Pumpkin chili recipe

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

I've got a pile of pie pumpkins on my dining room floor waiting for me to make pumpkin butter, which I will then use to make pumpkin bread. As usual, I bought twice as many pumpkins as I needed, so this recipe for pumpkin chili came at exactly the right time.
I love chili, but after years of making vegetarian chili, I'm still looking for the recipe that I will keep going back to. This might turn out to be the recipe I've been looking for. You can serve it as soon as the pumpkin and turnips are cooked through, which takes about an hour, but if you have the chance to let it cook longer, it makes a difference. It was really good the day I made it, and it was even better the next day. It's not a spicy dish at all, so you could always add some hot peppers to it if you like your chili hot. I left the corn out because I find random bits of corn in my chili a bit annoying, but otherwise I made it exactly as written.
This made a huge pot, even when I cut the recipe in half, so if you make the whole thing, invite some friends over for dinner. If you add some cornbread and a green salad you will have a perfect casual meal. And like all great party food, all the work is done ahead of time and you just need to reheat it. If you leave out the butter and just use olive oil and you put the garnishes out in separate bowls for people to choose for themselves, then this is a vegan chili that everyone can eat.
This recipe is from the website The Kitchn.

Prep time: 30 minutes 

Total time: 90 minutes  (or up to 4 hours for best flavor)

Yields: 8 to 10 servings

Pumpkin Chili


  • 1 3-pound pie pumpkin or other orange-fleshed squash such as butternut, Red Kuri, or Golden Hubbard
  • 2 medium turnips
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely ground cornmeal
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 large onion garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups vegetarian broth
  • 2 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 16-ounce cans chili beans, drained
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Several dashes vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Balsamic vinegar, to taste
  • Chopped green onions, to serve
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, to serve
  • Sour cream, to serve
Cooking directions
  1. Peel the pumpkin or squash and cut into 1-inch pieces. Peel the turnips and cut into 1-inch pieces.
  2. In a large Dutch oven or soup pot (it should hold at least 6 quarts), heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. When melted, whisk in the cornmeal until smooth, then stir in the chopped pumpkin, turnip, bell peppers, onion, garlic, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the broth, diced tomatoes, beans, and corn. Stir in the chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring back to a simmer then reduce the heat and cook for at least 1 hour, or until the pumpkin and turnip are tender. (It gets even better if simmered longer — a whole afternoon, if you have the time.)
  4. Before serving, taste and season with salt and pepper and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Serve hot with chopped green onions, shredded cheddar cheese, and sour cream.
Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili
This vegetarian chili is a great way to use any leftover pumpkin you have from pumpkin pie baking.