Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

A few weeks ago we woke up on a Saturday and focused our eyes on a wild storm of snow in the sky. It was coming down fast and hard. Like most days that wind-up being sensationally fun and memorable, a serendipitous plan came together–we’d go sledding with friends and then wind the day down at their home. After homemade hot chocolate, we filled our bellies with our friend Doug’s turkey chili while our daughters danced around in their dress-up wear. His wife Alexa warned us that it was his “famous” dish, but I wasn’t prepared for how satisfying the chili would be on the wintry day. (The wine and the hearty, crisp bread helped.) I found myself craving chili a lot. Short of showing up at their house unannounced, regularly demanding chili, I decided to expand my own repetoire for the dish, and, luckily, I found this baby just in time for the season’s next big snow dump.

What really attracted me to the recipe by Whole Foods was the use of pumpkin. If you’ve noticed, my sweet potato obsession has morphed into a pumpkin addiction. If you don’t like the fruit, I swear this will be over soon. I’ve made a few changes to the ingredient list to suit some of my other obsessions for things like chick peas (inspired by Doug’s version), cinnamon and tumeric. I’ve also omitted jalapenos, so it would appeal to a kid’s palette. Scarlett was fine with the chili powder, but you could easily fiddle with that if you have a fussy taster.

Turkey Pumpkin Chili


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground white meat turkey
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chick peas, rinsed and drained


In a large pot, warm the oil on medium-low heat.

Add the garlic, onion and green pepper.

Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the ground turkey, cook until browned.

Pour in water, pumpkin, tomatoes, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, tumeric, salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil.

Bring the heat down to medium low and then add the chick peas.

Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stir occasionally.

Serve with fresh bread and a dollop of sour cream.


This was such an easy and fun dish to make. It’s perfect for the weekend or it could easily simmer while the kids are in school.

Scarlett loves the pepper mill.

This is what happens when Scarlett measures spices. It’s a big clean up and a bit of a waste, so, as you can imagine, I usually do all the measuring.

I served this on my favorite spelt bread from Rudy’s Organics. I also threw some sour cream on top. I hate to admit this in print, but I ate three bowls of the stuff. Scarlett scarfed hers down as well. My husband who doesn’t like pumpkin, loved it. Trifecta!

I accomplished what I set out to do: satiate my chili craving. Plus, I think I heard it’s going to snow later this week….

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  1. Carmen Rassenberg
    December 11, 19:08 Reply

    This is one of my favourite all-time recipes. I could eat this everyday in the fall/winter! Another hit in our household. Thanks for sharing!

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