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Pumpkin Chili

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Don’t think that pumpkin is sweet! Adding pumpkin to chili adds a depth of flavor you will love. Pumpkin Chili taste like a bowl of fall comfort!

Pumpkin Chili #PumpkinWeek

So, today is the start of #PumpkinWeek!  Yes.  I went from #AppleWeek to #PumpkinWeek in the blink of an eye.  Why no, I don’t have any free time!  Why do you ask?  Terri from Love and Confections organizes this event every year.  It’s so fun and I love working with her.  She’s one smart cookie.

So, I have to confess, this one really snuck up on me.  I’ll be sharing a post in about a week that will, in fact, explain a little bit of why.  If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you caught a glimpse of it this weekend.  And it continues in horrific fashion.

Pumpkin Chili #PumpkinWeek

But I don’t want to bore you with the details of my mundane government finance job.  I want to dazzle you with ideas of fall and pumpkins!  No, not that pumpkin spice stuff. Actual pumpkins.  And no, I don’t mean the kind of you carve.

Did you know there are several kinds of pumpkins?

There’s the one that’s grown for its size that we carve.  Then there are pumpkins that are smaller and usually used to make the pie filling we’re used to during the holidays.  And there’s minis and uglies that we use to decorate with in the fall, too.

Since it’s #PumpkinWeek, I’m busting out some pumpkin trivia today.  Did you know that pumpkins were cultivated by Native Americans?  Seeds have been found dating back as far as 70000 BC.  Can you imagine?  Something as simple as a squash being on this earth for centuries.  Just blows my mind.

Pumpkin Chili #PumpkinWeek

Native Americans not only used the pumpkin in soups or stews, but they dried strips of it and wove it into mats.  They also used the seeds for a source of medicine and nutrition.  They introduced the colonists to pumpkin who embraced it and used pumpkin in their cooking.

Now, I have to confess, I didn’t think of this on my own.  I mean, it is my own recipe, but I didn’t think of putting pumpkin in chili on my own.  It was a #SundaySupper chat where I first learned of pumpkin chili.  I think it was The Crumby Cupcake who mentioned it and shared her recipe.  That planted the seed…

The pumpkin seed!  *snort*

Pumpkin Chili #PumpkinWeek

Anyway, when #PumpkinWeek was announced I knew it had to be on the menu.  And since we are large chili eaters in our house, I couldn’t want to sneak some pumpkin in to our regular recipe.  We’ll, it’s not entirely our regular recipe.  I made it so that means I sneak in things like oregano, smoked paprika, and lots of cumin.  Because I love those flavors in chili.

Naturally, I wasn’t sure how the pumpkin would taste in the chili.  I was a little skeptical of putting it in there.  However, I’m glad I did!  I added it to the meat, onions, and tomatoes.  I allowed it to cook a little and make sure it melded with those flavors along with the herbs and spices; sort of like I do with tomato paste in sauces.  If you don’t cook your tomato paste, you should try it.  It adds a totally different depth of flavor to sauces.

Pumpkin Chili #PumpkinWeek

Anyway, so I added it with the meat and spices to the Pumpkin Chili and then added the tomatoes and cooked those a little bit before I added the beans and tomato juice.  Yes.  I use tomato juice to make my chili.  I don’t have beef broth in mine.  None.  It’s all tomato juice.

When I first met the hubs and he first made chili for me, it was probably the moment I realized this could be something real.  Granted, I knew I liked him because he had Henckel knives, but when he made his chili I knew he was special.

Pumpkin Chili #PumpkinWeek


We made chili almost exactly the same way.

I say almost because he puts more heat in his than I do in mine.  But the ingredients are almost exactly the same.  We add ground beef and onions.  Who doesn’t right?  Then it’s cans of diced tomatoes.  I have switched to the fire roasted to give it a rich flavor.  We both use two cans if beans.  I usually have one light and one dark.  I think he uses two cans of light red kidney beans.

When he pulled out the cans of tomatoes and said that is his secret ingredient, I was shocked to think that canned tomatoes weren’t in all chilis.  They’re not?  Really?  Who knew!  But then he grabbed the tomato juice.  I was done for.  Some people use beef broth and some use both broth and juice.  I only use tomato juice.  If it’s not authentic, I don’t care.  It taste delicious and that’s how I make my chili.

Pumpkin Chili #PumpkinWeek

Except, this time I added a little pumpkin puree to my pumpkin chili.  And it had this amazing depth of flavor that was surprising.  It wasn’t sweet.  Don’t think that pumpkin is sweet.  I mean, it does have a little sweetness to it like a butternut does.  But it’s not pumpkin pie sweet.

Pumpkin Chili #PumpkinWeek

And it doesn’t really change the color that much, does it?  It’s a little more orange than I’m used to, but the flavor was amazing.  Pumpkin chili is so rich.  I certainly don’t think the hubs noticed.  Maybe he did and just didn’t say anything.  Who knows?  I know that I loved adding the pumpkin to my chili.  You should try it.  It really makes for a delicious bowl of fall comfort.

Have you tried pumpkin in your chili?  Have you tried pumpkin in any other soups and stews?


Pumpkin Chili #PumpkinWeek

Pumpkin Chili

Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

You’d be surprised at how rich and delicious this Lowfat Blackberry Cheesecake is. It has all the creamy texture of a New York style cheesecake, but with a hint of tangy blackberry flavor and almost none of the fat.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 14 ounces canned, fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 14 ounces kidney beans, drained
  • 48 ounces tomato juice


  1. Heat a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Brown the ground beef and then add the onion. Continue to cook until the onions begin to soften.
  2. Stir in the pumpkin puree and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add the next six ingredients (chili powder through canned tomatoes). Cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until the juices from the tomato have reduced.
  3. Add the kidney beans and stir in the tomato juice. Bring a slight boil and then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes to an hour (or longer if you chose).
  4. Garnish with your favorite toppings (I used diced red onion and sharp cheddar cheese) before serving.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Here are today’s #PumpkinWeek recipes:

Pumpkin Drink Recipes:

Savory Pumpkin Recipes:

Sweet PUMPKIN Recipes:

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  1. I love my chili with V8 juice….and light and dark kidney beans…never tried pumpkin yet…sounds yummy!!! ?

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