Pumpkin Chili

I’ve been working on a pumpkin chili recipe for a while now.  Upon living with GERD (Acid Reflux) for several years, I find I can eat fresh tomatoes during the summer (sliced or in sauce) with no problem.  But, canned tomato products are usually a different story.  Then, I got the idea to substitute pumpkin. 

At first, I thought the flavor would be way too sweet, but that was just me picturing hot peppers on a piece of pumpkin pie!  Instead, I found the pumpkin to be very smooth tasting.  It’s definitely not a beef and bean chili, but it’s a nice recipe to add a little variety (and use of extra pumpkin that you may have hanging around the pantry). 
Recently, I’ve started to “beef” up this all-vegetable recipe by using tomato paste and a Stout beer to make the chili a little deeper in flavor and color.  I’ve made this a couple of times now and, though I consider it a work in progress, but as soon as the leaves start to hit the ground in October, I’m thinking about Pumpkin Chili.

I’ve also tried this with ground beef in it and it just didn’t work for me.  I found beef flavor to be a bit strong.  My guess is that is because of the absence of the heavy tomato content.  So, I’ve kept this very simple, loading it with black or pinto beans (made from dry beans-I hate using salty canned beans!).

I think this is a pretty good base recipe that anyone can personalize to their own liking.  It’s super healthy and, all by itself, is essentially a vegan dish.  Additional vegetables, such as corn can be added.  For those looking for more acidity, some diced tomatoes would work great too. 

Note: I personally go a little heavy on the chili powder and cumin.  I’m not a fan of adding oregano or too many other spices, so my preference is to go bold with that flavor.  So, if in doubt, add what you think is appropriate at the beginning, as you can always add more towards the end of the cooking!

Hope you enjoy! 


Pumpkin Chili

2 TBSP Olive Oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup diced red bell pepper

3 medium garlic cloves, chopped

2 habanero chili’s, diced

3 oz. tomato paste

12 oz. beer (I use a Stout)

12 oz. water

2 TBSP chili powder

1 TBSP cumin

1 tsp. salt

2, 15 oz. cans pumpkin

5 cups cooked Pinto or Black beans


Heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and peppers until tender and then add the garlic and continue for another minute.

With your spoon, clear a space on the bottom of the pot and add the tomato paste, stirring it for a couple of minutes and then incorporate with the sautéed vegetables.

Add the beer and water and bring to a slow, simmering boil.  

Add the chili powder, cumin and salt.

Add the pumpkin and simmer for 25-30 minutes.

Taste and adjust seasonings

Add the cooked beans and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.  Add a bit more water too thin out if is too thick. 

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