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Turkey Pumpkin Chili

This delicious turkey pumpkin chili is perfect for cool days. Packed with healthy veggies and lean protein, it’s robust enough to serve a crowd and easy enough for a weeknight dinner.

white bowl full of chili topped with avocado slices with red napkin and spoon next to it

You might experience a little bit of cognitive dissonance when I suggest you make turkey pumpkin chili. Chili with pumpkin in it? Yes. Trust me on this one – yes.

I’m a huge fan of using pumpkin as an ingredient in dishes, especially savory ones. Sweet ones usually take center stage in the fall, but if you really look, you can find pumpkin recipes that are actually healthy and aren’t just loaded with sugar and pumpkin spice seasoning and calling themselves “pumpkin.”

Not a fan of pumpkin? Not a problem. You can’t even taste the pumpkin in this turkey pumpkin chili.

It takes on the flavor of the spices and adds a delicious thickness to the chili that you won’t find in other recipes.

This turkey pumpkin chili is the first recipe in my Game Day Game Plan. In the Game Day Game Plan, I give you specific cooking instructions and a timeline for having a full spread ready by the time the Super Bowl starts.

I don’t watch football. I somehow was also graced with a husband who doesn’t watch sports at all, which is some kind of miracle.

On Sundays, we say, “Go Sports! Go Team!” and then we go out and do something other than watching sports on TV.

If we’re being honest, my favorite part about watching football (which usually only happens once a year for the Super Bowl) is the food.

Obviously. That’s my favorite part about most things in life!

Recipes you’ll see in the Game Day Game Plan in addition to this turkey pumpkin chili are Sweet and Spicy Sticky Wings, Cumin Lime Avocado Dip, Pineapple and Pepperoni Skewers, and Devils on Horseback.

Oh, and the whole thing is Whole30 compliant.

Health benefits of pumpkin

Now, if you’re skeptical about the pumpkin, listen to this:

  • Pumpkin is rich in fiber, which slows down digestion and keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
  • It’s nearly 90% water, so it keeps you hydrated and is low in calories.
  • A single serving of pumpkin contains over 200% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin A.
  • In scientific tests, pumpkin has been shown to reduce blood glucose levels, improve glucose tolerance and increase the amount of insulin the body produces.

Now, if those aren’t legit reasons to include pumpkin in your diet…I don’t know what is.

Whole30 friendly

Yes, it’s Whole30 friendly! And, if you’re anywhere past your first week of Whole30, you’re probably sick and tired of doing dishes – amiright?

Good then, here’s a one pot meal for you that will fill you up and will NOT leave you with a sink full of dishes.

It’s jam-packed with veggies, lean protein, and a thick, flavorful sauce. This turkey pumpkin chili has no beans, no sugar, and is thickened with tapioca starch, keeping it gluten free.

Whole30 wins all around.

It doesn’t taste like pumpkin

For real. The pumpkin serves as more of a thickener than anything else. Many readers have said they don’t care for pumpkin taste in their chili, but they like this one!

It’s more of a tomato based chili and the pumpkin just adds thickness and richness to the overall texture.

Don’t be scared. Try it. I promise you won’t even taste it.

Pumpkin Turkey Chili | PaleoScaleo.com

How to make turkey pumpkin chili

If you have a dutch oven, use it. You do not have to spend $300 on the top name brand of dutch oven for your kitchen – this one from Lodge or this one from Amazon will both work just fine!

If you don’t have a dutch oven, that’s ok too. Just grab a large stockpot instead.

Here’s what you’re going to do:

  1. cook the veggies to tender
  2. brown the meat
  3. add the spices
  4. add the liquid
  5. let it simmer
  6. stuff your face

Got it? Ok, let’s go.

Craving some classic paleo chili? Click here for my TRADITIONAL PALEO CHILI recipe.

Looking for an Instant Pot version? Click here for my INSTANT POT PALEO CHILI.

