Turkey Vegetable and Pumpkin Chili

This is a recipe totally inspired by the Fall Season. I have a basic chili recipe which I vary to suit the season and what I have on hand at any given moment. Anyone who read my old blog at Yahoo! will immediately recognize this recipe adaptation. I've made the chili for cooking classes I've taught; cooked gallons of it for a church supper; and I make pots of it around this time of year to put up in the freezer to keep for the next several months. The secret to my chili - layering flavors. I start with sauteing onions, carrots, garlic and then bell peppers. Next I add in the dry seasonings to toast and coax out their flavors. I add a good dark or amber beer, a shot of coffee or instant coffee powder. Sometimes I add cocoa powder for even more flavors. Before I add any other liquid ingredients, I finish with sauteing the squash and zucchini. Add in the beans, then add the tomato sauce, pumpkin puree, water, if it's needed, and then the corn. Before I'm done, I add in more dry seasonings and some fresh cilantro, to ramp up the flavors a bit more. Slowly simmer the chili for at least an hour, or cook it in a slow cooker for several hours. Serve over brown rice. You can omit the meat, or use ground beef or ground chicken. To make this completely vegetarian, skip the meat and either use soy crumbles or Bulgar wheat. This chili is packed full of flavor, vegetables, fiber and protein. You could eat it morning noon or night!


  • 1 Pound Lean Ground Turkey
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil - divided
  • 1 Large Onion– peeled & medium dice
  • 5 Medium Carrots - peeled & medium dice
  • 6 Garlic Cloves—finely minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Cumin
  • 1/4 Cup Ancho Chili Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Instant Coffee or 1/4 cup strongly brewed Coffee
  • 1 Large Red Bell Pepper— medium dice
  • 1 Large Green Bell Pepper - medium dice
  • 1 Medium Zucchini—small/medium dice
  • 1 Medium Yellow Squash—small/medium dice
  • 3 Cans Beans: Black Beans, Kidney & White or Pinto Beans (15-16 oz each) – drained & rinsed
  • 1 Large Can Tomato Puree Sauce (20 ounces or more)
  • 1 14 Ounce Can Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 Cups Water or 1 12 ounce bottle of a good quality dark or amber beer
  • 2 Cups Frozen Corn
  • 1/2 cup packed Cilantro– minced
  • Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper—to taste
  1. Use a stock pot, Dutch oven or other large and heavy bottomed pot. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until it shimmers over medium-high heat.
  2. Add in the ground turkey and brown it until it is thoroughly cooked through. Remove the cooked turkey from the pot and set aside. (skip this step if make a vegetarian chili)
  3. Heat the 2nd tablespoon of olive oil in the same pot, over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
  4. Add in the onions and the carrots; saute and sweat them about 8 minutes.
  5. Add in the garlic, stir & cook another 5 minutes.
  6. Next add in all of the dry seasonings, and stir to combine & toast.
  7. Pour in the brewed coffee or instant coffee powder.
  8. Add the peppers and saute another 5 minutes.
  9. Add in the squash, zucchini, beans, tomato sauce, pumpkin puree and water or beer. Stir to combine.
  10. Add the cooked ground turkey, corn and chopped cilantro to the vegetable mixture and reduce heat to medium-low.
  11. Simmer for 40-60 minutes.
  12. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding in additional cumin, chili, oregano, dried garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  13. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.
  14. Makes about 1 gallon of chili or enough to last several meals and still freeze some for the rest of the year!


  1. I have to make this! love the idea of layering flavors. Especially flavors I might not have thought to put together!


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