Easy Turkey and Butternut Squash Chili

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Turkey butternut squash chili that is made without beans! This slightly spicy chili made with ground turkey, hearty butternut squash, tomatoes, and spices couldn't be tastier.

293 CAL 23g CARBS 6g FAT 39g PROTEIN
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A quick cooking Turkey and Butternut Squash Chili (without beans!) that is hearty, filling, and ready in about 30 minutes.

This past weekend all I wanted to eat was chili. Between a bit of rain and cooler weather, the continual wearing of sweatpants and leggings, chili was the perfect thing to really make it the ultimate lazy day. The only problem was that I didn't want to spend hours making chili and I had been spending the past few weeks cutting way back on my carbohydrate intake so beans were out.

Always up for a challenge, I decided to tackle this head-on and vowed to come up with a delicious, hearty chili that didn't take hours to make. This started with a once-over of my pantry and fridge to see what I had available.

Luckily, I had everything I needed, including the star of the chili show: a giant butternut squash. I also used some of this giant butternut squash for these tasty Butternut Squash Tacos.

From there I was able to take all the classic chili ingredients and go to work. I've found that sauteing the veggies first along with the spices helps to really deepen their flavor without standing by the stove all day. From there, the rest is easy — add in the turkey, tomatoes, chicken broth, and butternut squash. I topped mine with a ton of fresh lime juice, a mountain of cheese and avocado, and plenty of cilantro.

Looking for more tasty chili ideas? We also love this Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili and this Healthy Turkey Chili.

Butternut squash turkey chili in two bowls with green onions and a hand picking up a bowl.

Side Dish Ideas for Turkey and Butternut Squash Chili

While this chili is filling in its own right, I have found that several side dishes pair really well with it, like these popular favorites.

  • Salads of all sorts: I'm a huge, huge fan of a side salad. I always keep some kind of greens on hand and I simply chop them if needed and pile on top all sorts of other veggies and healthy dressing.
  • Roasted veggies: If you're looking to add a warm veggie as a side, then roasting vegetables is also a great idea. My favorites are Brussels sprouts, green beans, and broccoli, but you can roast just about any hearty vegetable you enjoy.
  • A bread of sorts: While I've been eating low-carb, I know many are not! And trust me, I love bread with chili. Some favorite options include cornbread, a slice of crusty French bread or a small(ish) chunk of baguette, or even low-sodium oyster crackers make a great accompaniment to this chili.
  • Tortilla chips: Crush up some low-carb tortilla chips right over the bowl of chili for a bit of salty crunch.

Can I Make This in the Slow Cooker?

Want to make chili in the slow cooker? No problem. Here are the instructions for making turkey chili in the slow cooker:

  1. I would go ahead and brown the turkey slightly in a skillet before adding to the slow cooker. OR you can add this to the slow cooker uncooked, but you'll have to stir periodically to keep it from cooking into one large, rectangular patty.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, red pepper, celery, and jalapeno to the bottom of the crock. Top with the ground turkey.
  3. Add the chili powder, oregano, cumin, bay leaf, tomatoes, chicken broth, and squash. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 4-5 hours.
  4. Serve with fresh lime juice, baked low-carb tortilla chips, sour cream/Greek yogurt, avocado, cilantro, or cheese.

Chili with turkey and butternut squash with tomatoes, spices, and green onions in two bowls in a basket.

Recipe Ideas & Tips

  • Add in other veggies if you like, such as small dices of potatoes, sweet potato, cauliflower rice, kale or spinach.
  • I made this without beans but it would be great with a can of drained, rinsed black or pinto beans as well.
  • Change the meat by using lean ground beef or chicken or turkey sausage.
  • Spice up the dish with red pepper flakes or the addition of hot sauce.
  • Top the chili with some queso fresco or another small handful of your favorite cheese.
  • If you want to make the seasoning options easier, you can just use two tablespoons of a low-sodium taco seasoning or other Tex-Mex mix.
  • If you love spice, consider adding some diced chipotle peppers in adobo to the mix along with a couple of tablespoons of adobo sauce.
  • You'll want to add the toppings to this chili just like you would with traditional chili. Consider avocado, shredded cheese, cilantro, pickled jalapenos, onions, sour cream, or baked tortilla chips.

Looking for more chili recipes?

The Recipe
Turkey butternut squash chili with tomatoes, butternut squash, ground turkey, and sliced green onions.

Easy Turkey and Butternut Squash Chili

293 CAL 23g CARBS 6g FAT 39g PROTEIN
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  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1.33 lbs. 99% lean ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 14 oz. canned fire roasted diced tomatoes (not drained)
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups butternut squash, diced
  • Salt and pepper

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Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, red pepper, celery, and jalapeno. Cook for 5-8 minutes until onions are beginning to become translucent.


Add the turkey, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and bay leaf. Cook for 6-8 minutes, breaking up the turkey, until it is browned.


Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, and squash. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until squash is tender but not mushy.


Serve with fresh lime juice, baked low carb tortilla chips, sour cream/Greek yogurt, avocado, cilantro, or cheese.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1.5 cups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 293
Calories from Fat 51
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 83mg
Sodium 262mg
Total Carbohydrate 23g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 7g
Protein 39g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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