of food along with plant-based foods can help your body absorb the iron even better? So chili, with its combination of meat and beans, is an iron powerhouse. Turkey is the meat of choice for this recipe because it offers lean protein as well as iron and healthy fat. You want to look for organic, pasture-raised turkey to be sure you’re getting the most nutritious protein food. You’ll get the benefits of improved mood, more energy and stronger muscles.

The bottom line: if you’re craving chili this season, listen to your body! It might be telling you to eat the perfect food for what it needs.

Turkey chili recipe with adzuki beans - Dr. Axe

We’ll start by soaking the adzuki beans overnight in water and whey or apple cider vinegar. This breaks down antinutrients that prevent your body from absorbing the good stuff, and it preserves the good nutrients since it means you don’t have to cook the beans as long in the chili. After a good soak, drain and rinse the beans.

Turkey chili recipe ingredients - Dr. Axe

Now comes the fun part: layering the flavors of the turkey chili. You’ll start by boiling the beans in some low-sodium broth and salt (starting with low-sodium broth or salt-free homemade chicken bone broth and adding salt as needed means you can control the sodium level better). Once those have simmered for a while, add the pulled smoked turkey, diced tomatoes (with the juice) and spices.

While that’s simmering, grab a skillet and sauté the ground turkey and red onions in butter or coconut oil. Flavor layer number two! When the ground turkey has lost most of its pinkness, add the green peppers and garlic. Continue cooking until the turkey is browned and cooked through.

Turkey chili recipe - Dr. Axe

Add the ground turkey and vegetables to the chili and let it simmer for 15–20 minutes. You want the flavors to marry and the consistency to slightly thicken. You can taste it at this point and see if it needs salt or more spice. Add chili powder if you’d like more spice. This is a good time to get your toppings ready, which will make this stew really shine. Try avocado, goat milk yogurt, salsa or green onions — or all of them!

Once the turkey chili is ready, ladle it into bowls, top it to your liking and enjoy. If you have any leftovers (which I highly doubt you will if you’re serving four to five people), refrigerate it, and the flavor will be even better over the next few days.

Josh Axe

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