If you want a protein and fiber-packed meal that is easy to make, this turkey pumpkin chili is for you. Filled with pumpkin puree, beans, ground turkey, and plenty of spices, this chili recipe is the perfect balance of healthy and hearty and great for weeknights, weekends, or a big game day.
If you’re skeptical about adding pumpkin puree to your chili, I can assure you you’re not alone. Although it may sound a little different, trust me, it works! The combination of pumpkin puree, tomatoes, and spices creates a lovely balance of smoky, spicy, and a little sweet, and gives a wonderful depth of flavor to turkey chili, which (let’s be honest) can sometimes be a little bland. So, if you’re willing to give it a try, I think you’ll find it’s unexpectedly delicious.
What You’ll Need
You’ll need the following ingredients to make my turkey pumpkin chili:
- Ground Turkey: You can use ground turkey breast or ground turkey thighs.
- Pumpkin Puree: To thicken the chili, add some fiber, and add that pumpkin flavor.
- Beans: The recipe calls for a combination of black beans and kidney beans but feel free to use any beans you like.
- Canned Tomatoes: To add some liquid, texture, and flavor.
- Broth: To prevent the meat from drying out and add flavor. The recipe calls for chicken broth, but you can certainly use turkey broth if you have some, or use vegetable broth instead.
- Chili Powder: Not to be confused with ground chile, chili powder is a seasoning blend that typically includes ground dried chiles, cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, and onion powder.
- Ground Cumin: To add a bit more flavor.
- Ground Cinnamon: To add some warmth to the dish.
In addition to the above, you’ll need some cooking essentials in the form of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
To Make it Gluten-Free: The recipe is gluten-free, just be sure to use gluten-free broth.
To Make it Dairy-Free: The recipe is dairy-free, no adaptations are needed.
Make it Low-Sodium: Use low-sodium canned tomatoes, low-sodium chicken broth, and low-sodium beans. You can also swap the canned tomatoes for fresh tomatoes and canned beans for home-cooked beans to reduce the sodium content further.
Red’s Nutrition Tip
To be clear, classic beef chili with beans is healthy, high in protein, and high in fiber, this turkey pumpkin chili is simply a different way to do it. The use of ground turkey helps to keep the protein content high while keeping the calories moderate to low, and the addition of pumpkin puree adds an additional boost of fiber.
How to Make Turkey Pumpkin Chili
Making turkey chili with pumpkin is just as easy as making beef chili, you just need to make one swap and one addition. Here’s what you’ll do:
- Brown the turkey.
- Cook the veggies.
- Add the spices.
- Add the pumpkin puree.
- Add the tomatoes and broth.
- Simmer and serve!
Honestly, it’s that simple. In a few simple steps, you can create a hearty and filling turkey in less than 1 hour. And the best part is it keeps really well in the fridge and freezer so once you whip up a batch you can enjoy it for days to come.
Why put pumpkin in chili?
Adding pumpkin to chili helps to thicken the chili, increase the fiber content, and add a creaminess and slight sweetness at the same time. While people often think of pumpkins as an ingredient for sweet dishes, such as pies and muffins, pumpkin works incredibly well in savory dishes too. On its own pumpkin, much like other squash varieties, has an earthy and nutty taste. While roasting it does bring out a slight sweetness it’s not overpowering and, therefore, still works well in savory recipes such as chili.
Does turkey chili taste different than beef chili?
Turkey has a much milder flavor than beef, so using ground turkey in chili as opposed to ground beef does provide a slightly different flavor. Ground turkey is also much leaner than ground beef so the flavor is not quite as rich, however, using ground turkey thighs as opposed to ground turkey breast can help to provide an additional depth of flavor. Ultimately, it comes down to personal and dietary preference as both options work very well.
Can you make it in a slow cooker?
Yup! Simply brown the ground turkey, then add all of the ingredients to a slow cooker, stir to combine, and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
What to Serve with Turkey Pumpkin Chili
While you can certainly enjoy this pumpkin turkey chili on its own, pairing it with a side can help to stretch it into more portions and make it a more balanced meal. Since the chili is high in protein and fiber, moderate and carbohydrates, and low in fat, it’s best paired with a source of complex carbohydrates and some healthy fats.
The best sides for turkey chili:
- Brown Rice
- Tortilla Chips
The best toppings for turkey chili:
- Cheddar cheese
- Sour cream
- Greek yogurt
- Green onion
Storage + Reheating
To Store: Allow the chili to cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight container, and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
To Freeze: Once the chili has cooled, transfer it to an airtight container or containers if storing individual portions, and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To Reheat: The chili can be reheated in a pot on the stovetop on medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes or in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl or container for 2-3 minutes.
More Healthy Chili Recipes:Print
Turkey Pumpkin Chili
Filled with pumpkin puree, beans, and ground turkey, this turkey pumpkin chili is a fiber and protein-packed one-pot meal that works well for lunch, dinner, or meal prep.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 can (14 oz.) pumpkin puree
- 1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes
- 1 can (14 oz.) black beans, strained and rinsed
- 1 can (14 oz.) red kidney beans, strained and rinsed
- 2 cups chicken broth, or vegetable broth
- Avocado, to serve (optional)
- Shredded cheese, to serve (optional)
- Chopped cilantro, to serve (optional)
- Chopped green onion, to serve (optional)
- In a large pot on medium-high heat, warm the olive oil, then add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until tender.
- Add the ground turkey to the pot and cook, seasoning it with a pinch of salt and breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula, for another 5 minutes or until cooked through.
- Add the garlic and bell pepper and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
- Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, ground cinnamon, and salt, and cook for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the pumpkin puree, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth, and stir to combine. Then add the black beans and kidney beans, and stir again to combine.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes.
- Once cooked, taste the chili and adjust the salt and pepper seasoning as needed, you may need a little extra salt depending on the brand of your chicken broth.
- The chili can be served immediately or cooled and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 338 calories
- Sugar: 7 grams
- Fat: 12 grams
- Carbohydrates: 36 grams
- Fiber: 12 grams
- Protein: 25 grams
Keywords: healthy, easy, creamy