Turkey and White Bean Chilli 

Somi Igbene PhD ANutrMay 26, 2022

Are you trying to cut down your red meat intake but still want to enjoy classic recipes? Then you will love my turkey and white bean chilli; it’s a variation of the traditional chilli with red meat, but lower in saturated fat, also rich in protein and bursting with flavour. 

Recent nutritional guidelines recommend limiting red meat intake because observational studies link it to a higher risk of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes (Wolk, 2017). However, it is crucial to note that no single food is ever the cause of disease. Instead, your overall diet or dietary pattern influences disease (Jayedi et al., 2020). 

We still need more evidence from randomised controlled trials and meta-analyses to back these claims, mainly because humans have evolved eating meat (Leroy & Cofnas, 2020). While we await more evidence, it is wise to avoid processed meat and eat moderate quantities of high-quality red meat if you include it in your diet.

Red meat may be controversial, but white meat – fish and poultry – are less so from a health perspective; research links them to a lower risk of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Legumes – beans, peas, and lentils – are also associated with a lower risk of diabetes because of their high fibre and protein content. A recent study even showed that increasing legume intake by up to 127g daily as part of a healthy DASH diet can further lower blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes

And that’s why this turkey and white bean chilli is an excellent addition to your recipe collection! Besides being delicious, it combines white meat and beans – two fantastic protein sources with evidence for lowering diabetes risk and regulating blood sugar. 

Before I share the recipe, let’s explore the

Nutritional Highlights of Turkey and White Bean Chilli

With an estimated glycaemic index (GI) of 39, this meal is considered low-GI, meaning it will digest and release sugar into your bloodstream slowly. It is low in saturated fat and rich in fibre, both of which help to regulate cholesterol. This meal is also rich in several essential nutrients, including:

Iron: You need iron to make haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Many women of childbearing are iron deficient, and many experience symptoms such as tiredness and brain fog. 

This meal is an excellent source of iron, providing 5.1 mg per serving or 36% of the recommended daily intake (RI). Please note that excess iron intake (usually from supplements) is linked to a higher risk of diabetes (Simcox & McClain, 2013). 

Potassium: You need potassium for many of your body’s functions, including muscle movement, blood pressure regulation and nerve signalling. A low potassium intake can increase blood pressure and cause muscle weakness, tiredness, and constipation. It is also Low linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (Ekmekcioglu et al., 2016). 

This meal is an excellent potassium source, providing 1247 mg per serving or 62% RDI.

Magnesium: Magnesium is a part of over 300 proteins in your body. You need magnesium to regulate muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels and to make protein, bone and DNA. Low magnesium intakes have been linked to a higher risk of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. 

This meal is an excellent magnesium source, providing 105 mg per serving or 28% RDI.  

Vitamin A: Vitamin-A is a fat-soluble vitamin crucial for normal vision, immunity, reproduction, growth, and development. It is also vital for the proper functioning of the heart and lungs. A 2017 study found that vitamin A improves the functioning of beta (insulin-producing) cells in the pancreas, while an absence of vitamin A increases inflammation in these cells (Amisten et al., 2017). 

This meal is an excellent vitamin A (carotenoid) source, providing 236 mcg per serving or 29% RDI

Folates: Folate is a B-vitamin that your body needs to make DNA and other genetic material. Although more evidence is needed, current studies show that folate regulates blood sugar and reduces insulin resistance (Lind et al., 2019).

This meal is an excellent folate source, providing 81 mcg per serving or 20% RDI. 

How to Cook Turkey and White Bean Chilli

Ingredients

80g basmati rice

1 large shallot, finely chopped

1 large garlic clove, finely chopped

1 medium chilli, finely chopped

1 chicken stock cube

A large handful of coriander, roughly chopped with stalks and leaves, separated

3 tbsp tomato puree

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp chipotle chilli paste

400g tin cannellini beans, drained

200g turkey mince

4 tablespoons cooked peas (optional)

1 tsp olive oil 

Directions

Cook the rice according to the instructions on the packaging, replacing water with vegetable or chicken broth for extra flavour if you wish, then set aside. 

