Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Every year I feel less and less inclined to dedicate my time to crafting a humorous, creative, I-spent-60-bucks-on-clothes-I’ll-wear-once Halloween costume. Although I’ve fully enjoyed dressing up for a night of frights in the past, right now the mere thought of stepping inside my local Halloween superstore makes me exhausted. So I am all the more thankful to be bypassing the Black Swan tutus and Nicki MInaj-inspired wigs in favor of attending a friend’s nuptials this weekend in Chicago. Saved by the (wedding) bell.

With one can of pumpkin puree left in my fridge this week, I contemplated an encore appearance of any of my fall favorites: Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Bars or Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. But as much as I’d love to embrace a sausage costume, the vision of vacuum-packing myself into a dress for the wedding scared me to my senses. With a few simple substitutions, I transformed my figure-friendly Turkey Taco Stew into a gourd lover’s go-to meal. Blue corn tortilla chips carry the black and orange motif into your cuisine, while sturdy mugs are the ultimate kid-friendly serving cups.


Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Yield: 6-8 servings

Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 30 min


2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, small dice
1 green pepper, small dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 pound ground turkey
1 (15-oz.) can diced tomatoes with chilies
1 (15-oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10-oz). can condensed tomato soup
1 cup water
2 cups pumpkin puree
Blue corn tortilla chips, for garnish
Sour cream, for garnish (optional)
Chopped scallions (green parts only), for garnish


Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot (Dutch oven) over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil then the onions, peppers, garlic, cumin, salt and ground turkey. Sauté until the turkey is fully cooked.

Add all of the remaining ingredients except for the chips, sour cream and scallions.

Simmer the chili over low heat until the onions and peppers are tender, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

When ready to serve, top a bowl of the chili with a dollop of sour cream (optional), a few blue corn tortilla chips and chopped scallions.

Kelly's Notes:

For a vegetarian version of this chili, simply leave out the ground turkey or substitute in additional beans. Kidney beans would work well since they tend to hold their shape.

Rather than garnish your bowl with blue corn tortilla chips, crumble a handful of the chips into the bottom of the bowl then ladle the chili on top.

Recipe inspired by Turkey Taco Stew and Whole Foods Market.


  1. 2


    Hi Kelly,

    Sounds interesting. I never thought to put pumpkin in a chili!

    Last week I entered a chili contest and finished 2nd. One judge said the only reason I didn’t win was because my chili didn’t have enough heat.

    Great post!!!!


    • Kelly replied: — October 26th, 2011 @ 3:31 pm

      Thanks, Tim! I love adding pumpkin to chili because not only is is packed with nutrients, but it also gives the chili the most amazing creamy consistency. And feel free to add chili powder for extra heat!

  2. 3


    Whaaaat? LOVE IT. And I love serving it in mugs like that. And I’m not dressing up either. I never do. I’m always “that one girl in holy yoga pants, a sports bra and wine teeth.”

    • Kelly replied: — October 26th, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

      Haha, Bev, your comments always crack me up!

  3. 4


    YUM!! I recently competed in a Chili Cookoff with a pumpkin turkey chili! I lost admirably, but found there are lots of pumpkin lovers out there. Your version looks delicious too!

  4. 5


    Ya, I’m not so much into dressing up either…I’d rather sit at home watching a movie shoveling this pumpkin chili into my mouth. Looks DELISH!

    • Kelly replied: — October 27th, 2011 @ 4:03 pm

      Agreed, Julia! Now if I just had a few of your Loft House Sugar Cookies to round out my meal…

  5. 6


    Now I know why I am always dressed up as the lady wearing an apron every Halloween…I never get to finish planning and cooking Halloween dinner just in time. LOL! Leave the dressing up for the kiddos…
    Your chili looks so delish…Don’t know where to get the blue chips though :(

    • Kelly replied: — October 27th, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

      Thanks, Anna! You should be able to find blue corn tortilla chips at any supermarket in the chips aisle. I have found them everywhere from Crow Point, Indiana, to San Diego to New York and beyond!

  6. 9


    This is a great combination of flavors. I love a good twist on chili. Can’t wait to try this, it is beginning to get cold here!

    • Kelly replied: — October 31st, 2011 @ 9:17 pm

      So glad the commenting worked, Cassie :) Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the chili recipe!

  7. 10

    Mindy says

    I just made this and had two bowls! Thank for sharing. It is so yum!!

    • Kelly replied: — November 2nd, 2011 @ 11:45 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Mindy! Thanks so much for your feedback.

  8. 11

    Judith Harris says

    Kelly, being a stranger to extended kitchen time, can I use my left over Thanksgiving turkey in this? What kind of adjustments if any?

    • Kelly replied: — November 12th, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

      Hi Judith! This recipe calls for ground turkey (uncooked), so using cooked Thanksgiving turkey as an exact substitute would not work. But what you could do is make the recipe sans the ground turkey and then stir in pieces of your shredded leftover Thanksgiving turkey after the chili is finished cooking. Top it with the usual garnishes, and you’re all set!

  9. 12

    KeriM says

    Sounds delish, but do you have any suggestions for a replacement for the condensed soup? I’m trying to keep it as “real food” and organic possible.

  10. 13


    My friend and I are excited about this recipe…but we have one question. Could this recipe be made in the crockpot??
    thanks. :o)

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — September 11th, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

      Hi Rhonda! I’ve never tried making this recipe in a crockpot, so unfortunately I can’t say with certainty if it would work. I hope you enjoy it!


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