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I’ve been making chili for as long as I can remember, but a few years ago I started making pumpkin chili and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ll be honest I was very skeptical at first mixing cinnamon into chili, but it turned about incredible. Something about cumin and chili powder mixed with cinnamon really works! This recipe is a fall favorite in my house. Try it out!
Turkey Pumpkin Chili Ingredients
Ground Turkey: I like to make this chili with ground turkey, but you can use any kind of ground meat you’d like, including classic ground beef, ground chicken, or even plant-based options like Beyond Meat.
Onion, Garlic & Peppers: Adding onion, garlic, and bell peppers to this recipe adds texture and great flavor to the chili. The key is to cook down the onion until soft and caramelizing to get that deep flavor before adding in the spices.
Sweet Potatoes: Adding sweet potatoes to this chili adds some extra substance to the recipe and takes advantage of the beautiful in-season produce this time of year. Be sure to cut them into very small pieces, no bigger than 1/2-inch cubes, in order to get them nice and soft.
Spices: The spices you’ll need for the chili include chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, cinnamon, salt and black pepper. Do not skip the cinnamon, this is what will give you the pumpkin chili taste! Trust me on this one!
Kidney Beans: Red kidney beans are the typical bean used in chili, so that’s what you’ll want to use in this recipe. You could sub for another type of bean if you’d prefer, just follow the same cooking instructions.
Pumpkin Puree: We of course need pumpkin for pumpkin chili! While the pumpkin doesn’t actually add a ton of taste to the chili, the puree adds thickness and also gives you some great health benefits.
Crushed Tomatoes: A large can of crushed tomatoes is the main source of liquid for the chili. You could also use diced tomatoes, peeled tomatoes that you can break up with your hands, or even just tomato sauce if tomato pieces aren’t your thing. If you use sauce, you likely won’t need to add any water to thin it out.
Baking Soda: If you’re wondering why you’d need to add baking soda to chili, here’s why: adding baking soda actually makes the meat more tender after the protein strands are tightened during the cooking process. Go science!!
How To Make Turkey Pumpkin Chili
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TURKEY PUMPKIN CHILI
Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairty-Free
This pumpkin chili is a fall staple for me and my family, and I hope it’ll become one for yours too!
2 tbsp avocado or olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, de-seeded & diced (optional)
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, cubed (~1/4-1/2-inch cubes)
1 lb ground turkey
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 15oz can kidney beans
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
up to 1 cup of water as needed to thin
1 tsp baking soda
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until soft and beginning to caramelize, then add in the minced garlic, bell peppers, jalapeño, and sweet potatoes. Allow the potatoes to start crisping on the outside and for the peppers to get tender, about 10 minutes.
- Make an opening in the center of the pot and add in the ground turkey. Break it apart with a spatula and let it cook fully, stirring every few minutes.
- Once the turkey is cooled, add in all of the spices and mix to coat. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, until the spices are aromatic.
- Pour in the kidney beans, pumpkin puree, crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce, and any water as needed to reach desired thinness. Mix again.
- Cover the pot and bring the chili to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, until the sweet potatoes and kidney beans are tender to a fork.
- Add in the baking soda and stir it into the chili. Let the chili sit on low until serving or store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to four days or the freezer for a month.
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