Turkey Chili with Zucchini: #54 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

We used to have a game when I was a kid: if you could have one last meal before you died, what would it be? My answer was always a bowl of homemade chili. It’s still one of my favorite dinners on a day that’s either cold outside or needs cheering up inside. 

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($16.50 total for a very big pot of chili!)

2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
4 cloves garlic, minced – $0.15
1-2 tbsp chili powder, to taste – $1.40
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce – $0.10
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb organic ground turkey – $5.69
1 can crushed tomatoes with basil – $1.59
3 large zucchini, sliced – $3.49
3 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed – $2.97
3 cups cooked rice – $0.36


1. Gather all your ingredients. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5-7 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until it begins to turn golden, then mix in the chili powder as well as salt and pepper to taste. 

2. Add the ground turkey and stir to mix well and start to cook the meat, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced zucchini next. Blend the can of crushed tomatoes in the blender for extra smoothness, then add to the pot as well as the beans and the Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium low, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally (you can simmer longer if you have time, up to 1-2 hours).

3. When it’s all nicely coming together and you’ve checked the taste (add more salt, some sugar, some vinegar, or more chili powder if needed), mix in the cooked rice and serve. This pot lasted us for two dinners, including going back for second helpings.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 17/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

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