a bowl of chili garnished with sour cream, jalepeno peppers and corn chips
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Perfect for Fall Pumpkin Chili with Ground Turkey

There are just some things that scream fall season and to me its pumpkins, turkey and a hardy bowl of chili! So I thought, why not put all my favorite fall flavors into one bowl? You are going to be surprised how these flavors infused together create the perfect fall meal of pumpkin chili with ground turkey!

Yup, I said pumpkin in my chili. You may not be a fan of pumpkins but I still insist you try this recipe out because you can’t really taste the pumpkin! So why bother adding pumpkin if you can’t really taste it you ask? Well it adds a little something extra to the chili, and also creates such a smooth texture!

I was a little skeptical about giving this chili to my family only because I know that if I tell them right off the bat that I put pumpkin in it that it would most likely turn them off. So I served it for dinner without saying a word. And guess what, they all asked for seconds!

turkey pumpkin chili in a bowl topped with sour cream and jalapeno peppers and tortilla chips on the side.

That’s when I said to them, so glad you like my new PUMPKIN Chili!  They were so surprised at how great it was. There were hardly any leftovers!

Everyone in my house was in love with this new pumpkin chili, and already asking me when I will make it again. Now I know for next time to triple my recipe to have some extra for freezing!

What kind of pumpkin should I use for this chili?

When I say “pumpkin” for this chili recipe, I don’t mean the carve-your-jack-o-lantern style pumpkin. Although it is edible, it doesn’t have the sweetness you want for this dish. The type of pumpkin that is best for cooking and baking is a sugar pie pumpkin.

Try this creamy pumpkin spinach pasta sauce recipe!

Sugar pie pumpkins

What can I substitute for a pumpkin?

You can make a number of easy substitutes if you are having trouble finding a sugar pie pumpkin.

  • Butternut squash – probably one of the best substitutes for a pumpkin in texture and flavor.
  • Canned pumpkin – remember that you will lose some of the texture that you get from a fresh pumpkin
  • Acorn squash – this squash will add extra fiber to the dish and if you are not a fan of the stringy texture, I would recommend that you puree it in a food processor or blender first

Try this Curried butternut squash soup recipe!

What vegetables go well in a chili?

I love to load up my chili with lots of different veggies as my kids love to eat chili and it my way to getting them to eat more of their vegetables. If you want to keep it simple with just 2 or 3 different veggies that is all up to you.

  • celery
  • carrots
  • bell peppers red and/or green
  • corn
  • green or yellow beans
  • mushrooms

How do I get the sugar pie pumpkin ready for this chili recipe?

1. First cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise and scoop out all of the seeds from the inside.

2. Once cleaned out, drizzle olive oil over the pumpkin halves lightly.

3. Bake the pumpkin halves in the oven at 375 degrees F for 45-60 minutes or until fork tender.

4. Once fork tender and cooled, using a spoon, scoop the pumpkin meat out and puree it lightly in a food processor or blender until it becomes a smooth consistency.

roasting sugar pie pumpkin in the oven

What will I need to get started on this recipe?

  • vegetable oil
  • onion
  • garlic
  • ground turkey
  • bell peppers
  • celery
  • canned diced tomatoes
  • sugar pie pumpkin
  • chicken broth
  • black beans
  • spices (cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, Italian seasoning)

Is pumpkin chili with ground turkey Keto friendly?

Although pumpkin is Keto friendly, the beans added to the chili are not. So in order to make this chili a Keto meal, don’t add the beans and instead load up on more vegetables. This meal will still have all the flavor of a delicious chili even without the beans.

What toppings go well with chili?

In my house we like to experiment with toppings on our chili. Here is a list of our favorite toppings:

  • sour cream
  • cilantro
  • fresh jalapenos
  • avocados
  • pumpkin seeds
  • grated Cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a Mexican cheese blend
  • Frank’s hot sauce
garnished turkey chili with sour cream, cilantro and jalapeno peppers

Does this chili freeze well?

Yes, you can freeze this chili and it does freeze well. Make sure that the Pumpkin Chili is cooled completely before placing it in a freezer safe Tupperware. It can stay in the freezer for up to 4 months. When ready to eat, let the chili thaw in the fridge overnight and then heat it well on the stove top or in the microwave.

I like to freeze this meal in smaller zip lock bags to make individual serving sizes and then I place them in a large freezer bag. This makes it very convenient when you have a larger quantity to freeze and don’t want to freeze such a large portion all together.

Also, making smaller size portions make it easy to just grab the number of servings you need to thaw out.

How long can this chili last in the fridge?

Once completely cooled, store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Chili always testes better the next day so make sure you make extra to have some for leftovers and for freezing.

Yield: 8 servings

Pumpkin Chili with Ground Turkey

a bowl of pumpkin chili

A hearty bowl of chili made with pumpkin puree and ground turkey

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 medium green bell pepper
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 cup of celery chopped
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 cups of pumpkin puree from 1 Sugar Pie pumpkin
  • 1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28oz ) can diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 (14oz) can low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • Optional: garnish with cilantro, sour cream, fresh jalapenos

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, add oil and sauté onions until caramelized.
  2. Add ground turkey and brown. Once meat is browned drain out any extra grease
  3. Add garlic, bell peppers, celery, and sauté for 5 minutes
  4. Add diced tomatoes and all the spices and seasonings.
  5. Once vegetables start to get tender, add the pumpkin puree, broth, and drained canned beans.
  6. Stir all the ingredients so everything is well combined and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. Serve in a bowl and garnish with cilantro and toppings of your liking.

Preparing the Sugar Pie Pumpkins

  1. Cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise and scoop out all of the seeds from the inside.
  2. Once cleaned out, drizzle olive oil over the pumpkin halves lightly.
  3. Bake the pumpkin halves in the oven at 375 degrees F for 45-60 minutes or until fork tender.
  4. Once fork tender and cooled, using a spoon, scoop the pumpkin meat out and puree it lightly in a food processor or blender until it becomes a smooth consistency.



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