A cozy vegetarian Pumpkin Chili simmered in a chipotle and poblano base with fire roasted tomatoes and warming spices. Use fresh pumpkin puree, kabocha puree or store bought in this recipe. Dinner in 30 minutes? Helloooo weeknight chili! This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and easily gluten free.
This Pumpkin Chili Recipe was originally published Nov. 2016 and has been updated with new photographs and additional recipe notes Oct. 2020. The original recipe remains unchanged.
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!
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 garlic, 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.
Ingredient Swaps in 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 or kabocha squash 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.
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.
A Few Recipe Notes
- Share With (so many options!): avocado slices, my Chili – Lime Pepita Crema, sour cream, a sprinkle of cheddar, 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 crowed 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.
- 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
- 15 oz (425g) Cooked Pinto or Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed, about one can
- 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.