This post should really be called Pumpkin Chili Revisited, because it’s not technically a brand new recipe to the blog.
Back in 2011 I created a pumpkin chili that was absolutely delicious but looked like a dog’s breakfast in the photos I took of it. My photography skills were lacking at the time, but to my credit, bowls of brownish-orange coated lumps aren’t exactly the most photogenic subjects.
With this weekend being Halloween, I figured it’d be a perfect time to resurrect the recipe, make a few tweaks to improve the taste, and take some better pictures too.
This Pumpkin Chili has been one of my favourite fall dishes ever since I started this blog in 2010. It’s a bit of a cross between a stew and conventional chili, using a mixure of pumpkin puree and canned tomatoes as the base.
When it comes to the protein in the meal, I usually use kidney beans and lean ground turkey. However, if you want to keep it entirely plant-based, I’ve had great success with replacing the ground turkey with grated tempeh (same weight), or cooked chickpeas (a 15oz can). The tempeh version is my favourite because the texture most closely resembles ground turkey, and it does a great job at soaking in the flavour of the chili. If you’re trying to fool a meat eater into trying a 100% plant-based dinner, I’d definitely recommend using this option!
Now for the spice factor. Those of you who aren’t big on spicy food might be wondering, “just how hot is it?” Growing up in the Middle East, my dad and I loved spicy curries. The hotter, the better! My mum on the other hand, wasn’t a big fan of the fire. There were plenty of occasions where yogurt was needed to tame things down (which it does fabulously, by the way), and plenty of times where she just couldn’t handle it. So friends, I am very aware of how frustrating it can be when food gets too spicy!
Don’t you worry because this is not a 5-alarm type of chili. But it very nearly was. I’ve made it twice in the past month and the first time, I thought the jar of dark red spice in the drawer was chili powder. My old recipe called for 1-2 tsp, so I added 2 and continued cooking. Before taking the pot off the stove, I did a little taste test. There wasn’t even the faintest hint of spice. Hmmmmm. Perhaps I meant to type tablespoon instead of teaspoon? I added a bit more, gave it a stir, and still not much of a difference.
One tablespoon plus a teaspoon? Did I really use that much chili powder last time? Had mine gone off? Surely not – I’d only bought it a couple of months ago. Standing there in my kitchen very puzzled, it only took a few more seconds before I realized it was paprika I’d been adding. This friends, is why taste testing is SO important. You’ll be happy to know that on the second batch, I DID use chili powder (for realz that time) and can confirm that 1-2 tsp is the correct quantity. Paprika however, did make the first batch taste quite nice, adding an interesting je ne sais quoi of sorts, so I added it to the list of ingredients.
Ok enough – let’s get cooking!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Ingredients (6 servings, about 2 cups each)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 6 celery stalks, diced
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1-2 tsp chili powder (NOT cayenne pepper)
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 pound lean ground turkey or vegetarian alternative, such as grated tempeh)
- 2 large carrots, cut into rounds
- 1 bell pepper, any colour, chopped
- 1 can diced tomatoes with juices (about 2 1/2 cups)
- 1 can pure pumpkin (about 2 1/2 cups)
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
- 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, well rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large pot for 1 minute, then add the minced garlic, celery, paprika, chili powder and cumin. Stir occasionally until the onions begin to turn translucent, adding a little bit of water if needed so the pan doesn’t dry out.
After about 4 minutes, add the ground turkey, breaking it up with the back of a fork or flipper as it browns. Continue cooking and stirring constantly until the turkey is no longer pink, about 4 minutes. (Note: If using tempeh, eliminate this step and add the grated tempeh in along with the ingredients that follow.)
Toss in the carrots, bell pepper, tomatoes, pumpkin, kidney beans and half of the parsley. Stir well to combine, then place a lid on the pot, turn the heat to medium-low, and allow the chili to cook for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle the remaining parsley over the chili and remove the pan from the heat. Give it one last stir, then ladle into bowls and serve.
[Tweet “Fall in a bowl: Clean Eating-Approved Pumpkin Chili, two ways”]
So tell me…
- Are you doing anything to celebrate Halloween this year? Aside from eating this chili (obviously), I have a costumes-welcome potluck at work on Friday, which reminds me that I need to figure out an outfit. And on that note….
- Anybody have any super easy yet totally genius Halloween costume ideas?