Pumpkin Black Bean Chili

by Lisa Rhea


Sometimes the best meal ideas come from making do with the limited ingredients you have on hand.

Early this week I was seriously seeking some comfort food. I had a cold and was exhausted and just wanted something that would make me feel better. I was craving chili.

Here’s the problem. I only had one can of black beans. And no tomato paste. And only a couple cans of tomatoes – one diced and one fire-roasted. And trust me, with a baby, a “quick” run to the grocery store a) doesn’t actually exist and b) was the last thing I wanted to do. I almost threw in the towel, then I remembered that I had canned pumpkin. Lightbulb!

Not only is pumpkin an incredibly nutrient-rich food, as I mentioned in the Thanksgiving post, it has the perfect texture to add to thicken your chili instead of tomato paste. I decided to give it a whirl and threw together what I had, and the result was delicious!

Your first option would be to simply exchange the can of tomato paste in your current chili recipe for an equal amount of canned or pureed pumpkin. If you’re looking for even more of a change of pace, here’s my most recent creation.

Pumpkin Black Bean Chili

1 lb ground turkey
1 can black beans (undrained)
1 can garlic fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles and cilantro
1/2 can pumpkin puree (make sure it’s not pumpkin pie filling!)

Seasonings – either use your favorite chili packet, or consider this combination:
2 tbsp chili powder (more depending on your desire for spice)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp garlic powder (or use minced garlic when cooking your turkey)
1-2 tsp oregano
1-2 tsp salt
1-2 tsp pepper
1 small square dark chocolate

Simply sauté the ground turkey, then add the remainder of the ingredients. Do not drain beans or tomatoes. Add seasonings and cook on low for at least 3o minutes to allow the flavors to mingle. This makes a thick chili, which is my preference, but to thin, simply add water. Serve with light sour cream or plain greek yogurt and a sprinkle of cheese.


This healthy chili recipe hits the spot when you’re looking for comfort food!


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