Pumpkin Chili 

Serves 6-8

Pumpkin in my chili was inspired by Jeff Armstrong, a long-time baker and friend at West End. He kept telling me that his family put pumpkin in their vegetarian chili. I thought it sounded strange at first, but the more I imagined what the flavors and textures would be like together the more I wanted to try it. It is delicious! The pumpkin thickens it up and adds a hint of sweetness. Any kind of orange winter squash can work in this recipe. Use what you’ve got.

photo: Paul Jackson [www.pauljacksonphoto.com]

photo: Paul Jackson [www.pauljacksonphoto.com]

9 cups water
1 cup dried kidney beans sorted and rinsed
2 cup dried pinto beans sorted and rinsed
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1 onion – diced
3 cloves garlic – crushed
1 Tbsp. vegetable or olive oil
1 green pepper – diced
1 1⁄2 cup diced tomato – or one 15 oz. can
2 cups carrots – peeled and sliced
1 1⁄2 cups roasted winter squash puree – or one 15 oz. can pumpkin
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. paprika – use smoked paprika if you have it
1⁄2 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. sage – dried or fresh
2 Tbsp. pickled jalapenos – finely diced


  • Combine water, beans and salt in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Turn to medium and simmer, covered, until tender, about 2 hours. You may need to add a bit more water depending on how long it takes your beans to cook. You want the beans to still be submerged in the cooking water when they are done.
  • In a separate pan, saute onions in oil on low heat until tender – then add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  • Add onion mixture and all remaining ingredients to soup
  • Simmer until carrots are nice and tender
  • Taste and adjust seasoning if needed
  • Serve with any or all of the following: sour cream, cheese, chilies, green onion, avocado slices and cornbread!

Side Bar
Substitute canned beans:

  • Reduce water to 5 cups
  • Reduce salt to 2 t. 
  • Use 2-15 oz. cans of pinto beans and one 15 oz. can of kidney beans.

Download and print recipe.