Easy Instant Pot Turkey Zucchini Chili

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During the colder months, we all long for comforting dishes, and this turkey zucchini chili is a sure cure. It’s cooked in an Instant Pot, which helps to infuse the flavors, resulting in a rich and flavorful chili in under an hour. It’s an ideal choice for busy weeknights when time is limited.

A close up of turkey chili in a bowl with jalapeno slices on top

I always say that healthy eating doesn’t have to be bland. This turkey zucchini chili is the perfect example. It’s filled with lean ground turkey, and fresh veggies which creates a delicious combination of flavors.

The addition of vegetables not only enhances the taste but also provides essential vitamins and fiber. With every spoonful, you’ll experience delicious flavors and satisfying textures that everyone will love.

Why you will love this recipe

  • It’s a healthy recipe filled with wholesome ingredients such as fresh vegetables, beans and lean ground turkey.
  • Instant pot turkey zucchini chili is perfect for meal prep. Make a large batch and save the rest for future meals.
  • This chili is easy to make with simple and fresh ingredients.
Ingredients for turkey chili

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This is an overview of the ingredients and steps to make this recipe, scroll down for a printable recipe card with exact measurements and instructions.

Ingredients

🥄Equipment

How to make turkey zucchini chili

Prepare the ingredients: chop the vegetables into uniform-sized pieces. Measure the spices drain the beans, squeeze the lime juice and chop the cilantro. Set your electric pressure cooker to the saute setting.

ground turkey cooking in instant pot

STEP 1: Once hot, add the oil and swirl it around to be sure it covers the bottom of the pot. Let the oil heat up for about 30 seconds, and add the ground turkey; cook while breaking it up until the meat begins to turn brown.

STEP 2: Add all of the vegetables to the instant pot and continue to cook until they begin to soften.

Turkey in instant pot with vegetables

turkey in an instant pot with vegetables and spices

STEP 3: Cancel the saute function and stir in the spices.

STEP 4: Add the tomatoes and give them a gentle stir. Cover the pressure cooker and set it to cook on high for 10 minutes.

turkey chili in instant pot with tomaotes
turkey chili cooked in instant pot

STEP 5: Once the pressure cooking process is complete, slow-release for 10 to 15 minutes. Release the remaining pressure and stir in the beans, lime juice and fresh cilantro. Cover the pressure cooker loosely and set the heat to warm, serve once the beans are heated through which should take about five minutes.

The complete list of ingredients to make this instant pot chili recipe is above. Below are notes about some of the ingredients, along with ideas for substitutes.

Ground Turkey – Ground turkey is a flavorful and lean protein that cooks and browns quickly. Look for 85% to 90% lean ground turkey.

Ground turkey can be substituted with type of ground meat such as ground chicken, ground pork or ground beef.

Beans – You can use any type of beans in this chili recipe. We like to combine black beans and red kidney beans. Pinto beans, cannellini beans, or garbanzo beans taste great too.

Canned beans are the most convenient since they are already cooked, be sure to drain and rinse them before adding them to the chili. If you prefer to use dried beans, they need to be cooked before adding them to the chili.

Tomatoes – This recipe will work with fresh, canned diced, or crushed tomatoes. Look for low-sodium tomatoes, such as Muir Glen tomatoes.

If diced or crushed tomatoes aren’t available, they can be replaced with tomato sauce.

Zucchini – The delicate flavor of zucchini adds extra fiber, vitamins and minerals. It can be left out or replaced with an equal amount of diced yellow squash, butternut squash or any variety of your favorite squash.

Vegetables – You can use any variety of vegetables in this recipe, in addition to the squash. I enjoy adding a mix of bell peppers for their vibrant flavor. Carrots bring a touch of sweetness and texture. Feel free to include any of your favorite vegetables, such as corn, mushrooms, celery, or any other veggies you prefer.

Bell Peppers – You can use any variety of bell peppers, I like to use a red bell pepper for its sweet flavor or I will use a combination of green bell pepper and red bell pepper.

Chili Powder – There are several types of chili powder to choose from. If you prefer a milder-tasting chili, choose an American-style chili powder, which is usually labeled chili powder. If you prefer a spicier chili, try a blend of chili powder and chipotle chili powder or ancho chili powder and adjust to your taste.

Jalapeno pepper – If you don’t have jalapeno peppers, you can add heat to the chili with cayenne pepper. Start with an 1/8 of a teaspoon and add gradually to adjust the heat to your preference.

Cilantro – f you don’t like cilantro you can leave it out of this recipe.

Turkey chili serving suggestions

Serve ground turkey chili with your favorite chili toppings such as green onion, sliced jalapeno peppers, shredded cheddar cheese, avocado slices, guacamole, corn chips, tortilla chips, cornbread, Greek yogurt, or sour cream.

For a complete meal presentation, add a simple salad on the side such as a chopped salad, or arugula salad and don’t forget to make your favorite cornbread recipe.

