As a little girl, I knew that Thanksgiving and Christmas were not far away as soon as I smelled my wonderful mom's delicious chili simmering on the stovetop. And I can still remember my dear Uncle Jim - who always made people smile - serving up his massive pot of chili at the big pre-Christmas gatherings on my Dad's side of the family.
So aside from the fact that chili is scrumptious, super EASY to make, budget-friendly, terrific for warming up when it's cold outside, tastes better with time, and freezes well - it makes my heart SO HAPPY when I think about all of the terrific family food memories that revolve around this soup.
And then there are pumpkins. I'm pretty obsessed with this vibrant fruit during this time of the year. I see a pumpkin and instantly feel warm and fuzzy inside thinking about how I used to go trick-or-treating with my friends and would store my candy in my plastic pumpkin carrier - while admiring the perfectly carved pumpkins on the surrounding front porches. Not to mention the decades of happily sitting around the table with my family on Thanksgiving while savoring a piece of pumpkin pie.
While I enjoy roasting different types of squash in the oven, I really appreciate the convenience of using canned 100% pure pumpkin in certain dishes - like my Fiery Pumpkin Hummus and Pumpkin Cinnamon Overnight Oats (This is not a sponsored post. I just prefer Libby's for my recipes).
And lately I've been enjoying adding pumpkin to chili! Yep. Chili. In addition to being delicious, this is such a great way to use any leftover canned pumpkin before Spring hits! Now I'd love to say that I'm the first person in the universe who decided that pumpkin should be added to chili. But there are tons of pumpkin chili versions out there. However, this version that I'm sharing today is my classic turkey chili that my family and I have enjoyed for years, with the pumpkin added to it.
Quite honestly, I barely taste the pumpkin in this soup. So why do I sometimes add it to this dish? Aside from being scrumptious and a great way to use up canned squash, the pumpkin adds a velvety texture and a more vibrant color. Plus it screams, "It's Fall y'all!" And when I admire this beautiful tree below while making this chili, I totally have the Fall feels.
But back to this soup! If you're wanting to taste a lot of pumpkin in this chili, I encourage you to experiment with this dish and add some extra pure pumpkin - little by little - until it satisfies your pumpkin preference. But for me, I'll stick with this dish primarily tasting like savory turkey chili - while rocking a very subtle pumpkin flavor - and sporting a velvety texture with some pumpkin brightness.
And if you would prefer to make a vegetarian version of this soup, you can always add some extra beans, use lentils, or experiment with soy crumbles or tempeh. You can adjust the amounts of plant protein and seasoning as needed! If you make this dish, I'd love to know how it turns out! Happy cooking and eating!
Yield: Around 8 cups (Allow yourself to listen to your hunger/fullness cues)
1 tablespoon Canola oil (Or olive oil)
1 1/4 cup white onion, minced
8 ounces ground turkey
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
2 15-ounce cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (Or 3 1/2 cups cooked beans)
1 15-ounce can 100% Pure Pumpkin (Not the pie filling)
1 1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons chili powder (Adjust to taste)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (Adjust to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper
Scallions, minced, for garnish (Optional)
Greek yogurt or sour cream, for garnish (Optional)
Shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, for garnish (Optional)
Crackers, for garnish (Optional)
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick dutch oven or stockpot, using the medium heat setting. When the oil is hot, place the onions in the pot, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes. Then add the ground turkey - breaking it into pieces with a long spoon - stirring frequently until browned.
2. Next, add the diced tomatoes, beans, pumpkin, and water. Stir the mixture a few times. Then add the chili powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper, stirring well. Bring the soup to a boil, followed by simmering on low for about 25-30 minutes.
3. Adjust seasonings to taste. Remove from heat and serve! Enjoy!