Well, the rain is starting to settle in here in the Pacific Northwest. I’m not sure I’m ready for it. I LOVE the rain, but I don’t love that it lasts till about May. By Spring, I’m done. Haha. But I’m trying to embrace it by digging out my boots, scarves, and of course, my crock-pot. One of my FAVORITE feelings in the world is that feeling you get when you’re curled up on the couch in your cozies, watching the rain fall outside, and the smell of something delicious is cooking in the crock-pot. There’s nothing like a bowl of something warm and hearty to warm your body up and feed your soul. Mmmm, much like this Pumpkin Harvest Chili.
Growing up, I loved chili. We always had the canned chili that came in bulk from Costco. Full of beef, beans and all things delicious. I especially loved the corn bread served on the side, smothered in butter and honey. It was a dish I always went back for second helpings. Although canned chili is about as easy as it gets, crock-pot chili is a close second! You literally throw all of the ingredients into the pot and turn it on low. 7-8 hours later and BAM! Dinner is served. And it is filling, nutritious, and absolutely delicious!
No Beans, No Problem
One thing about this chili recipe that stands out is that there are NO BEANS. Chili without beans?? Yes, it is possible! This recipe is great for anyone who can’t tolerate legumes, such as myself. But don’t fret, the beans are replaced with veggies and sweet potato to give it lots of texture and heartiness. If you’re worried you won’t like the chili because of the veggies, don’t worry, they soak up the flavors of the chili and blend seamlessly. Even your kids will love it!
If you enjoy beans, go ahead and add 1-2 cans of chili beans. They are a great source of fiber and don’t need to be avoided if you tolerate them! Same goes for dairy. I didn’t garnish with any cheese or sour cream because I have to limit my dairy intake, but that doesn’t mean you need to! Add it if you enjoy it.
Pumpkin Harvest Chili
- 1 tablespoon garlic-infused olive oil (can use olive oil with 1 teaspoon minced garlic)
- 1 (16 oz) package ground turkey or beef (I used 90% lean)
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 2 tablespoons scallions, diced (can use ½ yellow onion)
- 1 large sweet potato, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 3 cups kale
- 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie puree)
- 3 cups of water
- Optional: diced avocado, cilantro, shredded cheese, sour cream
- Chili Spices Mix:
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1.5 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1.5 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat.
- Add diced bell pepper and scallions to pan and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the ground turkey and continue to cook until turkey is cooked all the way through, about 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- While the turkey is cooking, dice up the sweet potato, carrots and kale. I used kale from a package, but you can get bunches of kale, remove the leaves from the stem, and cut up into bite-size pieces.
- Place diced tomatoes, tomato paste, pumpkin puree and veggies (NOT the kale) into a crock-pot. Once the turkey is done cooking, add to the crock pot.
- Add the chili spice mix and water to the crock-pot and mix everything with a spoon until well distributed.
- Cover with lid and turn to low for 7-8 hours, or high for 4-5 hours.
- Add the kale 30 minutes before the chili is done cooking.
- Garnish with cilantro and diced avocado. You can add shredded cheese and sour cream if not avoiding dairy.
Enjoy, my friends! This is an easy weeknight dinner that cooks while you’re away at work, or you can make it on the weekend and share with your family and friends!