While the rice cooks, heat a medium-sized saucepan for 30 seconds, and add olive oil, cumin, oregano, paprika, chopped shallots and turkey mince—Fry for five minutes, stirring frequently.

Add garlic, coriander stalks, tomato paste, chilli, cannellini beans, chipotle paste and chicken stock cube. Stir thoroughly, then add around one cup of water. Bring to the boil, then cook on a simmer for 15 minutes until the beans are tender and the chilli is thick and glossy. Loosen with water or chicken broth if it is too thick.

Divide rice between two bowls, then spoon turkey chilli over the top. Top with cooked peas (if using), then garnish with chopped coriander leaves and a turn of black pepper. 

Don’t eat meat? No problem!

Simply leave out or replace turkey mince with scrambled tofu or soya mince and chicken stock cube with a vegetable option to make this vegan.

Print
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Turkey and White Bean Chilli 

  • Author: Somi Igbene PhD ANutr
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2

Description

A variation of the classic red chilli with beef, this turkey and white bean chilli is just as flavourful but lower in saturated fat and rich in protein.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 80g basmati rice
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 medium chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • A large handful of coriander, roughly chopped with stalks and leaves, separated
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chipotle chilli paste
  • 400g tin cannellini beans, drained

Instructions

Cook the rice according to the instructions on the packaging, replacing water with vegetable or chicken broth for extra flavour if you wish, then set aside.

While the rice cooks, heat a medium-sized saucepan for 30 seconds, and add olive oil, cumin, oregano, paprika, chopped shallots and turkey mince—Fry for five minutes, stirring frequently.

Add garlic, coriander stalks, tomato paste, chilli, cannellini beans, chipotle paste and chicken stock cube. Stir thoroughly, then add around one cup of water. Bring to the boil, then cook on a simmer for 15 minutes until the beans are tender and the chilli is thick and glossy. Loosen with water or chicken broth if it is too thick.

Divide rice between two bowls, then spoon turkey chilli over the top. Top with cooked peas (if using), then garnish with chopped coriander leaves and a turn of black pepper.


Notes

Simply leave out or replace turkey mince with scrambled tofu or soya mince and chicken stock cube with a vegetable option to make this vegan.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: Per serving
  • Calories: 433
  • Sugar: 6.6g
  • Sodium: 1232mg
  • Fat: 6.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.7g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 4.7g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 54g
  • Fiber: 9.7g
  • Protein: 38.5g
  • Cholesterol: 58mg

Keywords: Turkey, Cannellini beans, Chilli

REFERENCES

  1. Wolk, A. (2017) Potential health hazards of eating red meat. Journal of Internal Medicine, 281(12): 106-122. 
  2. Jayedi, A., Soltani, S., Abdolshahi, A., & Shab-Bidar, S. (2020) Healthy and unhealthy dietary patterns and the risk of chronic disease: an umbrella review of meta-analyses of prospective cohort studies. British Journal of Nutrition, 124(11): 1133-1144. 
  3. Leroy, F & Cofnas, N. (2020) Should dietary guidelines recommend low red meat intake? Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 60(16): 2763-2772. 
  4. Simcox, J.A., & McClain, D.A. (2013) Iron and diabetes risk. Cell Metabolism, 17(3): 329-41. 
  5. Ekmekcioglu, C., Elmadfa, I., Meyer, A.L., & Moeslinger, T. (2016) The role of dietary potassium in hypertension and diabetes. Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry, 72(1): 93-106. 
  6. Amisten, S., Al-Amily, I.M., Soni, A., Hawkes, R., Atanes, P., Persaud, S.J., Rorsman, P., & Salehi, A. (2017) Anti-diabetic action of all-trans retinoic acid and the orphan G protein coupled receptor GPRC5C in pancreatic B-cells. Endocrine Journal, 64(3): 325. 
  7. Lind, M.V., Lauritzen, L., Kristensen, M., Ross, A.B., & Eriksen, J.N. (2019) Effect of folate supplementation on insulin sensitivity and type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 109(1): 29-42. 

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