Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili

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!

pumpkin chili

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. Still working on getting my toddler on board, but that might take more convincing. 😉

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. The flavors are incredible this time of year!

pumpkin chili in pumpkin bowl

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.

Key Ingredients in Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili

  1. Onion & Garlic: This duo creates a flavorful base for the pumpkin chili.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Vegetable Broth: If you’re not vegetarian, you can use chicken or beef broth instead.
  5. 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.
  6. Pumpkin: I recommend using canned pumpkin puree over homemade in this recipe, though 2 cups of homemade would be fine.

 

 

ingredients for vegetarian pumpkin chili


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.


 

pumpkin chili in pink pot

(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.

pumpkin chili

If you eat meat, you’ll love my slow cooker chicken chili too!

More Meatless Dinner Recipes

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pumpkin chili in pumpkin bowl

Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: serves 10-12 (1 heaping cup serving)
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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.


Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Place the lid on top, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve with any optional toppings. I strongly suggest cilantro for a little fresh kick. Yum!

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Pumpkin: I recommend using canned pumpkin puree over homemade in this recipe, though 2 cups of homemade would be fine in a pinch.
  5. Sweet Potato: Feel free to substitute peeled and diced butternut squash.
  6. 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

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52 Comments

  1. This looks amazing! I’m making this today as it’s Canadian Thanksgiving holiday weekend and our turkey feast was yesterday. Thank you Sally! Happy Thanksgiving

  2. Is a 5 qt dutch oven standard for most recipes or do you recommend a larger size… how large? I want to purchase Le Creuset dutch oven but want to buy the best size…Thank you.

    1. Hi Brenda, I use my 5 at dutch oven for so many recipes. Soups, stews, chilis, no-knead bread, big batches of sauces, etc. It’s one of their most standard sizes.

  3. I realize the point of this recipe is that it’s vegetarian, but I wonder how it would taste with the inclusion of browned ground turkey meat.

      1. Thank you for another great recipe- this turned out great, quite possibly the best chili I have ever made. So easy and so healthy.

  4. Sally, your recipes are always right on time! I was just thinking about trying pumpkin chili (for extra veggies in my diet), and this recipe popped up in my inbox! I’m not a pumpkin fan, so I feel reassured that your non pumpkin eating husband loved it, lol.

  5. *Sigh, this looks so good but my dear girl WHY DONT YOU OWN AN INSTANT POT YET!?!?!?!? Let me tell you, I held out for 2 years and finally broke down this Spring. And since I received it as a birthday gift this year I haven’t looked back. I am actually cooking more than I bake these days because it makes it so easy that you actually feel guilty! Not to worry though- as soon as the weather gets chilly I bust out the apron and make all of the comfort desserts. I keep hoping you’ll get on the Instant Pot train so that you can churn out genius ideas for us! And bonus, you can make dessert in it too! So far I’ve done rice pudding and cheesecake! DO IT DO IT!

      1. If it makes you feel better, I hate my Instant Pot. Too much hands on and waiting for it to come up to pressure and back down. If I want easy, I prefer the slow cooker for a dump and forget about it until dinner meal. I think you either love it or you hate it!

    1. Yes, this recipe is actually written for a pot on the stove (cooks for 30 minutes) and not for a slow cooker (although I do add a note on how to use a slow cooker if desired!).

  6. I immediately went out and bought all of the ingredients for this and made it to prep my lunches for the week. LOVE it! Super easy and tasty.

  7. I sure appreciate the savory recipes that you post Sally and every savory recipe that I’ve tried has been a winner in our house. I love soup recipes this time of year ( windows closed and this simmering on the stove= Yum!!) Thank you so much for posting. I amnot vegetarian either, but a protein in this would be very satisfying!!

  8. OMG THIS LOOKS INCREDIBLE…CAN’T WAIT….I HAVE TRIED YOUR PUMPKIN CHOC. CHIP COOKIES AND PUMPKIN CHOC CHIP PANCAKES THIS WEEK. THEY ARE BOTH ADDICTING AND INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS!!!!! tHANKS FOR THE MANY FABULOUS RECIPES! YOU ARE AMAZING!

  9. actually its my favorite dish!
    i never miss when my wife make the same dish for us.
    thank you dear for sharing recipe details in good way.

