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Healthy Pumpkin Chili Recipe

This Healthy Pumpkin Chili is an autumn favorite. It’s loaded with healthful ingredients and big bold flavors. Your family will thank you for serving comfort in a bowl.

pumpkin chili with cheese in a bowl.

What is Pumpkin Chili?

Before you raise a brow because you saw pumpkin chili, let me reassure you that it’s not nearly as quirky as it sounds. Fact: this chili tastes a lot like our all-time favorite hearty chili, except we’ve subtly seasoned it with fall flavors that amp up the autumn vibes. You won’t have to cut open any pumpkins. Instead, you’ll simply add pumpkin spice and pumpkin puree to an amazing pot of chili. You’ll be rewarded with comforting bowls of savory, satisfying chili that tastes extraordinary.

Why This Recipe Stands Out

  • You’ll bring fall flavors into your home by simply adding pumpkin spice and pumpkin puree to an incredible chili recipe.
  • No fancy cookware is needed; just a good old large pot or Dutch oven will do.
  • You’ll be able to serve up comforting bowls of homemade chili in less than 1 hour.
  • This pumpkin chili is deliciously healthy, with lean protein and plenty of vegetables your family will actually devour.
  • You can make pumpkin chili meatless, if you’d like.
  • This chili recipe is perfectly suited for meal prep; make a big batch on Sunday and enjoy it throughout the week.
pumpkin chili in a bowl.

Key Ingredients

  • Pumpkin Puree: Sure, you already love it in pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie. But pumpkin chili? Nobody will guess how sneaky you were. Its main role in this recipe is to thicken the chili and provide an extra boost of nutrition. 
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice: A touch of fall spices give this chili recipe a delicious autumn vibe.
  • Aromatics: We are never shy about onions and garlic. In fact, we roast entire heads of garlic on the regular.
  • Seasonings: Chili powder, coriander, and cumin all play key roles in imparting an earthy, succulent flavor to this chili.
  • Protein: We use ground turkey, but feel free to use ground beef or ground sausage. Black beans are a great source of protein here as well.
  • Broth: High quality chicken stock is recommended for full flavor, but you can also make it meatless with vegetable broth.
  • Vegetables: Plenty of veggies round out this homemade chili, including bell peppers, tomato paste, and fire roasted tomatoes.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Go Vegan: Make your pumpkin chili vegetarian or vegan by using vegetable broth and replacing the meat with more beans and/or vegan sausage crumbles.
  • Vary the Vegetables: Use any mixture of veggies, including corn, diced carrots, and fresh tomatoes. s
  • Vary the Protein: Use any combination of ground turkey, ground beef, ground sausage, or ground chicken.
  • Garnishes: We love a good sprinkling of cheddar cheese on top, but feel free to use any variety of cheese and include sour cream or avocado slices on top.
pumpkin chili in a pot.

Step By Step Instructions

  1. In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil until hot. Add onion and garlic, stirring until fragrant. Add sugar, chili powder, cumin, pumpkin pie spice, oregano, and coriander.
  2. Add ground turkey to pot and sprinkle 1 tsp salt over it; cook/stir to break up into small pieces. When turkey is cooked through, add tomato paste.
  3. Add bell peppers, fire-roasted tomatoes with juices, and broth. Scrape bottom of pan while stirring. Bring chili to a simmer; simmer covered for 20 minutes. Add beans and pumpkin puree. Bring chili back to a simmer for 15-20 min or until heated through.
  4. Remove from heat. Add additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve warm, with shredded cheddar cheese or your choice of garnishes.

Commonly Asked Questions

What does pumpkin add to chili?

Pumpkin adds a subtle sweetness and creaminess to chili. It also contributes to the thickness and richness of the chili, making it a bit heartier.

Can I use fresh pumpkin instead of canned puree?

Yes, you can use fresh pumpkin puree if you prefer. Simply roast and puree fresh pumpkin or use canned pumpkin puree as a convenient alternative.

Is pumpkin chili sweet?

Pumpkin chili is not noticeably sweet at all. Any subtle sweetness is well balanced by the savory flavors of the chili spices, meat, and other ingredients.

Can I make pumpkin chili vegetarian or vegan?

Yes, you can make vegetarian or vegan pumpkin chili by using plant-based proteins like tofu or tempeh, vegetable broth, and omitting any animal products like meat or dairy-based toppings.

