Warm up with a bowl of this scrumptious Vegan Pumpkin Chili tonight … it’s super easy to make, loaded with veggies, and full of comforting fall flavors!
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Chilly weather has finally arrived here in Texas, which means I’m craving all things cozy. Call me basic, but that means lots of pumpkin!
Pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cheesecake … yum! It’s virtually impossible to resist these sweet treats, but this favorite fall veggie works just as well in more savory dishes, too. Like this amazing Pumpkin Chili, which has been on repeat in my kitchen all season long.
This easy chili recipe is classic comfort food. It’s thick, hearty, and full of warm autumn flavors that are 100% crave worthy. And like all of my vegetarian chili recipes, it’s made with healthy ingredients. Which means that it’s basically the perfect fall recipe!
Have I made you hungry yet? Keep reading for all the delicious details, then make a batch tonight!
This Pumpkin Veggie Chili uses a combination of basic, yet flavorful ingredients—canned beans and tomatoes, fresh and frozen veggies, and savory spices—that you can find in almost any grocery store. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Cooking Oil – I used olive oil, but canola, vegetable, etc. would also work.
- Beans – The recipe calls for a combo of pinto and black beans.
- Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes – Choose an unflavored variety.
- Pumpkin Puree – Make sure to use pure pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling.
- Fresh Veggies – Onions, red bell pepper, jalapeño, and sweet potato.
- Frozen Corn – You could use fresh corn if you catch it in season.
- Fresh Garlic – Avoid the bottled stuff.
- Spices – A delicious combination of Chili Powder, Cumin, Oregano, and Cinnamon.
- Vegetable Broth – I make my own using vegetable bouillon … that way, I always have some on hand.
- Salt – I prefer to use Kosher Salt.
Apart from the veggies, most of the ingredients you’ll need are convenience items that require almost no prep. Which means it’s quick and easy. Best of all, this meatless chili is vegan, vegetarian, dairy free, and gluten free, so everyone can enjoy it! (Always double-check labels if you have an allergy.)
This recipe makes a big batch, so grab a dutch oven or large soup pot, too. This Calphalon dutch oven is my favorite.
Want to change things up a bit? Here are some easy substitution ideas:
- Sweet Potato – I love the combination of roasted sweet potato and canned pumpkin puree here. In my opinion, sweet potato has way more flavor than fresh pumpkin, and it really enhances the recipe’s overall pumpkin flavor. However, you could replace the sweet potato with fresh pumpkin, and you could also use fresh pumpkin puree instead of canned (you’d need 1 3/4 cup). Make sure to choose a sugar / pie pumpkin if you do, not a jack-o-lantern type pumpkin.
- Beans – Any combination of beans will work for this recipe. Depending on what’s in your pantry, try using all black beans, all pinto, or even swap in others, like kidney beans.
- Spices – I used my favorite chili spices (chili powder, cumin, and oregano), along with ground cinnamon here. You could replace the cinnamon with a pumpkin spice mixture if you have it on hand. Other spices, like smoked paprika, would also be tasty.
- Herbs – A couple tablespoons of fresh cilantro stirred in at the end would be an excellent finishing touch.
- Milder Chili – This recipe is fairly mild as written. But if you can’t stand even a little kick, then you can easily tone things down by leaving out the jalapeño and by using mild chili powder.
- Hotter Chili – Make this recipe spicier by leaving the seeds in the jalapeño, adding extra jalapeños, using other chiles (like chipotle peppers), choosing a spicy chili powder, or by adding a few dashes of your fave hot sauce. This Secret Aardvark Sauce is my favorite!
How to Make Pumpkin Chili
Okay, let’s get started! You’ll roast the sweet potatoes first.
Cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes, then place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle them with oil and sprinkle salt, then toss everything together (clean hands work great for this).
Roast the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes, then flip them and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until they’re tender and browned on the edges. Once they’re done, set them aside until the chili finishes cooking.
Tip: Roasting the sweet potatoes really enhances their taste, which in turn, brings out the overall pumpkin flavor of the recipe. It also allows this thick, hearty chili to cook much faster than if the potatoes were simmered along with the other ingredients.
While the potatoes cook, you can begin working on the rest of the chili.
Heat the oil in large dutch oven or soup pot. Add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño, then saute them until they’re tender, stirring occasionally. It should take about 10 minutes or so.
Next, you’re going to add the fresh garlic and spices. Cook everything for another minute, making sure to stir constantly to prevent the garlic and spices from burning.
After a minute, add all the remaining ingredients: beans, tomatoes, pumpkin puree, broth and corn. Then, cook the chili at a lively simmer until it thickens. It should only take about 20 to 30 minutes more.
Make sure to stir the chili occasionally as it cooks to prevent it from sticking to the pot.
Once the chili has thickened, stir in the roasted sweet potatoes. Then, season the chili to taste with salt.
And that’s all there is to it … your cozy, comforting Pumpkin Chili is ready to eat.
Wasn’t that easy? And the results are so delicious. I predict that you’re going to make this tasty recipe every fall from now on!
My favorite thing about chili just might be the toppings … there are so many fun options to choose from!
I garnished my bowl with sour cream and sliced jalapeños. Here are some other delicious ideas:
- Shredded Cheese – Try sharp cheddar or pepper jack. (Choose a nondairy variety if you want to keep things vegan.)
- Chopped Onions – Rinse the onions under cold water after chopping them to take the bite away.
- Sliced Green Onions
- Diced Avocado
- Chopped Tomatoes
- Sliced or Chopped Olives
- Lime Wedges
- Chopped Cilantro
- Corn Chips
- Tortilla Chips
- Hot Sauce – Like I mentioned above, I’m all about this Secret Aardvark Habanero Sauce.
What to Serve with Chili
This Pumpkin Chili is super thick and hearty. It makes a great meal in a bowl, no sides required!
If you’d like to round out your meal a bit more, I’d recommend serving it with corn bread or corn muffins. An easy Chopped Salad, or even a simple Massaged Kale Salad, would also make a tasty pairing.
This recipe makes about 12 cups of chili (six to eight servings). Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in your refrigerator for about four days. This chili also freezes well and will keep for a couple months in the freezer.
Not a fan of leftovers? Shake things up the next day by making this Easy Frito Pie!
More Vegetarian Chili Recipes
Searching for your go-to chili? Try one of my other recipes next:
- Vegetarian Chili … my favorite classic veggie chili recipe. So delish!
- Crock Pot Spicy 3 Bean Chili
- Vegetarian White Bean Chili
- Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Chili
Looking for more savory pumpkin recipes? Then, you’ll love my Easy Pumpkin Curry, Roasted Pumpkin Salad, Pumpkin Risotto, and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, too! And you can find all of my pumpkin recipes here, including lots of sweet treats.
Vegan Pumpkin Chili
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons cooking oil, divided
- 1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 (14.5-ounce) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup frozen corn
- kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Combine sweet potatoes and 1 tablespoon oil on a baking sheet. Season with salt to taste; mix well.
- Roast sweet potatoes for 15 minutes. Flip, then cook until tender and lightly browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat.
- Add onions, red pepper, and jalapeño to oil. Season with salt, then saute until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Mix garlic and spices (chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cinnamon) into veggies. Cook for one minute, stirring constantly.
- Add beans, tomatoes, pumpkin puree, broth, and corn to veggies. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a lively simmer. Continue cooking until chili has thickened, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir sweet potatoes into chili, then generously season to taste with salt.
- Serve chili hot with your choice of toppings. Enjoy!