Healthy Recipe: Turkey-Lentil Chili with Cornbread Biscuits

Recipe by Ivy Manning | Photo by Erin Kunkel

This one-pot meal features a protein-packed chili, with whole-grain biscuits, baked right on top. A can of lentils is so easy to crack open, and they offer earthy flavor and delicate texture. But kidney or black beans would work just as well.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1½ lb (750 g) lean ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
¼ cup (1 oz/30 g) chili powder, no salt added
1 can (15 oz/470 g) diced, fire-roasted tomatoes, no salt added
1½ cups (12 fl oz/375 ml) chicken broth, reduced sodium
1 can (15 oz/470 g) lentils, rinsed and drained
1 cup (6 oz/185 g) frozen corn

For the biscuit topping:

¾ cup (4 oz/125 g) whole-wheat pastry flour
¼ cup (2 oz/60 g) fine yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch (6-mm) pieces
⅓ cup (3 fl oz/80 ml) plus 1 tablespoon low-fat buttermilk
½ jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). In a large cast-iron skillet or ovenproof sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the turkey and cook, breaking it up with a spatula, until browned, about 8 minutes. (Leave the turkey in large, bite-size chunks for the best texture.) Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Return the pan to the heat, and add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté until tender, 8 minutes. Add the chili powder and stir until fragrant, 5 seconds. Return the turkey to the pan, along with the tomatoes and their juices, and the chicken broth, lentils, corn, and ½ teaspoon salt. Simmer to let the flavors combine, 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon salt.  Add the butter and rub it into the flour mixture with your fingertips until the butter is in tiny pieces. Add the buttermilk and jalapeño, if using, and toss with a fork just until the dough begins to come together. (Do not overmix.) Gather up the dough with your hands and knead it gently 2 or 3 times to bind. Divide the dough into 9 to 12 pieces and pat them into biscuits about ½-inch (12-mm) thick.

Place the biscuits on top of the chili, spacing them about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart (the biscuits will expand during baking). Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the biscuits are golden brown, and a knife inserted in the center of the largest biscuit comes out clean, 30 minutes.

Spoon the chili and biscuits into bowls and serve warm.  

Makes 6 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories 450
Protein 31 g
Total fat 21 g
Saturated fat 7 g
Carbs 35 g
Fiber 9 g
Total sugars 7 g
Added sugars 0 g
Sodium 600 mg

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