Weekend Pumpkin Chili
A weekend beef and pumpkin chili that’s slow simmered so the flavors are extra delicious. This is the perfect way to use pumpkin in a hearty chili recipe.
So here it is: a hearty bowl of pumpkin chili.
What kind of chili? PUMPKIN. Because why does pumpkin have to be limited to all things sweet? This girl loves a good slice of pumpkin pie, but sometimes you just want something that’s hearty, filling, tex-mix inspired and this chili hits all those marks. Friends, this is a slow-simmered hearty weekend chili that will make you feel comfy from your heart to your toes. The perfect meal for a Saturday night in, because when a pot full of chili is simmering away, no one wants to go out. Netflix and crazy chili toppings kinda night, know what i’m sayin’.
Last weekend, I made a huge pot of this pumpkin chili. Since it’s just the two of us and with hubby traveling most weeks, I figured we’d have a bowl or two each and i’d tuck the rest away in the freezer in individual portions. Single lady dinners for when I wanted something warm and cozy, you know? HA! So much for that! We have exactly one portion of chili left, which will
probably be gone by the time you read this. Friends, let’s not talk about it. This chili feeds 8 ?. We gobbled it all up!
Thinking back, I should’ve just doubled the recipe. Hearty chili that’s big on flavor never lasts long around here. Especially with the topping possibilities! What do you like on your chili? We usually go simple with a little sour cream and chopped cilantro. On one of our chili nights I had the most insane craving for Fritos all up in my chili! Luckily, hubby was headed out to run a few errands, and guess what made it onto his list? Fritos! I’m usually not the biggest fan but on this particular occasion, it was all I could think about. And gah! Pumpkin chili topped with fritos + chopped onions is everything. ?? ?? ??
We even gave it a go with tortilla chips but nope, nothing like Fritos!
I know you’re thinking pumpkin in a chili recipe sounds super odd. But trust me, there is zero weirdness, as texturally it fits right in. Flavorwise pumpkin will adapt to it’s surroundings. So really, you have nothing to worry about!
Yo got this. We’re makin’ grown up chili and not telling the kids about it.
Pumpkin chili is a thing.
Let’s talk chili.
We start with the usually ingredients. Some ground beef, a can of red kidney beans, and a can of black beans, and that can of pumpkin we’ve already talked about and are on board with. The ground beef can be replaced with ground chicken or turkey, it’s a quick swap that makes this recipe even healthier. Start by browning the ground beef with jalapeños, onions, a diced red pepper, and garlic. Then we really kick it up with fire roasted tomatoes, lots of smokey cumin, and chili powder for that heat. And just when you thought this chili recipe was getting back to normal, i’m going to spring something else on you. It’s a good thing! This recipe can be made with 1 ½ pounds of ground meat (or poultry) OR you can swap ½ pound of meat for 1 ½ cups of cooked quinoa. I know i’m going semi-vegetarian rogue on you! First the pumpkin, then the quinoa! Someone, somewhere, is very upset with me because of the unholy things i’m doing to a pot of chili. But I really love the texture of quinoa in chili. It just gets tossed in at the end and it adds so much to an already hearty bowl. And I semi-ish feel better, because you know, quinoa!
And if you still aren’t convinced, lemme help you get there. This is a slow simmer recipe. As in you can slow simmer it on the stove OR the slow cooker. You know, get the ingredients together and let it go low and slow all day long until you just can’t take all the glorious chili smells wafting from your kitchen any longer. There are a couple options with this chili recipe. Brown your meat and your onions and garlic, then transfer everything into a slow cooker and just sit back while dinner cooks itself for you. Or you can make it on the stove in half the time. Really either way works, it’s a weekend chili friends, no need to work hard.
Did I mention it’s great for entertaining too? You know those low-key weekends when you just want to have a few people over and share a meal but not necessarily a fancy meal?
BOOM. Pumpkin chili.
And finally: I NEED you to try this with Fritos and chopped onions or green onions. Seriously folks. For us, chili is all about the condiments. I like to really top it up with chopped cilantro, a little sour cream, and sometimes a few dashes of hot sauce. Yeah, I know, how weird is that?
- 1- 1 ½ pound lean ground beef (turkey or chicken works too) (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 jalapeños, diced (with seeds and ribs removed)
- 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon EACH cumin AND chili powder (feel free to add more chili to liking!)
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans beans (black, red kidney, pinto, etc)
- 1 tablespoons worchestershire sauce
- 1- 1 ½ cups water or broth (or any cooking liquid, really -- coffee works really well!)
- sour cream, chopped cilantro, green onions, shredded cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, lime wedges -- or my personal favorite, Fritos and chopped onions
- Heat the oil in a large dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the ground meat and crumble. Allow it to brown completely, about 4-5 minutes. If you have excess grease, drain. Add the onions, bell pepper, jalapeños, and garlic to the pot and brown for 4-7 minutes until the onions are translucent.
- STOVE TOP: Add all the remaining chili ingredients to the pot and allow to come to a simmer before covering and lowering the heat. Allow to simmer for 1 hour. Check to see if the chili needs additional liquid at this time, you may need a little more water or broth. Allow the chili to simmer for another hour or until the veggies soften. If adding quinoa, fold it in and allow to simmer for an additional 5 minutes to just head it through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- SLOW COOKER: Transfer the browned beef mixture to a slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients for the chili, stir, cover and allow to cook on the high setting for 3-4 hours OR on the low setting for 6-8 hours. If adding quinoa, do so in the last 10-15 minutes or the cooking time. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve chili topped with your favorite toppings!
- I like to use 1 pound of ground beef for this recipe along with 1 ½ cups of cooked quinoa that I fold in right at the end.
- I know the pumpkin spice sounds weird but trust me. There is zero weirdness with it being in the recipe!
IS THIS A GOOD CHOICE FOR YOU?
The nutrition label is calculated with 1 pound lean ground beef and 1 ½ cups of quinoa. Calories will change if you use all ground beef. This is for 1/8th of the recipe without toppings.