Looking To Make Your Chili Healthier? Check Out Pumpkin

September 11, 2013   20 Comments

Snack Girl posted this chili recipe with pumpkin last year and people are still talking about it. Yes, it was a hit.

Pumpkin Chili

Why add pumpkin to your chili?

It’s cheap, easy, and has 763% of your daily value of vitamin A in one cup (and only 83 calories). You can sneak a bunch of nutrition into food by adding pumpkin.

After creating a no bake pumpkin cookie and a pumpkin smoothie (see below), I decided to try a savory dish. This chili recipe below is the healthiest chili (with meat) that I have ever made. It boasts 28% of your daily value of iron, 45% of your daily value of vitamin C, and 293% of your daily value of vitamin A per serving.

This is like a nutritional "rock star" chili. I used ground turkey breast because it is low in saturated fat and beans, corn, and tomatoes to up the vegetable content.

I did think the flavor was nice, but missing the depth of a beef chili. I might sneak a wee bit of cheese on top of mine to make it taste a bit more luxurious. The pumpkin made it a great color and added a creaminess to the chili.

As we greet fall, it is time to stock up on cans of pumpkin.

What do you think? Did you try pumpkin chili?

Pumpkin Chili Recipe

1.6 from 24 reviews

(makes 6 servings)

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1 tablespoon vegetable oil (such as canola, sunflower, etc.)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb ground turkey breast meat
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon oregano
1 small can diced green chili peppers
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup corn kernels, frozen or fresh
1 28 ounce can tomatoes
1 can cooked pumpkin
salt and pepper to taste


In a large saucepan, heat oil and add onion. When onion has softened add turkey and cook until cooked through (should look white). Add the rest of the ingredients and taste to adjust seasonings. Simmer for 10 minutes and seve.

Nutrition Facts

For one serving = 268 calories, 4.7 g fat, 32 g carbohydrates, 8.7 g sugar, 26.3 g protein, 10.2 g fiber, 399 mg sodium, 6 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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Vegetarians often add a tablespoon or two of peanut butter for richness....

I LOVE pumpkin chili. I sneak it in all the time. Thanks for the reminder!

When you say "cooked pumpkin" is that the same as pumpkin puree??

And a side note - I cannot wait to make this!!!

This is one of my favs. I also use turkey instead of beef and add red pepper to give it a boost.

This looks delicious and I like one poster's idea of adding peanut butter. I never would have thought of that. Thanks for the great recipe and suggestions!

HEY SG- Wait a day, the flavors will deepen and it will taste great :)

I used to use ground turkey instead of beef when I first started WW. Then I discovered that a low-fat ground beef (96/4%) that I find at Target has the same points as turkey and better flavor. I will try adding pumpkin to my own healthy, low-fat chili recipe - never hurts to sneak in more veggies, especially for the grandkids :-) Been doing that for 40 years - amazing what healthy things you can hide in chili! Note that a 1/2 cup finely chopped steamed cauliflower added when I defrost and reheat a container extends the portion of chili without changing the flavor. Adding cauliflower when making the original recipe didn't work as well.

What size can of pumpkin did you use?

This seems like a great recipe; can't wait to try it! Two questions: What is the serving size- one cup? And, assume you use a 15-16 ounce can of pumpkin...thanks SG!

I have a freezer full of beef (venison, etc) would it work ok with that instead of ground turkey?

Besides a can of tomatoes, you can also add finely chopped sun dried tomatoes (idea from Jamie Oliver) for extra flavor and boost in healthy lycophene.

The can of pumpkin is whatever size they come in - which I believe is 16 ounces. Don't worry too much if it is more or less. I did mean pumpkin puree

Use beef, venison, chicken, whatever - it will work.

Finally, the serving size here is one cup. Thanks for all of your questions!

This recipe is fantastic!!!

Pumpkin actually comes in 2 sizes-a large can for 29 oz. and a smaller size, probably half that size. I usually buy the large one as it is a better buy. So,I will use half of the large can. The recipe sounds great and I have everything on hand so am making this tomorrow. Thank you for this great recipe.

I often use ground venison in chili, my daughter never knew! Great flavor from it. Love the pumpkin addition; I will try for sure. You can make great cookies or muffins with that leftover canned pumpkin if you get the big can.

I use canned pumpkin in my chili, in a recipe rather like the one you have posted. I was wary at first, thinking that it might have a strong flavor, but it was delicious. I also sub pumpkin for tomato paste in my pasta sauce.

Making this now, great recipe. I also added a dash of Worcestershire and 2T of dark cocoa. The cocoa adds a great taste and look.

I made this chili recipe yesterday. I doubled the recipe and added ground up carrots, a jalapeno pepper ground up and red pepper flakes. It was not very hot but sure did taste good. I made a full crock pot full and I put most of it in the freezer. I also added some chicken broth as it was too thick.

I made this last night. My kitchen smelled like fall! It was mighty tasty and made a lot, so I'll be having more tonight. Thanks for making my chili healthier.

Hey Snack Girl! What would be the nutritional content if you took out the turkey?

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