Vegetarian Chunky Pumpkin Chili

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This is probably the most highly anticipated recipe I’ve ever put on my blog.

As soon as I snapped a photo of this hearty bowl on instagram, I got tons of requests (and even some begs) for the recipe. I guess peeps really like their chili?

Despite it’s pension for not being photographic at all (ugly chili, you’ll never be a model), this is probably one of my favorite chili recipes to date. And if you’ve been reading for a while (THANK YOU!) or just since yesterday, you can probably deduct why. PUMPKIN. The thick, creamy texture of the pureed pumpkin gave this chili an extra thickness that you crave with a chunky chili, am I right?

I paired these adorable little bowls (which I did NOT eat three of, no-sir-ee-bob) with bite size mini corn muffins. Because you can’t just have one mini thing for dinner, you need two! And really, how stinkin’ cute? My husband felt a wee little less than a man eating hearty chili out of a dainty bowl with a mini muffin, but oh well. It makes cuter food photos!

For these delicious mini muffins, I used my rosemary cheddar recipe as a base. Then, just swapped out cheddar for Parmesan and rosemary for basil and made them tiny! Really, that’s it! They are delectable on their own, but taste the best when crumbled on top of the pumpkin chili.

Now, what makes this chili extra chunky is the addition of the Gimme Lean ground meat substitute. It sounds gross, but trust me, it’s so good. It’s not ground beef, that’s for sure, but it has the same hearty texture you absolutely love in chili. I love all bean chili but it just doesn’t hold a flame to “chunky, meaty” chili.  Oh, and um, IT’S FAT FREE. Yep, the entire 14 ounce container blob is devoid of ALL FAT. Which means each serving of this decadent chili has a MERE 3 grams of fat while still packing over 10 grams of protein. I know, YOUR MIND IS BLOWN.

So, I hope the chili lived up to it’s anticipation and you love it so much you want to take it out to dinner. Or marry it. Or shower it with flowers and gifts. Because that’s what a chili of this awesomeness (I didn’t sleep last night) deserves. Roger and out, I’m going to bed.

Chunky Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili

Serves about 10 People. Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.


  • 3 small shallots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 3/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 30 ounces (2 cans) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 14 ounces gimme lean beef style
  • 15 (1 can) ounces pumpkin
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • Liberal dashes of salt and pepper


  1. Heat oil in a large pan. Add shallots, garlic and mushrooms. Cook until fragrant and soft, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into the basin of a crock pot.
  2. Add vegetarian beef and break up with a spatula. Pour in broth, wine, black beans, diced tomatoes and pumpkin. Stir to mix up the ingredients. Sprinkle in salt, pepper, chili powder and Italian seasoning.
  3. Set the crock pot to low and cook for 6 – 8 hours. Serve with cornbread or your favorite bread and enjoy!

Nutritional information per 1/2 cup serving and 1 mini muffin:

Calories: 177.7
Fat:  3 grams
Carbohydrates: 29.2 grams
Fiber: 3.5 grams
Protein: 11.7 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 5

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  1. Thursday, September 20th, 2012
    It is chili season, that is for SURE!
  2. Posted by Layla on
    Thursday, September 20th, 2012
    Yuuuuuuuum. Feed me, Claire. I'm moving in.
    • Posted by realistic nutritionist on
      Thursday, September 20th, 2012
      DO IT!! Bring the pup!
  3. Posted by Kelly Hunt on
    Thursday, September 20th, 2012
    Looks so delicious!! :)
  4. Posted by Aggie on
    Thursday, September 20th, 2012
    This is the prettiest bowl of chili ever. I wish I had some for lunch!
    • Posted by realistic nutritionist on
      Thursday, September 20th, 2012
      THANK YOU! I hated every photo I was editing so that means a lot!
  5. Posted by The Beeroness on
    Thursday, September 20th, 2012
    pumpkin chili totally needs to be in my life very soon.
    • Posted by realistic.nutritionist on
      Thursday, September 20th, 2012
      do it!! you won't regret it!
  6. Posted by Lizzy Do on
    Thursday, September 20th, 2012
    Gosh, your chili sounds fantastic! I love that you used black beans, too...I'm inspired! I also love your mini muffins. I love pairing corn muffins with chili, but your additions of cheese and herbs makes them even better :)
  7. Posted by Dinnersdishesdessert on
    Thursday, September 20th, 2012
    I am obsessed with pumpkin lately - love this chili. And those muffins....oh yeah!
  8. Posted by Donna on
    Friday, September 21st, 2012
    This will definitely be on the house menu this weekend...IF...there is a way to actualize this without a crockpot?¨..Alas..I am "sans crockpot"...and wonder if it is possible to cook in the oven or over a low flame in a cast iron Dutch oven casserole?...Thanks for any suggestions/enlightenment...and for sharing this Fall-announcing recipe!
    • Posted by realistic nutritionist on
      Friday, September 21st, 2012
      Do it on the stove top in a big pot or Dutch oven!! :)
  9. Posted by PB and Peppers on
    Friday, September 21st, 2012
    I can see why! It looks amazing!! Beautiful photos!!
  10. Posted by Savory Simple on
    Friday, September 21st, 2012
    I need this in my life!
  11. Posted by Christina on
    Friday, September 21st, 2012
    Ohhh here's how t ocomment! Lovely! :)
    • Posted by realistic nutritionist on
      Friday, September 21st, 2012
      sorry it's so complicated, haha! so happy you can comment now!! :)
  12. Posted by Anna @ Hidden Ponies on
    Friday, September 21st, 2012
    LOVE this - those mini muffins are super adorable and make chili feel a bit less manly :)
  13. Posted by Tutti Dolci on
    Friday, September 21st, 2012
    Pumpkin chili? Yes please, this looks insanely delish!
  14. Posted by Anita at Hungry Couple on
    Saturday, September 22nd, 2012
    OK, I'll have a bowl! :)
  15. Posted by Kay on
    Saturday, September 22nd, 2012
    Any tips for adjusting this for non-crockpot users?
    • Posted by realistic nutritionist on
      Sunday, September 23rd, 2012
      Just make it on the stove top in a Dutch oven.
  16. Posted by JulieD on
    Saturday, September 22nd, 2012
    Wow, this looks and sounds awesome! I would never have thought to add pumpkin to chili!
  17. Posted by Megan @Country Cleaver on
    Sunday, September 23rd, 2012
    Oh Em Gee Claire!! I think I'm in LOVE!!
  18. Posted by Stephie Swope on
    Sunday, September 23rd, 2012
    It's so cute with the tiny muffins! I like tiny food because I can eat more of them without guilt... ;-)
  19. Posted by Kristina on
    Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
    Looks like last week was chili week for both of us :) Genius recipe! Love how you used the pumpkin to beef it up and same with the meat substitute! Such a good idea, cannot wait to try!!
  20. Posted by Kelly Norman on
    Sunday, October 14th, 2012
    I made this today and it is so good! the only change I made was to use fresh tomatoes as I didn't have canned and I had to use a bit of tomate paste to thicken it a bit at the end. It is so good! The pumpkin gives it a nice flavor!