This vegetarian pumpkin chili is filled with flavor, texture, and just enough spice. (It’s actually vegan and gluten free, too!) Combining easy canned ingredients with a few fresh components, this quick one pan meal will warm you up during colder months. Meat eaters, myself included, enjoy it too!
I’m not a professional cook and I’m not vegetarian. But I’m REALLY good at pumpkin recipes and can say with 100% certainty that this pumpkin chili is absolute dynamite. My assistant, Hilari, doesn’t eat meat and loved it. And my husband, who does eat meat (but doesn’t really like pumpkin) had seconds.
This meatless chili is one of the best dinners I’ve made all year. Regardless of how you eat (vegetarian, vegan, meat, pumpkin, non-pumpkin, spicy, non-spicy), I’m confident you’ll enjoy this one pot meal.
This is an everything-into-1-pot chili. There’s wiggle room with the ingredients, which I discuss below, but I recommend sticking to the base of this recipe including the delicious spices, herbs, and other key ingredients. This is excellent served with biscuits, cheese scones, or whole wheat rolls.
Key Ingredients in Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili
- Onion & Garlic: This duo creates a flavorful base for the pumpkin chili.
- Salt, Pepper, Onion Powder, Cumin, & Chili Powder: You can play around with the amounts, but don’t be afraid to use a lot of each. This is a big batch of chili. And pumpkin, a main ingredient, is pretty bland without a lot of added flavorings. For best taste, stick with the amounts I recommend below.
- Cinnamon (I forgot it in the picture!): Where there’s pumpkin, there must be a pumpkin spice. Even though this is a savory pumpkin recipe, cinnamon is most welcome. Cinnamon is actually pretty common in chili recipes.
- Vegetable Broth: If you’re not vegetarian, you can use chicken or beef broth instead.
- Diced Tomatoes: I ended up using 3 (14 ounce) cans of diced tomatoes. The juicy bursts of tomato pair wonderfully with the beans, pumpkin, and bold flavors. Do not drain the canned diced tomatoes before adding.
- Pumpkin: I recommend using canned pumpkin puree over homemade in this recipe, though 2 cups of homemade would be fine.
Swap Your Add-Ins
I had a lot of fun testing this recipe because there are SO many add-ins to play with. Instead of pinto beans, feel free to use chick peas. In place of kidney beans, use more black beans. Instead of sweet potato, use butternut squash. If you only have 1 bell pepper, that’s cool! As long as you stick with the base of this chili including the spices, onion, garlic, broth, pumpkin, and diced tomatoes– you can really play around with the extras.
How Spicy Is This?
The vegetarian pumpkin chili as written is mildly spicy. In fact, as I ate my first bowl, I added another pinch of chili powder. (And I can’t tolerate super spicy food!) Feel free to adjust the chili powder based on your spice tolerance and you can leave out the jalapeño if desired. If removing some spice, however, keep in mind that some flavor will be lost. You can add a little more cumin, garlic, or onion powder in its place.
(This is Le Creuset Dutch Oven in the pretty Berry color and the orange pumpkin bowl above is from Pier 1!)
How to Make Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili
Put everything in the pot and cook it. It’s that easy. But if we’re getting technical here, sauté the onion and peppers first, then add the rest of the ingredients. Cook for about 30 minutes.
Slow Cooker Instructions: Place all of the ingredients in a 5 quart or larger slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Does this work in an Instant Pot? I don’t know, I don’t own one! Let me know if you try it.
If you eat meat, you’ll love my slow cooker chicken chili too!
More Meatless Dinner Recipes
- Alphabet Vegetable Soup
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- Biscuit Vegetable Pot Pie
- Minestrone Soup
- Zucchini Fritters
Combining easy canned ingredients with a few fresh components, this vegetarian pumpkin chili is an easy and convenient one pan meal that will warm you up during colder months. Feel free to make substitutions based on what you enjoy.
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1/2 of a large onion)
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 small jalapeño, minced (remove seeds and ribs)*
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 cups (480ml) vegetable broth
- 3 (14 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes, do not drain
- 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed*
- 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed*
- 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree*
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (about 1 heaping cup)*
- optional: 1/2 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed*
Optional For Serving:
- chopped cilantro
- chopped red onion
- sliced avocado
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a 5 quart (or larger) pot or dutch oven. Add the onion, bell peppers, and jalapeño. Stir and cook for 5 minutes as the onion softens. Add garlic, salt, black pepper, cumin, chili powder, and onion powder. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients including black beans, if using.
- Place the lid on top, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve with any optional toppings. I strongly suggest cilantro for a little fresh kick. Yum!
- Freezing Instructions: Chili freezes wonderfully for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then heat in a large pot on medium heat for 20-30 minutes.
- Spiciness: This chili, as written, is mildly spicy. Feel free to adjust the chili powder based on your spice tolerance. You can leave out the jalapeño if desired. If removing some spice, however, keep in mind that some flavor will be lost. You can add a little more cumin, garlic, or onion powder in its place.
- Beans: You can use any beans you enjoy. I found the textures of pinto, kidney, and black beans perfect for this chili. You can use light or dark kidney beans, whichever you prefer. I added 1/2 of a can of black beans at the last minute. They’re optional, but very tasty in this dish. Chick peas would be great here, so feel free to make a swap.
- Pumpkin: I recommend using canned pumpkin puree over homemade in this recipe, though 2 cups of homemade would be fine in a pinch.
- Sweet Potato: Feel free to substitute peeled and diced butternut squash.
- Slow Cooker Instructions: Place all of the ingredients in a 5 quart or larger slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Keywords: chili, vegetarian