  10. This recipe was fantastic! Thanks for posting such a flavorful and filling vegetarian chili recipe! It was a hit with all (including kiddos) and will be in heavy rotation in our household!
    Your recipes have never let me down since I started making your chocolate chip cookie recipe years ago!! Thanks!

  11. Made this last night and it will definitely be part of our fall and winter rotation! Packed with veggies and flavor–you don’t really taste the pumpkin which helped for the kids, and my chili-loving fiancee was in heaven. The house smelled delicious and we served with cheese and cornbread. Filling and hearty and healthy–amazing.

  12. I made this chili today for my mom. She is 87 and a vegetarian. I ”tweaked” it some. Here in Louisiana we like things spicy. She loved it and so did the rest of us non vegetarians.

  13. This was wonderful! Such great flavor. Hearty and savory and a tiny bit spicy… will definitely be making this again!

  14. This was great! Could really taste the pumpkin. I added an extra teaspoon of chili powder and increased the sweet potato and black beans, but followed the recipe other than that. Thanks Sally!

  15. This chili was so good. I made it in my slow cooker yesterday morning and we smelled it all day as we watched football! I had mine with a drop of sour cream and hubby had his with crackers. I never told him that it was vegetarian and he never missed it! It was thick, spicy and full of flavor! Looking forward to making this for my kids when they are home for the holidays! It will be so nice to have a dish we can all enjoy!

  16. Hi Sally- I am excited to make this! Do I need to cook the onion or veggies a bit first on the stove if I am using a slow cooker? Also, do I need to rinse the beans still if putting in slow cooker? Thanks!

    1. Hi Missy! If using a slow cooker, you can certainly cook down the veggies on the stove first, but I don’t. I just add everything directly into the cooker. Whichever cooking method you are using, drain and rinse the beans first.

  17. I made this last Monday, it was so delicious! My 14 year-old son made it all by himself when I was at a meeting on Friday. We love it, it replaces our recipe that used Velveeta, which I don’t buy anymore.

  18. I made this tonight for dinner and it was delicious! We do not like pinto beans so I just used a whole can of black beans. I am excited for leftovers for lunch the next couple days.

  19. I made this for dinner earlier this week. It was excellent and made enough to freeze some for a future meal. The only ingredient I did not have on hand was the jalapeño pepper so I used a small can of tomatoes containing green chilis and it added enough heat to the taste.

  20. This is so delicious! I made it for a Halloween party for teen girls. Even though only one girl was a vegetarian, they all ate it and loved it! Thank you Sally!

  21. OMG OMG OMG…SO I HAVE GONE PUMPKIN CRAZY…AND WHEN I SAW THIS…I THOUGHT I HAVE GOT TO TRY IT FOR HALLOWEEN NIGHT DINNER. I had sceptics at work when we talked about ingredients….minus the meat…I made it a day ahead of time to taste before my guests tasted on hallloween…Well…last night was the “big reveal”….EVERYONE I MEAN EVERYONE LOVED IT…..THIS IS FABULOUS AND SO HEARTY..I DID add more chili powder and cumin and salt..but other than that it was fabulous…sally…you are amazing!!!! have never tried a recipe of yours I have not loved….try this recipe…you will love it!

  22. I made this yesterday and all I can say is WOW ! Delicious ! We ate all of it but one small serving ! I didn’t have green bell pepper, so I substituted poblano pepper and instead of black beans ( I was out of them also) I substituted a bag of frozen corn. It was perfect ! Thank you for such great recipes !

  23. This recipe was delicious!!! Such great flavors and so much fiber and veggies!! Looking forward to making it again already. Thanks Sally!!

  24. Hi Sally! I made this chili for dinner! Amazing recipe, kids approved… thank you for your great recipes!
    Veronica from Italy

  25. The kitchen smelled wonderful as this was cooking. You could smell the fall spices, but I didn’t taste pumpkin in the chili. A great cold weather meal!

  26. Hi! I made this yesterday, so delicious! When I first saw the recipe I wondered if I could half it/ scale it down successfully and yes it’s so forgiving – I used my leftover 200g pumpkin purée, added some soy Protein mince, a full can of: cannellini beans, black beans and tomatoes and then all the other ingredients. It isn’t very spicy but easy to increase or decrease the heat level. Thank you Sally, I’ll be making some more once my freezer portions are depleted!

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