Chili is a ultimate cold weather comfort food, this recipe for Turkey Quinoa Chili with Sweet Potatoes has a healthy twist. The inspiration was sparked by the Linn County Heritage Agency to do demonstrations for the Lynn County Seniors Centers. The extremely cold weather triggers thoughts of the ultimate comfort food for cold weather, instantly Chili came to mind. Chili can often be loaded with excess calories that are totally empty in nutritional value. With this consideration in mind along with Weight Watchers new Freedom Style set me into motion.
The first thing that came to mind is the types of proteins that can be use in Chili recipes. The core part of this recipe is a vegetarian based, using dried beans or canned beans. These beans are healthy, and using the right ones have zero Weight Watchers Smart Points. Going back to basics by using dried red beans like red kidney beans would be a good starting point. Canned beans have less then desired flavor profile that’s filled with extra salt and processed flavors. Cooking dried beans is simple task, by just using water or homemade stock. Adding to the dried red kidney beans, bay leaf, chopped onion, and chili powder will boost the flavors and keep calories down and achieving zero Weight Watcher Smart Points. Of course this takes extra time to make a batch of chili but it’s worth the extra effort to achieve the maximum flavor profile. When time is a issue or just don’t like to cook, canned beans will work. To Solve the time constraints by using Insta pot or Power XL electric pressure cooker saves good 2 hours of cooking time. By cooking the whole vegetarian chili in the electric pressure cooker in about 30 minutes with the power of steam.
Next consideration is in using creative healthy proteins, by adding turkey quinoa meatballs into the chili. Using lean ground turkey, in my past cooking experiences with extra lean 99% ground turkey ends up very dry tasting. But the 93% Lean turkey has just enough fat to have a nice moist flavor profile. Sadly 93% ground turkey is not Zero Points Weight, but is well worth the extra 1 point per ounce of turkey.
Remembering well using TVP in 70’s as additive and binder to extending proteins. This brought to mind the idea of using Quinoa as the extender rather then horrible TVP of 70’s. A trick learned is to soak and rinse off Quinoa with cold water. This extra step removes some of the bitter oils on the exterior of Quinoa. These combinations of the lean ground turkey and quinoa is a added great protein added source to chili. But just combining quinoa to lean ground turkey results in bland tasting combination. The simple solution is to add a package of taco seasoning to the mixture. Taco seasoning is Weight Watchers Zero Points and really boost the flavors of the turkey quinoa.
To get nice rounded mini scoops of turkey quinoa into meatballs by using a teaspoon measure. By dipping the teaspoon measure in hot water before scooping each meat ball provide easy scoops of meatball that came off the spoon without a struggle. Then browning meatballs in non-stick skillet sprayed lightly with oil over medium high heat. Be sure to shake the skillet a few times through cooking process, to produce evenly browning meatballs with little effort, in about 10 minutes.
By adding extra garnishes to the chili can improve nutritional values, my first thought was using sweet potatoes shell as container for chili and add some of sweet potatoes topping the chili. Using this technique gives the chili extra sweetness and a more hearty comforting food. The downside of this is adding calories and more Weight Watcher Smart Points. With the colder weather, the extra nutritional value of sweet potatoes, giving everyone more energy from sweet potatoes is a good trade off. The bonus is a wonderful garnished look rather then just a simple bowl of chili.
As thoughts come streaming into play, why not try using tater tots rather then sweet potatoes, less sweetness and everyone loves tater tots. The results was wonderful, not as sweet, a little more savory and oh so very tasty. The downside is extra Weight Watcher Smart Points and really no nutritional value like sweet potatoes. Still really nice way to change up chili in new ways.
So this is nutritional value for Turkey Quinoa Chili with Sweet Potatoes
Time to change things up a little try something different and enjoy! Be creative experiment a little that’s the fun of cooking and enjoying.
- 1 Pound 93% lean ground turkey
- .5 Cup Quinoa Rinse with cold water
- 1 Package taco seasoning
- 15 Ounces Dry Red kidney beans soaked overnight
- 8 Ounces tomato sauce
- 16 Ounces diced tomatoes
- .5 Teaspoons canola oil
- 5 Ounces onion Chopped, about 1 cup chopped
- 5 Ounces green pepper Seeded and chopped, about 1 cup chopped
- 3 Cloves garlic Minced
- 2 Cup chicken stock
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 2 Teaspoons Cumin powder
- 25 Ounces Sweet potatoes Cut sweet potatoes into thirds
- .75 Teaspoon kosher salt To taste
- .25 Teaspoon black pepper To taste
- 3 Ounces cheddar cheese Shredded
- 3 Ounces baby kale Made into chips
- 1 Large jalapeño Thinly sliced
- 6 Tablespoons Fat-free ranch dressing
- Soak the quinoa in cold for 15 minutes then rinse with cold water. This removes stronger off flavors of oils on exterior of quinoa.
- Combine in a mixing bowl the ground turkey, rinsed quinoa and taco seasoning mix. Mixing well by hand until all the ingredients are blend together. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Form teaspoon size scoops of turkey quinoa mixture, rolled into mini meat ball size shape. Place on tray or plate until all meatballs are formed.
- Heat a large skillet with small amount of oil until just to smoking point. Add the turkey quinoa meatballs and brown all sides. Turn heat off meat ball when the turkey quinoa meatballs are browned nicely.
- Sweat the onions, garlic and green peppers in electronic pressure cooker or large sauce pan, cook the vegetables until translucent. This should take about 4 minutes, setting cooker for 15 minuets cooking time.
- Add to the sweated vegetables the beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chili powder, cumin powder, chicken stock, salt and pepper. Stirring well to combine all ingredients. Bring chili mixture just to boil then reduce heat until chili is simmering. Cook for 30 to 45 minutes to develop flavors.
- Mean while as the chili is simmering cut the sweet potatoes in half. Then bake in 350°F oven until tender. Note a pairing knife should go cleanly into baked sweet potato without resistance. Remove baked sweet potatoes and allow to cool.
- Scoop out the sweet potato flesh carefully not to tear a hole in bottoms of the sweet potato skins. Reserve sweet potato skins for shell to hold chili.
- Note if you want meat into chili add the Mini Turkey Quinoa Meatballs to chili. Continue cooking for 15 minutes longer. I like to garnish finished chili topped with meatballs around sweet potato cup.
- Carefully dice sweet potatoes into bite size pieces. Then add the diced sweet potatoes as a garnishing.
- Place the baked sweet potato skin onto wide rim bowl, pour 1 cup of hot chili over skin, note if chili spills over no problem. Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese over chili. Then place a few shards of crisp Kale Chips to give extra crunchy texture and added green color. Place turkey quinoa meatballs around sweet potato.
This chili recipe can be made totally vegetarian by using vegetable stock for chicken stock and omitting the mini turkey meatball in recipe. In this will reduce calories of recipe and loose some protein. I made recipe with and without meatballs both are very good.
Try pouring vegetarian chili over tater tots and maybe even adds some Turkey Quinoa Meatball too.
Try garnishing with Kale Chips or thinly sliced jalapeño.
Squirt some fat free ranch dressing over chili for extra dimension to chili.
Substitute one can of red kidney beans for 1 cup of dry kidney beans. Be sure to drain and rinse the canned beans.