Can I freeze pumpkin chili?

Yes, pumpkin chili freezes well. Allow it to cool, then store it in airtight containers or freezer bags. Thaw it in the fridge a couple of nights before you want to reheat and serve it.

Is pumpkin chili a healthy meal option?

Pumpkin chili can be a nutritious option, especially if you use lean meat or opt for a vegetarian version. It’s a good source of fiber, vitamins, and protein. Drain out any fat from browned meats.

What to serve with pumpkin chili?

We love serving any chili recipe with Sweet Honey Cornbread or Sweet Corn Muffins. For the greens, we highly recommend Quinoa Sweet Potato Salad with Maple Vinaigrette or Kale Brussel Sprouts Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing.

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

pumpkin chili with cheese in a bowl.

Healthy Pumpkin Chili Recipe

4.86 from 42 ratings
This Healthy Fall Pumpkin Chili is an autumn favorite. It’s loaded with healthful ingredients and big bold flavors. Comforting, cozy, and deliciously savory.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 10
Author: Amy Dong

Ingredients  

Optional Garnishes

  • shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado slices, chopped chives

Instructions

  • In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil until hot. Add onion and garlic, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add sugar, chili powder, cumin, pumpkin pie spice, oregano, and coriander. Stir to combine, 10 seconds.
  • Add ground turkey to pot and sprinkle 1 tsp salt over it; cook/stir to break up into small pieces. When turkey is cooked through, add tomato paste and stir 30 seconds.
  • Add bell peppers, fire-roasted tomatoes with juices, and broth. Scrape bottom of pan while stirring. Bring chili to a simmer; simmer covered for 20 minutes. Add beans and pumpkin puree. Bring chili back to a simmer for 15-20 min or until heated through.
  • Remove from heat. Add additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve warm, with shredded cheddar cheese if desired.

Notes

  • Chili keeps well; simply cover and chill in fridge. Reheat by bringing back to simmer on stovetop.
  • Make it meatless by using veggie broth and omitting turkey; add more beans or use vegan sausage crumbles.
  • If preferred, use ground beef or ground sausage. If using sausage that is seasoned, reduce amount of salt used. 
  • Serve pumpkin chili with Sweet Honey Cornbread and Quinoa Sweet Potato Salad with Maple Vinaigrette for an amazing meal. 
  • If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating – we ❤️ hearing from you! 

Nutrition (per serving)

Serving: 1g | Calories: 396kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 257mg | Potassium: 1399mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2661IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 152mg | Iron: 6mg
Course: Dinner, Main
Cuisine: Amerian
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Low Fat, Low Lactose
Method: dutch oven, Stovetop

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Recipe Rating




55 comments

    • Kathleen

    Has anyone made this without the turkey?

    • Barbara

    The word pumpkin made me look at the recipe. Always trying to find recipes that use it. What about using ground pork instead of turkey? Can’t leave well enough alone!

      • Amy Dong

      You can absolutely use ground pork as well!

    • Tiffany

    This should say diced tomatoes! Not crushed!

      • Amy Dong

      We used fire-roasted tomatoes. Enjoy!

    • Kristina

    Has anyone made this in the crockpot?

      • Amy Dong

      This would work well in a Crockpot – just brown the meat with onions/garlic first. Then, combine all ingredients in Crockpot and cook on Low 6-7 hours.

    • Greer
    • 5 stars

    This spice combination can’t be beat!! I had grown so tired of the traditional chili spice combination–now, yours is all I make! Thanks for being creative!

      • Amy Dong

      Thank you!

    • Logan
    • 5 stars

    Besides Kevin Malone’s chili….this is the most delicious chili I have ever made and eaten. Your recipe/creation is unreal, and I have been sharing with friends and family. Thank you for making our taste buds and stomachs happy and more than satisfied!

      • chewoutloud

      That’s so great to hear, Logan. Yay!

    • Logan
    • 5 stars

    Besides Kevin Malone’s chili….this is the most delicious chili I have ever made and eaten. Your recipe/creation is unreal, and I have been sharing with friends and family. Thank you for making our taste buds and stomachs happy and more than satisfied!

      • Amy Dong

      Thank you so much!

    • Dustin
    • 5 stars

    This was so delicious. Definitely will be making again and again throughout fall and winter. Thank you!

      • chewoutloud

      Super happy you all loved it, Dustin! 🙂

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