Leftover Turkey Chilli

Posted by on Nov 25, 2013 | 50 comments

Leftover Turkey Chilli

Hey you know that ‘question’ that some of us have after Christmas (or Thanksgiving) i.e. what on earth do we do with all the leftover turkey?

Make this leftover turkey chilli – simples.

This chilli is low on calories, tasty, easy and of course inexpensive as it uses leftovers and common store cupboard staples like chickpeas and beans. You can make sensible sized portions of this and freeze till needed.

And best of all you can adapt it to who is going to be eating it. We have lots of smoked chipotle and chilli on ours, whilst the children’s portion has only a little (otherwise in the words of mini chef it will ‘hurt my mouth’). OH loves throwing chilli parties with endless toppings as well as rice, baked sweet potatoes, nachos, and tacos and guests can mix and match toppings to their hearts content.

Also if you want another turkey recipe check out this baked pasta with sausage and butternut squash sauce as you can easily add in leftover turkey instead of the sausage.

Also check out these 15 must-try Thanksgiving recipes from The Afropolitan Mom.

This is inked up to the Spice Trail Challenge over at Bangers and Mash.

Leftover Turkey Chilli
Cook time
Total time
A healthy chilli made with leftover turkey and butternut squash or pumpkin perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
  • 350g (12.5oz) butternut squash or pumpkin or mixture with carrots
  • 1¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion peeled and chopped
  • 2 (bell) peppers deseeded and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 chilli deseeded and chopped
  • 1-2 tsp smoked chipotle paste
  • 250g (8.5oz) leftover turkey chopped into bite size pieces
  • 500g (17.5oz) mixed beans eg chickpeas and black eyed beans (you can use approx 2 X 400g tins if you use tinned beans)
  • 4 tomatoes chopped
  • 3 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 700ml (3 cups) stock
  • Handful of fresh coriander (cilantro) chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to fan assisted 180C / 200C / 400F / gas 6.
  2. Peel and cut butternut squash into bit size pieces on baking tray.
  3. Add in ¼ tsp each of cinnamon and cumin, some salt and olive oil, mix well and bake until they are soft. Turn pieces regularly so that they are not burnt on one side. Baking time depends upon the size of the pieces but mine are normally ready in 20 mins. When it is done take it out and set aside but keep it warm.
  4. Whilst the squash is in the oven heat some olive oil in a pot over medium heat, add in onion, pepper and garlic and fry for about 5 mins. You could add in 2 tbsp of water to avoid the vegetables burning.
  5. Then add in the chilli, the chipotle paste, turkey and the remaining spices and fry for about a min till fragrant and well blended in. It is very easy for spices to burn or stick to the pot so add in 2 tbsp of water and stir regularly.
  6. Pour the beans along with the chopped tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and stock into the chilli and mix to combine. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and let simmer for about 25 mins.
  7. Chop and stir in the coriander and butternut squash carefully so that it does not break, let simmer for 5 mins and then switch off the heat. Mash in a litle bit of the butternut squash so that the chilli takes on some creamy butternut texture
  8. Let the chilli stand for a few hours for the flavours to develop.
  9. Warm through thoroughly and then serve.


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  1. Thanks for featuring my post. I appreciate the love. Can’t wait to try the chili.

    • Yaye, let me know how it goes Kira.

  2. I love the sound of using turkey in chili – and I’ve never added squash to mine before, so this is also intriguing. I bet this is very tasty and I’m sure it would enjoy…

    • JW – The first time I suggested this OH was not very convinced but he now loves it.

  3. Now that sounds like a mighty fine way to use up some leftover turkey, and a nice change from good old turkey curry. I tend to make a fairly mild chilli for the kids then spike mine up with chilli paste of chopped chillies.

    • It is a mighty fine way to use left over turkey.

  4. That looks yummy!

  5. That looks absolutely yummy!!!… I would love to try it but..leftover turkey? .. what is that?… when we have meat of any decription it always gets all hoovered up by Mr Myz and the kiddiwinks lol xxxxxx

    • I love it. Leftover meat hoovered up. So someone who has an even more meat loving OH than me.

  6. I’m always on the look-out for new ways with leftovers and this recipe is going to be perfect for the Christmas turkey. Love it! And thanks for sharing in December’s Spice Trail challenge.

    • A pleasure V. Looking forward to working my way through the recipes at the spice trail.

  7. Great idea Bintu! A healthy and low fat tasty meal, what more could you want after the excesses of Christmas! I love the squash in there too…nice touch of sweetness I’ll bet. x

    • Yeap butternut squash bring a lovely sort of sweetness to recipes.

  8. Thanks for yet another great recipe!

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