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Nik’s Pumpkin Chili

pumpkin chili

I would just like to note that this recipe was developed before the food industry decided to “pumpkin all the things” (as Shannon, your friendly neighborhood BF Facebook manager likes to say).

I mean honestly! I went to the grocery store the other day and they had an entire wall of pumpkin products. Pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin beverages, pumpkin candles, pumpkin everything! I mean…I love pumpkin as much as the next person, but frankly it was a bit ridiculous.

You know what isn’t ridiculous? This chili! Well…it’s ridiculously good. But that’s about it.

Backstory: In 2012 I attended the Fitbloggin’ Conference (a gathering of bloggers who focus on fitness) for the first time. It was here in Baltimore where I live. As a pre-conference event they offered a tour of the McCormick spice factory. Oh. Em. Gee. That was one of the best foodie experiences of my life!

As a part of the festivities we got to watch food demos, participate in food focus groups (Including a neat one where I learned that the best way to lower the salt in your dishes without compromising flavor is to use finer ground salt. The smaller the salt crystal, the easier it is absorbed into the taste bud and the less you have to use!), and we were sent home with some serious swag, including a ton of spices. What you see below is Saigon Cinnamon (no idea what that means, by the way), which is what I used in this chili.

Saigon cinnamon

Armed with this inspiration and a new stash of spices to play with, I set out to remake a family favorite: chili. This remains one of my favorite chili variations of all time. LPD (my youngest daughter) loves it too. As for LGD (La Grande Diva, the elder child)…well…she resolutely refuses to accept pumpkin in chili and thus is invited to make her own dinner on nights when I make this! (Before you feel too sorry for her, she’s 16 and a half…).

Oh well…her loss, our gain! Enjoy.

Nik's Pumpkin Chili
Print Recipe
Classic chili gets a fall upgrade thanks to nutritient-packed pumpkin and a dash of cinnamon!
    Servings Prep Time
    4 people 20 minutes
    Cook Time
    30 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    4 people 20 minutes
    Cook Time
    30 minutes
    Nik's Pumpkin Chili
    Print Recipe
    Classic chili gets a fall upgrade thanks to nutritient-packed pumpkin and a dash of cinnamon!
      Servings Prep Time
      4 people 20 minutes
      Cook Time
      30 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      4 people 20 minutes
      Cook Time
      30 minutes
      Ingredients
      Optional
      Servings: people
      Instructions
      1.  Spray a pot generously with nonstick cooking spray (or with a teaspoon of the oil of your choice), set it over medium heat and allow it to get hot before adding onions and sauteeing until softened (about 2 minutes). Add garlic and sautee another minute or so.
      2. Add ground meat and cook until done through. Add all beans and stir completely.
      3. Add soup, pumpkin and spices and stir again. Allow it to come to a boil.
      4. Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 30 minutes (this recipe is an especially good "next day" recipe so consider making it the night before).
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      10 comments

      1. Anonymous

        Sounds yummy, except waay too beany for me! I wonder if I substituted more meat if it would still work? Hmmm…

      2. Nikki Massie

        Why not? Play with your food!

      3. Anonymous

        Sounds like my dinner on sunday. I will have to hide the can of pumpkin from my teen boys though – on second thought, leftovers are pretty great!

      4. Footnotes

        Oh. my. freakin. heck! Absolutely delicious!

      5. Anonymous

        Ok … wasnt thrilled with this recipe. Sorry. Added can of petite tomatoes, water, salt and more chili powder. I finished it, shared it but probably wont make it again. But i love you and your site. Keep doing what your doing!

      6. Nikki Massie

        Hi Anonymous,

        Rule #1 of Bariatric Foodie, NEVER apologize for not liking something. You tried it, which I think was awesome!

        The second rule is a personal request. WHY didn't you like it? Was the flavor too weak? Strong? The texture? That will help your fellow Foodies know what they might want to adjust in their versions.

        Thanks for trying the recipe and keep playing with your food!

      7. Stacy

        Made it. Loved it. Did not have tomato soup so subbed 6 oz tomato paste and added an extra cup of water. Also added a splick of ground nutmeg and a couple dashes of tabasco. Yum.

      8. Amy

        Nik, where do you get your sugar free tomato soup, and what brand is it? I haven't have any luck finding any here in Indianapolis. The best I have seen so far is the Healthy Request Cambell's, but it's just lower sugar. Thanks 🙂

      9. Nikki Massie

        Amy. The recipe actually calls for no-sugar added tomato soup, not sugar-free (small word difference but BIG meaning difference!). The NSA stuff just means they didn't add any additional sugar to it. But tomatoes are a fruit and have fructose so there will be some sugar in it naturally. I hope that helps!

      10. Amy

        Sorry, I actually knew what you meant, just typed it wrong, lol. I never did find any without some sort of sugar, whether it be HFCS or some natural sugar. I'll just use the Healthy Request.

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