A cozy vegetarian Pumpkin Chili recipe that’s simmered in a chipotle and poblano base with fire roasted tomatoes and warming spices. Use homemade Pumpkin Puree, kabocha puree or store bought in this recipe. Dinner in 30 minutes? Yes please! This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and easily gluten free. [ VIDEO in recipe card below ]
Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili, a Seasonal Inspiration
Pumpkin in my chili? Whaaa?!
Yes please! This squash can go sweet or savory and it’s absolutely lovely in chili. Have you tried it? Adding pumpkin to chili helps it thicken and also lends an earthy flavor. And, it’s just good for us anyway, so why not?
Seasonal and super flavorful paired with onions, poblanos and warming spices, this vegetarian pumpkin chili is super quick to pull together, is freezer friendly and can be shared as a vegan or vegetarian main.
It’s also delicious on top of these veggie burgers!
Laura said: “Absolutely delicious & super easy to make.”
Quick Guide: How to Make Pumpkin Chili
For this vegetarian pumpkin chili recipe, use poblano and onions to build flavor. Additionally chipotle in adobo sauce offers smoky-spicy notes chili is known for. Although this chili is spicy, it can be easily made mild by simply reducing or eliminating the chipotle pepper and reducing the adobo sauce a bit. In summary, here’s how to make it (for full recipe, see recipe card below):
- First, saute the poblano and onions.
- Second, add warming spices like cumin, chili powder and smoky paprika.
- Next, after the spices release their fragrance, add minced garlic cloves, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, fire roasted tomatoes, broth, beans and the pumpkin puree.
- Last, simmer for 10-20 minutes and this easy and flavorful chili is ready.
This is a perfect weeknight chili I lean on during the colder months of the year.
Variations on Pumpkin Chili
- Poblano Pepper: This recipe calls for a poblano pepper. They’re generally not spicy but instead offer an earthy, unique flavor to this chili. If unavailable, use a green bell pepper. Its flavor is different, but it will work beautifully in a pinch.
- Pumpkin Puree: I like homemade Pumpkin Puree in this recipe, however store bought plain puree can also be used with delicious results.
- Beans: Use cooked, canned beans in this recipe for a speedy dinner. I like black and pinto beans, but kidney beans are delicious as well. Making Homemade Black Beans and/or Crock Pot Pinto Beans will take this chili over the top!
- Adjust the Spicy: To create a smoky, spicy chili, this recipe relies on chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. To make a milder chili, eliminate the chipotle pepper and reduce the amount of adobo in the recipe.
- Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: Spoon pumpkin chili over baked sweet potatoes for an extra hearty meal.
A Few Recipe Tips
- Share With (so many options!): avocado slices, my Chili – Lime Pepita Crema, sour cream, a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, tortilla chips and/or plenty of jalapeño slices.
- Cornbread? Yes please! A big slab of jalapeño cornbread or gluten free cornbread is really nice too.
- Make a Big Batch! This recipe as written serves four, but it doubles with ease for a small crowd or for leftovers.
- How Spicy? As written, this pumpkin chili recipe is pretty spicy, but you can easily make this a mild chili by reducing or eliminating the chipotle chili pepper.
- Pumpkin Puree! Use store bought plain pumpkin puree or use homemade pumpkin or kabocha puree!
More Chili Recipes to Love
RELATED: Make homemade pumpkin puree! It’s freezer friendly and tastes amazing! Try my DIY Pumpkin Puree recipe.
Pumpkin Chili Recipe
- 1 Tbs Vegetable Oil I like coconut or olive oil
- 1 1/2 C (200g) Yellow Onion, large dice, about one smallish onion
- 1 C (125g) Poblano Chili Pepper, large dice*, about one medium poblano
- 1 tsp Cumin, ground
- 1 1/2 Tbs Chili Powder
- 2 tsp Smoky Paprika
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 Chipotle Chili minced, omit for a milder chili
- 1 Tbs Adobo Sauce, from can of chipotle chilis, reduce to only 1 tsp for a milder chili, look for gluten free if needed
- 2 C (465g) Vegetable Broth
- 14 1/2 oz (411g) Fire Roasted Tomatoes, + its juice, one can
- 15 1/2 oz (440g) Cooked Black Beans, drained and rinsed, about one can or homemade
- 15 oz (425g) Cooked Pinto Beans or Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed, about one can or homemade
- 1 C (270g) Pumpkin Puree, use homemade or store bought / not pumpkin pie - plain unsweetened (kabocha puree is delicious too!)
- 3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
- 2 tsp Black Pepper, ground
- 1 tsp Oregano, dried
- Chili - Lime Pepita Cream
- Fist Full of Fresh Cilantro
- Avocado slices
- Sour Cream
- In a large dutch oven or soup pot add the coconut oil and heat on medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onion and poblano pepper. Turn the heat to medium-low and saute for 8-10 minutes or until slightly softened. Some charing is good!
- Add the cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, chipotle chili and adobo sauce (for a milder chili, omit the chipotle chili and reduce the adobo sauce to taste). Stir for 1 minute or until the spices release their fragrance. Pour in the vegetable broth, stir to deglaze, then add the tomatoes, beans, kabocha, garlic, black pepper and oregano. Bring to a simmer, turn to low and cook for 10-20 minutes until warmed through. It will thicken further as it cooks.
- Serve with fresh cilantro, avocado, jalapeños, sour cream and/or a sprinkle of shredded cheddar. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to three days, or up to three weeks in the freezer. Thaw in the fridge overnight and rewarm stovetop on low for about 10 minutes.
Delicious chili! I subbed a red bell for the poblano and added soy curls as well which gave it a meatier texture. I did add a lot of chipotle in adobe but I love spicy food, so it was perfect for me. Excellent recipe!
Hi Suzanne! Thank you for your note and giving the recipe a go! The soy curls sound fabulous – thank you for sharing. Hooray for chipotle in adobe… it’s sooo good and a delicious way to amp up the spicy!
Absolutely delicious & super easy to make. I really appreciate the amounts being given in grams for a cooking recipe – saved me a lot of time digging out measuring cups.
Hi Laura! Thank you for your note, giving the recipe a go and your rating! So happy to hear the recipe was easy. Too, thank you for your feedback regarding grams – I measure all my recipes in US standard and metric so I’m so glad to hear it’s helpful!
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
It wouldn’t be fall without a few delicious chili recipes Traci! And I remember this one well! So tasty. The best kind of fall comfort/game day food.
Katherine | Love In My Oven
Is there anything more fall than pumpkin? ;) I am definitely going to be making this cozy dish soon, Traci! I might make double so I can freeze half for a quick meal!
I discovered Kabocha last winter. I can’t believe it took me so long to taste this autumn delicacy. You soup looks unbelievably fragrant and delicious. Thank you for sharing!
Oh it’s wonderful, Hanne! I use it in pie too.. all things sweet and savory! I hope you enjoy the recipe! :D
I LOVE this chili! I have already made it twice and taken the leftovers to work all week both weeks! It’s spicy and filling and delicious! I use the canned pumpkin in place of the squash.
Thank you for your note, Janet! I’m so happy you’re enjoying the chili! I love it too. Canned pumpkin is such a great way to enjoy it. It’s so rich and hearty! I need to make it again. Thank you for sharing!