Bowling for Comfort Food

While the term “comfort food” may have a slightly different connotation for everyone, to me it means something hearty, filling, and satisfying. Unfortunately the rich, substantial nature of comfort food can also mean excessive amounts of calories, fat and other undesirable qualities. If you wish to fill your bowl with something indulgent and healthy, all it takes is a bit of effort and creativity.

279D0900Chili is definitely comfort food in my book — warm, robust, and fulfilling. With a vast choice of proteins, vegetables, and seasonings to make it your own, anyone who has a “signature” chili recipe often takes pride in it. Here is what makes mine worth coming back for seconds…

IMG_0269While canned ingredients and pre-packaged spice blends can be useful in terms of convenience, I find something very rewarding about using mostly fresh, raw ingredients for this recipe. Labor-saving elements can of course be substituted, but if you have the time, I recommend starting from scratch.

The ingredients I chose are all high-volume, allowing for a generous portion size. Beans, for example, are high in protein and fiber while being low in calories. Using a lean meat such as ground turkey breast instead of turkey thigh or beef also keeps the calories and saturated fat low. Diced fresh tomatoes add more volume than they would in the form of a canned sauce or paste.

The spiciness of this chili is fairly mild, allowing the other array of seasonings to shine through. Smoky cumin combined with the subtle sweetness of cinnamon and slight tanginess of lime juice create a memorable flavor experience.


This recipe yields one serving, but it can easily be multiplied for company or second helpings. Enjoy it plain, or mix and match any of the suggested extras for a versatile meal. As hearty and satisfying as it is, though, it is still light enough to save plenty of room for dessert.

Turkey Chili with Beans
g freehi prohi filow sugtot del


 Makes1 serving

Equipment: small saucepan; medium nonstick skillet

1/4 cup (36 grams) dry beans such as small red, pinto, or kidney
1 1/2 c cups (7 ounces) chopped fresh tomatoes, seeds removed
1/4 cup (1 ounce) chopped green bell pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
4 ounces ground turkey breast
2 tablespoons reduced sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce (see notes)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons dried minced onion
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
5 drops liquid stevia
1/8 teaspoon glucomannan powder

Optional additions:
8 ounce package shirataki noodles (highly recommended/see notes)
Gluten free rice crackers
Low fat shredded cheese
Chopped fresh onion
Additional chopped fresh herbs for garnish

Cook the beans; after rinsing and draining, add them along with the tomatoes, bell pepper, parsley, and chives to a small saucepan. 

Crumble the ground turkey into a medium nonstick skillet. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until no longer pink; add to the saucepan.

For the sauce, combine the broth, lime juice, soy sauce, mustard, minced onion, cumin, onion powder, cinnamon, oregano, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, ginger, and stevia in a small bowl. Whisk together until combined; add glucomannan and continue whisking vigorously to avoid clumping.

Pour the sauce into the pot and gently stir to combine all ingredients. Place the pot over medium heat until the chili just starts to simmer, then reduce to medium-low heat. Continue to simmer uncovered, stirring frequently until the tomatoes have significantly softened, approximately 15-20 minutes.

Immediately empty the chili into a bowl and serve with optional additions if desired.


  • Any other strongly flavored sauce such as Worcestershire sauce or liquid aminos can be used instead of soy sauce.
  • If you can get your hands on them, serving this chili on a bed of shirataki-style noodles (as photographed) is a great way to add more volume to the dish without any extra net calories. Be sure to dry-fry them first.

Nutrition Facts:
Per entire pot (without any additions) – 239 calories (9 from fat); 1g total fat (0g saturated fat); 70mg cholesterol; 954mg sodium; 38g total carbohydrate (21g dietary fiber, 7g sugar, 17g net carbs); 38g protein

Nutritional information provided by




8 thoughts on “Bowling for Comfort Food

Leave me a comment, and I will love you forever...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s