Turkey, Barley and White Bean Chili

Turkey, Barley and White Bean Chili

It’s lunch week folks. Yes, you heard me. In our effort to deliver more ideas on one topic, we’ve decided to have some theme weeks. You can look forward to “Soup Week as well as Dessert Week in the near future. The 20-somethings that loaded bars last week for Toronto’s Beer Week, I’m assuming, would find “Lunch Week” a bit of a let down. But if you’ve got to pack them day in and day out for school, Lunch Week rates right up there with “Vacation Week” and “Sleep Away Camp Week.”

This first recipe makes a healthy, easy lunch full of lean protien and fiber, but it has a long life. It can begin as your dinner one night (I serve it over spelt bread with a dollop of plain yogurt on top) and follow as a nice, warm lunch the next day with crackers. Or you can go the sloppy joe route and fill a whole grain bun with it and grate some cheddar on top.


photo by Maya Visnyei

Turkey, Barley and White Bean Chili


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 stick of celery, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 3/4 pound 99% fat free organic ground turkey
  • 1 8-ounce can of low sodium, chicken stock
  • 1 15-ounce can of white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup of barley
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons of low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt


Heat oil in a large Dutch oven.

Add onion, celery and garlic.

Cook for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.

Put the turkey into the pan, breaking apart with a wooden spoon.

Cook for about 5 minutes or until no longer pink.

Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt.

Add in chicken stock, carrots and barley.

Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add beans, mix well and cook on low heat for a further 10 minutes.

Serve over your favorite bread with a dollop of fat-free sour cream or yogurt on top.

On this occasion, I couldn’t coax Scarlett into making this meal with me because her grandparents were in town. There were too many puzzles and games to play with them. We had it one night for dinner over a slice of spelt bread (I always use cookie cutters on the bread to make it look more fun). For the adult portions, I added a bit of hot sauce to give it more flavor. The next day, we packed it in Scarlett’s thermos. Along side some whole grain crackers, apple chunks and some baby bel cheese, I knew she was guaranteed a good lunch.

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  1. Anonymous
    September 29, 18:49 Reply

    I walked into my friend's house yesterday and she was making this. Her laptop on counter with SPC up. The house smelled so good, I am making it today.

  2. Ceri
    September 29, 18:54 Reply

    Dear Anon,
    Thanks for your sweet note. Laura and I love the idea that we're in real kitchens! It's amazing. Hope it worked out for you, too.

  3. Anonymous
    October 01, 00:36 Reply

    Hi Anonymous, Thank you so much for your note. You made our week! We hope your chili came out great. Laura

  4. michelle
    November 22, 19:55 Reply

    Great recipe–must try this soon! Although the title says “Tuna” instead of “Turkey”…that confused me a bit. Love your site.

  5. Susan
    September 06, 09:23 Reply

    typo in the title … I was initially grossed out when I read ‘tuna’, but happier when i saw that it was actually ‘turkey’. 🙂

  6. MJ
    November 14, 02:26 Reply

    I was looking for a turkey chili recipe online today and was thrilled to find a recipe that didn’t require that I go to a grocery store – I had everything in my cupboards, except white beans. I substituted chickpeas. In serving the chili, I topped the bowls with some shredded cheese for my kids. Quick, easy, nutritious and everyone loved it – especially my kids. Now school lunches are already made for tomorrow. Thanks so much!

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