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How to Store and reheat leftover chili

Chili most definitely tastes better the next day, so plan on leftovers. Once the chili has reached room temperature, place it in an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to five days. Alternatively, you can freeze the leftovers in portioned freezer-safe containers for up to three months. When ready to enjoy, thaw the chili overnight in the refrigerator and reheat it over low heat on the stove or in the microwave.

a bowl of turkey chili with a spoon in it with jalapeno slices on top

What to do with chili leftovers

Chili is one of those foods that can be re-purposed in so many ways.  Here are a few ideas for using up this Instant Pot Chili:

Healthy turkey chili recipe variations

Mild Turkey Chili – Leave out the jalapeno peppers or substitute them with a milder pepper such as a poblano pepper.

Sweet and Spicy Chili – Add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and a tablespoon of honey to taste.

Vegetarian chili – Double up on the amount of vegetables and add an extra cup of beans for veggie chili.

Sweet potato turkey chili – Replace zucchini with diced sweet potatoes and use black beans and a dash of cinnamon.

Tips

  • Don’t overcrowd the instant pot during the saute process. If your Instant pot is small, saute in batches.
  • Add the spices to the meat before adding the liquid, it helps to lock in the flavor.
  • Be sure to add the beans after the pressure cooking process to avoid soggy beans.
  • Adjust the heat in your chili by adding an acidic ingredient such as lemon or lime juice to tone down the heat.
  • Cook time for this recipe is 10 minutes, but keep in mind that it takes about 10 to 15 minutes for the pressure cooker to reach pressure.

Can I make Instant Pot turkey zucchini chili on top of the stove?

Yes, making stove top chili is very similar to the pressure cooker method. The only difference is that once the ingredients are browned, the chili cooks slowly on top of the stove for at least an hour.

Here’s how: Preheat a large dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat and brown the meat. Reduce to medium heat and add the vegetables and cook for a few minutes, add the spices, tomatoes, and beans. Reduce the heat to low heat; cover the pot, and cook slowly for at least one hour.  Stir in the cilantro and serve it with a splash of lime juice and your favorite toppings.

Can I make Instant Pot Chili in a slow cooker?

You can easily transform this recipe to a slow cooker recipe. Cook the meat on top of the stove in a skillet. Once it’s cooked, add it with the remaining ingredients, except for the beans to the crock pot and cook on low heat for at least 4 hours. This method is a great way to serve chili to a crowd.

Can I make this chili without beans?

Yes, you can make this recipe without beans, simply omit them or add more veggies or meat.

Have you tried these healthy chili recipes?

Do you like this recipe?

Please leave a comment and a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating below!

a bowl of turkey chili with a spoon in it with jalapeno slices on top

Easy Pressure Cooker Turkey Chili

Instant Pot turkey chili is made with lean ground turkey, beans and fresh vegetables. It's spicy, fresh and delicious, and can be made in less than an hour.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Click on serving size to scale this recipe

Course: Dinner Recipes
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Turkey Zucchini Chili
Servings: 6
Calories: 294kcal
Author: Anne
Scale this Recipe 6

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 pound ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 bell peppers any color, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper – chopped
  • 1/2 small zucchini diced or shredded
  • 1 carrot diced or shredded
  • 2 cups chopped or diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 1/2 cups beans any variety
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh squeezed lime juice

Instructions

  • Prepare the Ingredients: chop up the vegetables, measure the spices, drain the beans, squeeze the lime juice and cilantro.
  • Heat the pressure cooker on saute setting.
  • Once the pressure cooker is hot, add the olive oil; swirl it around the instant pot to make sure the bottom of the instant pot is coated with oil, and add the turkey.
  • Cook until the turkey is almost cooked through; add the vegetables, cook for 3 to 5 minutes and add the onion, peppers, zucchini, carrot and garlic. Cook until the vegetables begin to turn soft.
  • Cancel the saute function and stir in the spices.
  • Add the tomatoes and give them a gentle stir. Cover the pressure cooker and set it to cook high for 10 minutes.
  • Once the pressure cooking process is complete, slow-release for 10 minutes longer. Carefully manual release the remaining pressure.
  • Stir in the beans, chopped cilantro and lime juice. Cover the cooker loosely and set the heat to warm. Serve once the beans are heated through.

Video

Notes

Serve it with your favorite toppings such as:
Shredded cheese, lettuce avocado slices, guacamole, tortilla chips, cornbread, Greek yogurt or sour cream
Substitutes:
Turkey can be replaced with an equal amount of ground chicken.
American chili powder can be replaced with chipotle chili powder or ancho chili powder.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Freeze it for up to three months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 294kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 802mg | Potassium: 1223mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 7196IU | Vitamin C: 69mg | Calcium: 163mg | Iron: 7mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and can vary based on cooking methods and ingredients used

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