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Turkey & Sweetpotato Chili

RECIPE DEVELOPED BY CHEF VIVIAN HOWARD IN PARTNERSHIP WITH NCSPC In this recipe, the sweetpotatoes stand in for beans and add a pleasing sweetness to an earthy, deceptively rich chili. Serve with sliced avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips or cilantro if you like. Photo Credit: Juli Leonard
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  • 1 pound ground turkey, avoid ground turkey breast for this recipe. It’s too lean.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large sweetpotato, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 large chipotle pepper in adobo, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 20 turns of the pepper mill, or 1 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon salt, divided
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 4 cups chicken stock


  • In a 4-6 quart Dutch oven, brown the turkey meat in the olive oil over medium high heat. Remove the turkey with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Lower the heat slightly and add the onions, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sweat until the onions are translucent and add the spices. Toast, stirring frequently for about 1 minute.
  • Stir in the tomato paste and the minced chipotle. Add the turkey back to the pot as well as the chicken stock. Bring it up to a simmer and add the sweetpotatoes.
  • Cover and cook at a brisk simmer for about an hour. Check the sweetpotatoes periodically, you want them to crush easily under pressure from a wooden spoon but not completely dissolve into the chili. Serve warm.
  • Number of servings (yield): 4