This vegan pumpkin chili is the perfect seasonal one-pot nutritious meal! It is spicy, slightly sweet, full of flavor and has the most incredible texture – you would never know it is entirely plant-based. It is loaded with vegetables and plant-based protein to keep you satisfied. The pumpkin adds creaminess and body to the chili that makes it extra amazing. This dairy-free, gluten-free and grain-free dish is the ultimate comforting and healthy meal for Halloween dinner.
With three young kids, Halloween night is always a bit hectic. By the time we finish up the work day and get everyone in costume, it is time to hit the streets for trick-or-treating (leaving very little time for cooking and eating). That is why I love a quick and easy one-pot meal that everyone can enjoy, especially one that is seasonal, healthy and even better if prepared the day before. Enter: vegan pumpkin chili.
For many, chili on Halloween night is a special tradition whether you are trick-or-treating or handing out candy. If you are staying in it is the perfect cozy meal to have simmering on the stove in between doorbell rings. I provide a less spicy alternative in the recipe below so the kiddos can enjoy it too. One-pot (+ chili bowls and spoons) means easy clean-up after a long night of trick-or-treating.
Pumpkin chili is also a great meal to serve at a Halloween party. Since this one is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free and refined sugar-free it is great for serving to crowds with varying diets. I leave it covered, simmering on the stove so friends and family can grab a bowl whenever they want. A hearty, steamy bowl of pumpkin chili is something nobody can turn down this chillier time of year.
What you need to make this vegan pumpkin chili:
All my chili recipes start with onion, garlic and spices sautéed in olive oil. Everything that comes next is what makes this one different and amazing. The vegetables I use are pumpkin, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and peppers. Depending on how spicy you want it you can use bell peppers, poblano peppers and/or jalapeno peppers. For texture and plant-based protein I added red lentils, black beans and walnuts. The red lentils basically disappear into the chili and thicken it up nicely. You don’t even know they are there really. The black beans help make it nice and chunky and the walnuts add a nuttiness and chewy texture that makes this vegan chili unbelievable. The combination of the red lentils, black beans and walnuts makes this a super hearty vegan chili. Meat-lovers will be impressed with this one too.
Other than that I just used vegetable broth, a touch of maple syrup to help bring out the sweetness of the pumpkin and some tomato paste to enhance the tomato flavor.
How is that for nutritious and clean? It is mostly basic pantry ingredients you likely have on hand so all you will need to grab at the supermarket are the veggies and the below toppings.
For toppings, I like to use red onions, cilantro, lime, green onions and avocado – pretty classic and absolutely delicious with the pumpkin chili.
As far as equipment, all you will need is a good quality dutch oven to allow the chili to simmer on your stovetop and really thicken up. This vegan pumpkin chili is another low-maintenance one-pot recipe that everyone seems to just love.
Why add pumpkin to chili?
Pumpkin. We all crave it. We all love it. It is everyone’s favorite fall vegetable. I love it in this chili because it thickens up the chili and adds a creamy smoothness that takes the chili to the next level. I may keep adding it to chili year-round! It adds just a touch of sweetness to the chili that balances out the spices nicely. It is also a great way to sneak in more vegetables, and it switches up a classic chili recipe to make it more seasonal.
I definitely recommend using homemade pumpkin puree over canned pumpkin in this recipe. It is so much creamier, thicker and sweeter. The canned version can be more watery and bitter in my opinion, but of course it will work in a pinch. For the most authentic pumpkin flavor, go for the homemade version. It is easier than you would think with my hands-off pressure cooker method.