Need this pumpkin chili in the Instant Pot? Click here for my INSTANT POT TURKEY PUMPKIN CHILI.

white bowl full of chili topped with avocado slices with red napkin and spoon next to it

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This delicious turkey pumpkin chili is perfect for cool days. Packed with healthy veggies and lean protein, it's robust enough to serve a crowd and easy enough for a weeknight dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic granules
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 4.5 oz can roasted green chiles
  • 1/2 cup water or broth
  • 1 Tablespoon arrowroot powder, (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the coconut oil or other cooking oil over medium high heat.
  2. Add the diced peppers and onions and sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. While those are cooking, combine all the dry spices in a small bowl.
  4. Add the ground turkey to the pot, cooking until no pink is left.
  5. Add the dry spice mixture to the pot and stir. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the pumpkin, tomatoes, green chiles and water or broth to the pot and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce to a simmer, then cover and allow to cook for 20-30 minutes.
  8. If the chili is too runny, remove the lid and allow some of the water to cook off before serving.
  9. If choosing to use the tapioca starch to thicken, first dissolve it in a Tablespoon of water to create a slurry. 
  10. Once you have your slurry, add it to the chili, stirring constantly. Allow the chili to cook for a few minutes more and the starch to thicken it before serving. 
  11. Top with your favorite chili toppings!

Notes

Longer is ok! Don't be afraid to reduce the heat to low and allow this chili to simmer on the stove for awhile. The longer it cooks, the more the flavors will blend. Just make sure it's on super low heat.

Speaking of flavors blending, just like any soup or stew, the flavors are usually better the second day. Making this chili a day or two ahead will repay you in spades.

If you want to make this in a slow cooker or CrockPot, follow the instructions the same way, but be sure to brown the meat ahead of time. Then add everything to the slow cooker and set it on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

This chili makes a great freezer meal too. Make a batch and freeze it to pull out for dinner on a chilly (chili?) night when you don't feel like cooking.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 343Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 329mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 30g
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April McCook

Sunday 5th of November 2017

This recipe is AMAZINGLY tasty! Our new family favorite! Made it last weekend and even the left overs got better every day. Making it again this cozy Sunday per request of my picky hubby. He said this is his favorite paleo meal I’ve ever made. Thank you!

Jessica

Sunday 5th of November 2017

Hi April! I'm so glad you liked it, and your picky hubby did too. :) I love how the flavors blend after a day or two in the fridge. It also freezes and reheats really well - sometimes I'll even make a double batch and freeze half of it!

Meg Taylor

Wednesday 2nd of November 2016

Pumpkin + chili is one of my favorite fall combinations! This recipe sounds so great! My husband loves when I test recipes for blog posts, too ;)

Meg

Jessica

Thursday 3rd of November 2016

I just found out after I posted this that while I was gone, he never even heated it up to eat it. He just ate it cold. Gross!

Aimee

Wednesday 2nd of November 2016

Okay I've seen a couple of pumpkin chili recipes and was slightly unsure but this looks amazing! I'm absolutely going to have to try it out.

Jessica

Thursday 3rd of November 2016

You likely won't even notice the pumpkin in it! It just works to thicken the sauce and adds flavor. If you didn't know it was there, you'd be thinking, "huh, what's that flavor? I can't quite place it!" :)

Erin, Attention to Darling

Wednesday 2nd of November 2016

Love this recipe! Wonder if I can use real pumpkin from all the ones I have sitting around that never got carved for Halloween :).

Erin, Attention to Darling www.attentiontodarilng.com

Jessica

Thursday 3rd of November 2016

I'm so glad you said this! So, carving pumpkins are not meant for eating - they're grown for decoration and not consumption. If you have pie pumpkins, those can be baked and used in recipes! Fresh pumpkin has a much higher water content than canned pumpkin, so you'll just want to watch out for it making it too soupy. If you use fresh, I would omit the water from the recipe and possibly add a little more arrrowroot at the end if need be!

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