I don’t know about you, but when I think of pumpkin I automatically think of two things: pumpkin pie and Halloween.
A less known fact is how versatile pumpkins really are to eat. To be specific, pumpkin is often added to smoothies, muffins, soups, and pasta. The sweet earthy flavor of pumpkin is a perfect addition to many meals and snacks.
There are actually two main types of pumpkin you can buy in the grocery store. There are the typical carving pumpkins that are usually very large and therefore perfect for carving ghosts and witches. They have a thin skin or wall, making it super easy to cut into and to remove its seeds and stringy centers. Because of their thin wall and less “meat,” they are not the easiest to cook and bake.Pumpkins are not only for carving and pies - try this healthy and delicious Pumpkin Chili Click To Tweet
In contrast there are the sweet or sugar pumpkins, these are smaller in diameter and have a thick wall. They are sweeter and “meatier” than a carving pumpkin, making it perfect for cooking and eating. Sugar pumpkins are often used for pumpkin pies, and can be used in many other recipes including soups and stews.
In case you were not aware, Pumpkins are actually very nutrient dense fruits. Yes, they are actually considered fruits although they are often called vegetables. This is because they are actually the flower of the plant and contain the seeds, which is by definition a fruit.
Pumpkins are rich in vitamin A, which is displayed by their deep orange color. In fact, one cup of pumpkin contains almost 200% of our daily vitamin A needs, and also contains about 20% of our daily vitamin C.
Throughout the cold fall and winter months, a staple in our home is Chili. It is the perfect comfort food, and it can be made in so many different ways, all with different and varying ingredients.
Immediately after Halloween, one of the local farms had all of the remaining pumpkins for 50% off. I couldn’t resist the temptation so I picked up a few pumpkins, with no idea of what I was going to do with them.
A few days later we were driving home from a cold hike in the mountains when my partner said he was craving chili. An immediate light went off in my head, and I thought ‘pumpkin would taste amazing in a chili.’
As a result I came home and made my staple chili recipe with the addition of pumpkin, and it couldn’t be more delicious. In fact, the sweet flavor of the pumpkin is the perfect addition to the savory taste of chili.
I used ground chicken to make it leaner with less calories, and use low sodium chicken broth to keep the sodium content down. This Pumpkin Chili recipe is also high in protein and fiber.
To make the Pumpkin Chili, spray a large dutch oven with cooking spray and heat to medium-high. Firstly, add the ground chicken and onion and cook until onion is translucent and chicken is no longer pink. This should take about 7 minutes, making sure to occasionally break up chicken with a spatula into small pieces.
Then add the tomato paste and garlic, stirring for about 30 seconds until combined. Add the rest of the ingredients up until the chicken stock to the dutch oven. Heat on high until boiling, then lower to simmer and cook for about 30-35 minutes, or until pumpkin pieces are tender.
Lastly, remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Portion into individual bowls and top with shredded cheese (optional) and additional cilantro to garnish (optional). If your not a huge cilantro fan, you could also substitute with parsley.
- 1 lb ground chicken breast
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 cup sweet pumpkin, cut into bite size pieces
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp oregano, dried
- 1.5 tsp ground cumin
- 796mL diced tomatoes, no salt added
- 540mL dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 540mL black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2.5 cup water
- 1.5 cup chicken stock, low sodium
- 1/2 tsp cilantro, dried
- Shredded cheese (optional)
- Spray a dutch oven with cooking spray and cook to medium-high heat. Add ground chicken and onion and cook until onion translucent and chicken no longer pink, about 7 minutes making sure to break up chicken with spatula into small pieces.
- Add the tomato paste and garlic, stirring for about 30 seconds until combined. Then add the rest of the ingredients up to chicken stock to the dutch oven. Heat on high until boiling, and then lower to simmer and cook for about 30-35 minutes, or until pumpkin pieces tender.
- When done, stir in the cilantro and served topped with shredded cheese (optional) and additional cilantro for garnish (optional)
350 calories, 9g fat, 46g carbohydrate, 11g fiber, 25g protein