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Pumpkin Turkey Chili

I have so many thoughts. First, I was always hesitant to try pumpkin chili because it sounded gross. In my mind there was pumpkin pie mashed with meat and beans. My church and cooking gal pal Heather had it on her site, here, and wanted to see if I had any suggestions. I trust her cooking, so I figured it was worth a try. I followed her blueprint but added here and there as necessary. The end result floored me, not because it was so good (which it was) but because you literally cannot taste pumpkin – it just has a more creamy consistency (minus any dairy) which makes it pretty awesome. 

This makes a great big batch, which I love, because I can get another night’s dinner out of it (oh did you think I was just-so-excited about cooking nightly dinners? Silly).  It’s also gorgeously healthy. Fabulously, beautifully healthy. Bell peppers, garlic and onions, tomatoes, pumpkin (its a squash, crazy source of vitamins A and C), ground turkey (I used organic from Costco) for protein and a trio of beans (beans are the best).

As I said, the pumpkin flavor disappears, but if you’d like to have a touch of it, make the pumpkin cream to go on top. It’s just three ingredients and truth be told, I used Greek yogurt for mine. My kids gobbled this up (no cream for them, just chips and cheese) and my husband absolutely loved it. Thank you, Heather, for a wonderful recipe! Try mine and let me know your thoughts.

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Serves 8

1 1/2 lb. ground turkey

1 medium onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced

3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

2 tsp. dried oregano

1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin, divided

1 (15 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, strained

2 c. chicken broth

1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15 oz) can pinto or small white beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Juice of 1 lime

1/4 c. finely chopped cilantro

1/2 c. sour cream/Greek yogurt

Cilantro, corn chips or cheese (if desired)

1. Heat a dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat. Add meat and saute until no longer pink.

2. Remove from pot, leaving fat (if you used turkey breast, add 1 tbsp. olive oil to pan).

3. Add onion, peppers and garlic. Saute until softened, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add chili, cumin, salt, pepper and oregano. Stir and let cook, 2 minutes.

5. Remove 3 tbsp. pumpkin to a small bowl. Add remaining pumpkin and stir to combine.

6. Add tomatoes and chicken broth. Stir to combine.

7. Add beans and add meat back to pot. Stir to combine. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer about 30 minutes to meld flavors.

8. Meanwhile, add sour cream to pumpkin in small bowl. Stir until smoothly combined and add salt to taste.

9. Remove chili from heat and add lime juice and cilantro. Taste for salt. Serve, with cream on top along with cilantro, chips or cheese (if desired).

9 thoughts on “Pumpkin Turkey Chili

  1. Hi Becca! Intrigued to make this – I have a dutch oven that I’ve never used yet. Quick question: you have “2 tbsp. chili pepper” – is that chili powder? I’m pretty sure it is, since it’s added the same time as the other spices, but I wanted to double check first. Hope all is well!!

    1. Hi Christy! Thanks for pointing that out! YES its chili powder. Brain fart! Changed it in the recipe. I think you will love this! LMK if/when you make it!

  2. Hi Becca! I meant to tell you this morning but I made this the other night and it was AMAZING! Felt like a supermom for getting extra veggies past my kids! The boys wolfed it down and my oldest was dipping tortilla chips in the leftovers for a snack the next day! Quick question though… If I wanted to turn up the heat a bit for my hubby, would it be better to tweak the spices or just plop the sriracha sauce bottle down on the table for him? Bottom line is that this is definitely in my “make again soon” pile – Thank you for sharing!

    1. Yay Kim!!!! I love this! For heat in my chili I like to use ground cayenne… it doesn’t have any flavor (whereas the Sriracha has sugar, so, some flavor) so it’s just a nice, clean, heat. Let me know!

  3. I finally got around to making this with some of your tweaks. So good! I was in “pantry clean out” mode and did not have all the correct ingredients but it is a very forgiving chili! Thanks for giving this the Becca spin. Much better flavor than the original. OH, I used a can of butternut squash puree in place of the pumpkin and I would recommend this swap highly. Chili was a little sweeter but in a really good way : )

  4. Healthy food aisle of Giant with the other canned veggies. I bought it to make a quick soup but never got around to it. It was perfect here. They have canned sweet potatoes that I want to try….

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