Healthy Recipe: Pumpkin Chili

Because many of the people who stop by our grocery centers have HIV, AIDS, and other chronic illnesses, we try to keep our shelves stocked with healthy, nutritious foods.  Our participants have a particularly strong need for protein.  High-protein foods, whether they come in the form of frozen meats, prepared meals, or canned beans, help the body resist infections and keep up strength.

One of our dietitians, Laura, passed on this recipe, and we love it for a lot of reasons.  Adding pumpkin to chili is a lovely autumn twist on a cold-weather favorite. Plus, this chili can be easily made with items found in our grocery centers, making it a perfect choice for everyone, including our Vital Bridges participants.  And at less than $7 per batch, it won’t break the bank, either.

Vegetarians can easily adapt this recipe by taking out the ground turkey and adding extra beans or meat substitute, like tofu. So get cooking and enjoy – let us know how it goes!

pumpkin chili

Laura’s Pumpkin Chili

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Serves: about 10

Cost: less than $7.00


½ cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 pound ground turkey (or beef or chicken)

1 can black beans, drained & rinsed

1 can chili or kidney beans, drained & rinsed

1 can corn, drained & rinsed

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can pumpkin puree

1 can water

Season with salt, pepper, chili powder, and possibly a small dollop of sour cream to taste

Directions: Sauté onion and garlic in a large pot. Add ground turkey and cook until pink goes away. Drain & rinse canned beans and corn in a colander. Add beans, corn, tomatoes, pumpkin, and one can of water to cooked ground turkey in large pot. Season with salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste. Cook together on medium temperature, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes until heated through.

Nutrition Benefits: Pumpkin, even from a can, will provides all sorts of vitamins and minerals, especially essential vitamin A.  Vitamin A keeps skin and mucous membranes – the body’s first layers of protection – healthy and able to fight off illnesses.  Canned pumpkin and beans are also excellent sources of dietary fiber, which is important for good digestion.  The meat and beans in the chili provide protein and iron, and using turkey instead of other meats decreases the fat.

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