RECIPE: sweet and spicy pumpkin chili, cooked


So I never really understood the whole pumpkin phenomenon but last year I decided to hop on the bandwagon for the sake of exploration (I’m all about exploration!) and I have to admit I still didn’t get it all that much. This year, however, it finally clicked because I made Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Chili.

I have always made a pretty spectacular chili that I developed quite a reputation for (even meat eaters requested it!) so when I decided to add some pumpkin to this thang I thought it would naturally be a hit.
It was indeed a hit.

I won’t bore you with any sort of story about this recipe because this was it: 
I woke up. 
I put the ingredients in the crock pot. 
I went for a run. 
I went to the beach. 
I went to an Afro Brazilian dance class with my girlfriend. 
I came home and showered. 
I photographed the chili and then I served it to my girlfriends at our Saturday book club.
At the book club–after we chatted about the book for a deep and magical hour–we cleared the table and loaded up our goods. We had pumpkin chili, my basic raw sour cream, some Brazilian collards, and homemade tea. A beautiful afternoon with some beautiful women. And a beautiful Miami canal view.

And I can’t tell if this recipe is spectacular because it was so effing delicious or if it’s because it allows you to have a spectacular day while all the flavors just get cozy with each other.
It’s perfect for those of us with busy lives AND for those of us with limited kitchen skills. Enjoy your pumpkin, people. 
Enjoy. Your. Pumpkin.
Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Chili, cooked
for the chili:
  • 1 can, each, black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans (drained)
  • 2-3 cups chopped squash/sweet/potato or pumpkin (I used butternut squash)
  • 4-5 tomatos, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock, as needed (water works as well)
  • 3-4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 2 T cinnamon
  • 2 t  cumin
  • 1/2 t allspice and ground cloves
  • 1/2 – 1 t chili flakes or cayenne, depending on your love of spicy-ness (I LOVE it)
  • sea salt and pepper as desired

for the raw sour cream:
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 t apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 t sea salt


for the chili:

  • Soak your cashews while the chili cooks.
  • In the bottom of the crock pot add the oil, chopped garlic, chopped onion, chopped celery and allow it to sauté in your crock pot* on the low setting.
  • Once the vegetables have softened, add all the seasonings and mix well. Allow it to continue to cook this way for about 10 minutes.
  • Bring a pot of water to boil and then add the chopped squash/potato/pumpkin. Boil for 5-10 minutes until the color pops but it is not too soft (I did it about 7 minutes). Drain and then toss the cubes into the crock pot. 
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the crock pot and stir. Cover and allow it to cook for 4-6 hours on low.

for the sour cream:

  • Drain the soaked cashews and add all of the listed ingredients to a high speed blender.
  • Blend until completely smooth and creamy.
  • Pour into a glass jar and refrigerate (it will thicken just a bit). 
  • Add a spoonful to your chili 🙂
Optional garnish: 
  • Chopped green onion
  • Avocado slices
  • Cinnamon
*Note: If you do not have a crock pot that has been handed down from the women in your family like me, you can do this same exact process in a very large pot on the stove. Add a little bit more vegetable broth, as needed, and bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and allow it to cook, covered, for about 45 minutes to an hour.

At least three satisfied bellies …

No crock pot? No problem 🙂 See the note above or invest in one like this one:

And in the spirit of full disclosure, if you purchase anything I link to you via Amazon I make a small percentage out of it at no cost to you! So cool for me, so cool for you!

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