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.

2 images of 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 in a pot

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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65 Comments

  1. Just have to comment as I’ve finally gotten round to make this…must be because of all those canned goods I stocked thanks to . Lol!
    Anyway, it’s super tasty and pairs really well with that delicious cornbread recipe of yours! 😉
    I know your blog is about baking, but your savoury recipes are standouts!

  2. Terrific combination of flavors, chili made lighter by the pumpkin and cinnamon flavors.

  3. Love this recipe! I opted for upping the spices a bit and it is delicious. I look forward to making it again and adding roasted zucchini and mushrooms.

  4. I am excited to try this! I just had a question, can you double this recipe or would you recommend making it in two seperate batches? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Madison, As long as your pot is large enough you should be able to double this recipe. Enjoy!

  5. Made this the other day and turned out great! Doubled the recipe, have plenty left over to freeze for the cold fall/winter days!

  6. I made this the night before a camping trip. It was easy to pack up and reheat over the fire. Perfect for a crisp fall night under the stars!

    I added extra sweet potatoes for more heartiness, and an extra can of beans, so I had to add in an extra cup of broth to it. Everyone loved it. Thank you so much for this recipe!

  7. This chili is fabulous

  8. Hi Sally,
    I did use my IP to make this. I used the sauté function and followed step 1. Then I added all remaining ingredients omitting the beans. Set to manual for 10 minutes and then did a quick release. I then added the beans and brought to a boil again on sauté function. I didn’t want the canned beans to disintegrate into the chili.
    Anyway it’s a great recipe, I love the canned pumpkin in there, especially since this time of year I open a can and use 1/2c-1cup for a recipe. This is a great way to use up the rest!

    1. Hi Tara! Thanks for your tip on how you made this with the IP. It helped a lot!

  9. Perfect for a chilly fall day. Delicious and easy to make-thanks, Sally! We served it with garlic bread. Yum!

  10. This was delicious. I used my IP for this too. I cooked the kidney and black beans from scratch and added 1/2″ cut raw pumpkin and followed Tara’s tips. I served it with jalapeno corn bread. So filling. So yummy. Will definitely be making this again. Thank you!

  11. Wow! I didnt have any canned tomatoes so I just chopped up some fresh ones and added in 1/4 cup of tomato paste. Also used less chilli powder and added in some pumpkin spice seasoning. Amazing!

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