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Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash & Apples


I’m starting to go back and revisit some of my early recipes, the ones I posted in my toddler stages of blogging, with super-up-close photos (what was I thinking?) and plenty of stories of life with an actual toddler. This was one of the first, posted back in 2009, and if you look back on it, I was all HOW CAN IT POSSIBLY BE OCTOBER? Which I literally said to someone ten minutes ago about it already being almost October.

It’s one of those recipes people regularly tell me has become part of their regular repertoire, and so I thought it deserved a do-over.


With turkey, winter squash, tomatoes and apples, can you imagine cramming more fall into one bowl? Back in ’09 I made this in the slow cooker, but nowadays I prefer the stovetop – either will do. (You’ll need less liquid overall in the slow cooker, since it’s all contained and won’t cook off.) And while you could use any kind of winter squash, butternut are easiest to handle – and peel. As with most chili recipes, it tastes even better after some time in the fridge, so this is the sort of thing to pick when you want to make something ahead of time to have ready for busy days, freeze or bring someone who’s sick/busy/having babies.

Today, as the rain threatened to turn into slush, I was glad to have a pot bubbling on the stove. And I embrace any opportunity to eat a giant glop of sour cream.


Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash & Apples

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September 20, 2016


canola or olive oil, for cooking

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

1-2 celery stalks, chopped

1 lb (454 g) ground turkey

1/4-1/2 cup chopped cilantro

2-4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp cumin

salt and freshly ground pepper

2-3 cups chicken stock

1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced

1 large tart apple, diced

1 14 oz (398 mL) can diced or crushed tomatoes

1 14 oz (398 mL) can coconut milk

1 19 oz (540 mL) can black beans, drained


1Set a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add a generous drizzle of oil. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for 4-5 minutes, until starting to soften. Add the turkey and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink. Add the cilantro (if you like, save some of the leaves for garnish), garlic, chili powder, cumin, and some salt and pepper and cook for another minute.

2Add the stock, squash, apple, tomatoes, coconut milk and black beans. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30-45 minutes, until the squash is tender and the chili has thickened. Season with more salt, if it needs it. Serve right away or cool and refrigerate overnight, then reheat the next day. Serves 6.


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18 comments on “Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash & Apples

  1. Carolyn
    September 22, 2016 at 9:39 am

    Julie – I’m so glad you reposted this recipe. It’s one of my all time fav’s from your site and it gets made every year around this time. I love the crockpot version because it’s so easy. I use left over cooked turkey for it (in fact I buy a slightly larger turkey than I need, so there are leftovers expressly for this recipe.) Using ground turkey means I won’t need to plan ahead so much.

    • Julie
      September 22, 2016 at 9:06 pm

      Great idea – this would be perfect for turkey leftovers!

  2. Maria
    October 11, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Hi! Can’t wait to try this! Can you suggest a replacement for coconut milk? It isn’t something I have on hand generally.

  3. Anonymous
    October 17, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    I made this tonight! Delish!

  4. Anonymous
    November 26, 2016 at 7:25 am

    This was absolutely delish! I topped it with Greek yogurt and avocado. I will definitely be making this again.

    • Julie
      November 28, 2016 at 7:20 am

      Ooh yes! Avocado would be delicious with this!

  5. Fay
    July 31, 2017 at 8:43 am

    We made this the other night and it was a terrible experience. The last thing I wanted to do after a hard day at work was an hour of prep work for this dish. An hour. Peeling and dicing a butternut squash is not an easy task in itself. About 10 minutes before it was done, there was so much liquid I had to remove at least 2 cups with a spoon so it wouldn’t be so soupy. And I only used half the can of coconut milk. The recipe calls for 2-3 cups stock. That’s a big variation.
    Tasty but definitely not worth it. Obviously won’t make this again.

    • Julie
      July 31, 2017 at 7:05 pm

      So sorry to hear it Fay!

      • Fay
        July 31, 2017 at 7:45 pm

        It’s totally fine Julie. The black bean feta taco recipe completely made up for it.

      • Julie
        August 2, 2017 at 3:25 pm

        Glad to hear it!

  6. Maureen
    September 30, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Would this freeze well?

    • Julie
      October 5, 2017 at 4:13 pm

      Yes, absolutely!

  7. Janice Dixon
    September 30, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    This is amazing but I wanted to note that we usually make it with chickpeas and I like the texture and taste better than the black beans in this recipe.

  8. Diana
    October 11, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    Delicious recipe! I had no coconut milk so used almond milk and it was very tasty; will certainly make again

    • Julie
      October 15, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      Great to hear!

  9. Merla
    November 3, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Going to make this today but wondering about the comment that there is too much liquid; should the amount be reduced?

    • Julie
      November 6, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      You could always reduce the liquid and add more if it seems too thick.

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