Vegan Pumpkin Chili

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.

Vegan Pumpkin Chili

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.

Vegan Healthy Pumpkin Chili

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 black beans and walnuts.  You could also add 1/2 cup red lentils.  The lentils will 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.

Vegan Healthy Pumpkin Chili - close up

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.

What are the health benefits of pumpkin?

I’m always looking to add pumpkin into my recipes this time of year.  Not only are they seasonal and taste sweet and creamy, but they also offer so many disease-fighting nutrients and overall health benefits.  They are packed with antioxidants known as carotenoids that can protect cells from free radical damage.  And, pumpkin offers fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, folate, potassium and vitamins A, C, E and K.

Vegan Healthy Pumpkin Chili - angle shot

Want more vegan and gluten-free pumpkin recipes in your life?

Now, let’s make some vegan pumpkin chili!

I do not say this next sentence lightly.  This is my favorite chili recipe ever.  I think my dad (aka the chili cooking-expert) would have been really proud of this vegan creation.  The flavors only get better as it sits in the refrigerator overnight so this is the kind of meal you can definitely make ahead of time and enjoy throughout the week.  I made a big batch already and am freezing the rest for Halloween dinner!

This vegan pumpkin chili is loaded with plant-based protein, fiber and healthy fats.  Every steamy spoonful is mega creamy yet chunky and offers the perfect amount of spiciness balanced out with a bit of fall sweetness from the pumpkin.

If you want to serve it with my crispy thin socca to scoop it up you will not be sorry.  At all.  (Just skip the avocado mash… or not).

Vegan Healthy Pumpkin Chili - overhead

I cannot wait for you to give this vegan pumpkin chili a try.  Let’s get cooking!

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Vegan Pumpkin Chili

Vegan Pumpkin Chili


  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40
  • Yield: 8 1x

Description

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.


Scale

Ingredients

For the pumpkin chili

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups raw walnuts, soaked in advance (see instructions)
  • 2 red onions, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt (or more to taste)
  • 2 bell peppers (red, orange or yellow), stem removed, seeded and diced*
  • 1 jalapeno, stem removed, seeded and diced (optional for more spice)
  • 1 sweet potato, skin removed and diced
  • 1, 14.5 ounce can low-sodium diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1/2 cup split red lentils (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1.5 cups homemade pumpkin puree **

Topping Suggestions:

  • red onions, avocado, cilantro, green onions, lime, jalapeno

Instructions

  1. Soak the walnuts in boiling water for one hour (or regular water for 8 hours or overnight).  After soaking is complete, drain, rinse and place the soaked walnuts in a food processor.  Process until fine and crumbly (about 15 seconds).  Set aside.
  2. In a 5.5 quart dutch oven, saute onion, garlic, walnuts, spices and salt in olive oil on medium heat until onions are translucent and fragrant (3-5 minutes).  Stir in the peppers, jalapeno (if using), sweet potato, tomatoes, red lentils (if using), tomato paste, and black beans.
  3. Add vegetable broth and pumpkin puree and bring to a boil.  Once it reaches a rolling boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook uncovered for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.  Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
  4. To ensure it is finished cooking be sure to taste a spoonful with sweet potato in it to make sure it is tender.  Simmer over low heat for an additional ten minutes stirring occasionally.  Serve immediately while hot or cover with lid and keep on a low simmer for up to 30 more minutes.  Store leftovers once fully cooled in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to five days.  If freezing, be sure to allow 1-2 inches of space at the top of your container to allow for the chili to expand when frozen.  Keep frozen for up to two months.  To reheat frozen chili, transfer to the refrigerator the night before.

Notes

*For more spice, add a poblano pepper in place of one of the bell peppers.  If you are sensitive to spice or plan to serve to children I suggest using less chili powder and no poblano pepper or jalapeno pepper.

** For best results use homemade pumpkin puree.  Canned will work in a pinch but it will not be as thick, creamy and sweet as the homemade pumpkin puree.

  • Category: Entree
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: vegan pumpkin chili

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6 Comments

  1. Abby

    What a great meal for cold fall evenings. The addition of your homemade pumpkin purée takes the Chili to a whole new level! So good!

    Reply
    • Elaine Gordon

      Thank you so much! I totally agree that the pumpkin puree makes it! So glad you enjoyed, Abby!

      Reply
  2. Dominika

    Hi! Elain in post you wrote about adding red lentils but there is nothing about in the recipe. How many red lentils add to this chili? Or maybe there is no need to add this ingredient? 🙂

    Reply
    • Elaine Gordon

      Hi Dominika, Thank you SO much for catching this error. Originally I had 1/2 cup red lentils in the recipe ingredients but when I made the recipe again this year I did not have that on hand and loved how it turned out without the red lentils too. I figured eliminating them would make the recipe a bit more simple. So I removed the red lentils from the ingredient list but I missed removing the red lentils from the instructions. I’m so sorry about that mix up and I hope it didn’t mess up your chili last night! Please let me know! I updated the recipe now FYI. Thank you again for taking the time to comment. Best, Elaine

      Reply
      • Dominika

        Elaine thank you for your answer! I did this chili finaly without red lentils and this is incredibly delicious dish! Thank you for such brilliant recipe. 🙂

        Reply
        • Elaine Gordon

          Thank you for letting me know! So glad you loved it! 🙂

          Reply

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Thank you for checking out my vegan and gluten-free recipes.

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