The fall harvest is all about pumpkins. And what better way to enjoy pumpkin than with a seasonal vegetarian pumpkin chili recipe? This vegetarian chili with rice recipe is both healthy and nutritious. It also makes a comforting meal throughout the fall season in under 30 minutes.
Fall means pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin pie. I do enjoy sweet pumpkin foods, but I also really enjoy savory pumpkin dishes. This vegetarian pumpkin chili recipe makes a hearty meal for fall. It takes less than half an hour to get dinner on the table. So it’s perfect for weeknight dinners.
The first time I had squash in a chili recipe was when my friend cooked dinner for me. She’s big on cooking with a variety of fresh foods for their health benefits. For this particular dish, she threw in cubed butternut squash. It added a meaty texture to the chili and tasted amazing! Not only was it heart healthy, it also helped her save on her grocery bill when her food budget was tight. Inspired by my friend’s butternut squash chili, I really wanted to create a healthy vegetarian pumpkin chili recipe.
This vegetarian pumpkin chili with rice recipe is Mexican inspired. Therefore, it’s similar to the chili that you probably grew up with and probably make for your family. It has beans, corn, and tomatoes. However, it also has pumpkin puree and even pumpkin pie spice for a fun twist on the classic chili recipe.
Nutritional Benefits of Pumpkin
Pumpkin is a very healthy food, so I like to incorporate it into foods when I can. Pumpkins get their natural bright orange color from beta carotene. Beta carotene is a powerful antioxidant that your body converts to vitamin A.
In addition to vitamin A, pumpkin is high in vitamins E, C, and some types of B vitamins. Pumpkin puree is also a good source of potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Pumpkin puree is kind of magical in that it just blends in with other foods, and you don’t even notice that it’s there. If you like regular chili, then you won’t notice the difference in texture for this pumpkin chili recipe. This is a great way to sneak some extra vitamins and minerals into your and your family’s diets!
If prefer chili with a meatier texture, you can add cubed pumpkin or butternut squash to this dish as well.
Like regular chili, this vegetarian pumpkin chili recipe gets better with time. You can make it and serve it within half an hour on a weeknight, but don’t be surprised when it tastes even better the next day. Sometimes I even make it in the morning and then chill it and reheat it for dinner.
Leftovers last up to four days in the fridge, so you can even make it on the weekend and reheat it a few days later to really let the flavors meld together.
Pumpkin Chili Side Dishes
This vegetarian pumpkin chili recipe makes a quick hearty meal for a crisp fall day. I usually have just this chili and little else, or you can serve it with regular cornbread or even a sweet corn cake. Sometimes I even make it with nacho chips or a baked potato.
Freezing Leftover Pumpkin Chili
This vegetarian pumpkin chili recipe freezes wonderfully. I usually freeze half it to eat later so I can take a night off of cooking. I recommend using freezer containers or freezer bags so it doesn’t get freezer burnt. When you want to eat it, let it thaw in the fridge overnight and heat it the next day.
Making Pumpkin Chili in a Slow Cooker
Just like regular chili, this vegetarian pumpkin chili cooks well in a slow cooker. Just put all of the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours or on low for 4 to 5 hours. I sometimes turn mine on warm and let it sit for 1 to 2 hours before I eat so the flavors have more time to meld.
Pumpkin Chili Toppings
I usually eat my vegetarian pumpkin chili with rice. However, sometimes I get fancy and add some toppings. Just like regular chili, it tastes delicious with cheese sprinkled on top and even a dollop of sour cream. I’ve also added diced avocado or a few spoonfuls of guacamole.
If you don’t want to serve your chili with rice, it’s also great served over quinoa, a healthy, protein rich grain.
Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili Recipe
1 can (240 g) pumpkin purée
1 can (250 g) red beans, drain and wash
1 can (250 g) chickpea, drain and wash
1 can (240 g) diced tomatoes
1/2 can (125 g) corn kernel, drain and wash
1 (60 g) onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (143 g) medium red bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup (80 ml / 76 g) tomato purée
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups rice
1/2 cup vegetable broth
Juice of half a lemon
3 tablespoons avocado oil
1 – 2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
To make my vegetarian pumpkin chili recipe with rice, begin by cooking the rice as instructed on the package. You can use white rice for this recipe. However, you can also use brown rice or wild rice.
While the rice cooks, heat a pot over medium heat on the stove with a drizzle of avocado oil. Once hot, fry the bell pepper, onion and garlic until tender.
Next, add the spices to the sauteed vegetables. Then stir to combine. Allow the vegetables and spices to cook briefly to bring out the flavors.
Now add the corn, red beans and chickpeas to the sauteed and seasoned vegetables. Stir to combine.
Then add the pumpkin purée, tomato purée, diced tomato, lemon juice and vegetable broth to the vegetarian pumpkin chili mixture. Mix well to fully incorporate the ingredients throughout.
Allow the vegetarian pumpkin chili to cook for 10 minutes on medium-low heat.
Adjust the taste of your chili with salt and pepper, as desired, just before removing from heat.
Finally, plate the pumpkin chili hot with rice. You can serve with lemon wedges on the side, if desired.
Skipping the rice? Try it with this kid-friendly cornbread recipe!
Substitutions for Chili Seasoning
You can also make this vegetarian pumpkin chili with rice recipe using a traditional chili seasoning. It’s easy to make your own healthy chili seasoning mix. Simply use 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of this chili seasoning mix recipe in place of the cumin and cayenne pepper called for in my vegetarian pumpkin chili recipe.
- 1 can (240 g) pumpkin purée
- 1 can (250 g) red beans, drain and wash
- 1 can (250 g) chickpea, drain and wash
- 1 can (240 g) diced tomatoes
- 1/2 can (125 g) corn kernel, drain and wash
- 1 (60 g) onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 (143 g) medium red bell pepper, diced
- 1/3 cup (80 ml / 76 g) tomato purée
- 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 cups rice
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- Juice of half a lemon
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Cook the rice as instructed on the package. You can use white, brown rice or wild rice.
- While the rice cooks, heat a pot over medium heat on the stove with a drizzle of avocado oil. Once hot, fry the bell pepper, onion and garlic until tender.
- Add the spices to the sauteed vegetables. Stir to combine. Allow the vegetables and spices to cook briefly to bring out the flavors.
- Add the corn, red beans and chickpeas to the sauteed and seasoned vegetables. Stir to combine.
- Add the pumpkin purée, tomato purée, diced tomato, lemon juice and vegetable broth to the mixture. Mix well to fully incorporate the ingredients throughout.
- Allow the chili to cook for 10 minutes on medium-low heat.
- Adjust the taste of your chili with salt and pepper, as desired, just before removing from heat.
- Finally, plate the pumpkin chili hot with rice with lemon wedges on the side, if desired.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 142Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 581mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 3gSugar: 10gProtein: 4g
This post originally appeared on Becca Ink.
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