Dishing Up the Dirt

Pumpkin Chili

Alright folks, now that you have my recipe for pumpkin cornbread I think it’s time to whip up a batch of this pumpkin chili to serve along with it! This chili is packed with hearty ingredients and makes for a filling, nourishing meal. I added ground beef to this because we were serving this to our daughter and I wanted her to have the extra iron, but I imagine this chili would taste really good served vegetarian. So feel free to go either way here!

This is a really simple recipe that comes together with minimal effort and simmers away on the stovetop for a few hours. It’s also one of those meals that gets better with age so leftovers taste awesome all week long! We made this a few weeks ago with the first sugar pumpkins of the season from the farm, and we’re making it again on Halloween. It’s so darn delicious and the cornbread I posted yesterday is a great addition! I hope you all enjoy this cozy meal as much as we do.

Cheers from Tumbleweed Farm.

pumpkin chili

Prep Time: overnight (for soaking the beans)    Cook Time: 3-4 hours    Serves: 8

  • 1/2 pound kidney beans, soaked in water overnight
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon oil or butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • fat pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups cubed pumpkin or winter squash (any variety will work)
  • 1 (28 ounce) jar of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • Plain yogurt for serving
  • cilantro for serving
  • chili flakes for serving


  1. Drain and rinse the soaked beans and set them aside.
  2. Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high. Add the ground beef and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat a bit, until cooked through. About 5-8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the heat and keep to the side.
  3. Add the oil or butter to the skillet and add the onion, peppers, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano and plenty of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies soften, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and give the mixture a good stir until everything is evenly coated.  Add the cubed pumpkin along with the tomatoes and reserved ground beef and beans. Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer on low for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until the beans are tender and the chili has thickened. Stir the chili every 30 minutes or so and add more water if needed.


*Use this recipe as a guide and adjust measurments and ingredients as necessary.

Leave a Reply

7 thoughts on “Pumpkin Chili

  1. Pat Aresty says:

    Sounds and looks delicious Andrea! Question: when you call for chili powder, what do you mean? Something like ancho chili powder or a spice blend called chili powder?

    1. Andrea says:

      Hi Pat! For this recipe you’ll be looking for chili powder the spice blend. Which includes a variety of different spices. Avoid using strictly ancho chili powder as that’s just one spice and for this we’re looking for more depth from the blend. I hope that’s helpful! Let me know if you try this!

  2. Peter Dowd says:

    I plan on making this today. Wouldn’t the pumpkin disintegrate after 3.5 – 4 hours of cooking?

    1. Peter Dowd says:

      Great dish. I just held out the pumpkin until the last 45 minutes or so.

  3. Saskia says:

    Do you use dried kidney beans for this or are these precooked?

    1. Andrea says:

      Yes! They’re dried and soaked overnight. Please see step one! XO

  4. Jamie says:

    Made this tonight in prep for a camping trip. I used the version from your Let Them Eat Dirt book and holy cow this is the best chili I have ever had. I even had a neighbor comment how good it smelled. He couldn’t believe it had pumpkin in it! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

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