Pumpkin~Chorizo Chili

Did you know that soaking beans makes them much more digestible?  It’s true.  This means less smelly auras and discomfort… super bonus, I think we’d all agree.  Check out this post here (why soak beans) or read more about how to soak beans here (Bean Institute) if you’re interested in learning more! (It’s really really easy, just plop them in water and go to bed.)

But now on to the recipe… this delicious, cozy, happy-making recipe.  Seriously, it’s like eating fall right from a bowl.  With a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg, and the smokiness from a little chorizo, it’s a dreamy concoction that’s beyond comforting. Add some fresh pumpkin, and it’s the perfect holiday-season stew.

pumpkin ~ chorizo chili

What inspires one to create a pumpkin chili you ask?  Nature.  Years ago, I tossed an old jack-o-lantern from Halloween out the back and the following year, I suddenly had beautiful pumpkins growing there.  So last year, I did the same, and just like that, I had these gorgeous pumpkins growing again this year.  A few weeks ago, this beautiful little bright orange girl was perfectly ready for the cooking.  Now most people won’t have pumpkins just growing on their patio, but thankfully this time of year, they’re smothering every store in sight.  Most are labeled “sugar pie” pumpkins, which are just perfect for this recipe.  They’re the same pumpkins one might make pie out of… sweet, creamy, and oh so tasty.


So I had this beautiful pumpkin, and knew I wanted to make something yummy.  I don’t eat beans often these days, but the idea of a pumpkin chili just seemed too good to not try.  It was a random idea, a sudden thought I’m so glad I had.  So I threw some beans in a bowl of water and let them soak over night.  The remaining ingredients just fit naturally.  I LOVE cinnamon and nutmeg with spicy favors.  (Have you ever had butternut squash enchiladas drenched in mole?  Um, yumm.)  And chorizo, while I don’t eat it much, has this insanely delicious flavor that adds all the right flair.  So this recipe just happened…. it’s slightly spicy, slightly sweet, and very holiday-y.  Love it.


I made a light little veggie slaw… I thought something refreshing and crisp would balance it all out nicely.  Something with an acidic dressing, like a lime-vinaigrette or creamy lime dressing (I often just whip up a teensy homemade mayo- see it here– with some lime juice and paprika or chopped cilantro).  This would also taste great with some sort of a jicama salad, or just a basic green salad, too… those always do the trick.


An important note about the pumpkin seeds.  When left whole, as they are shown here (with the shell, like we toast and munch on after Halloween), they will get soggy if left to sit on the chili for too long.  If making toasted pumpkin seeds to serve as a garnish, serve them just before eating, so they stay nice and crunchy.  Otherwise, sprinkling some store-bought pepitas works great, too… they’re just the seeds, no shell, so they’re crunchy and crispy permanently.  Needless to stay, you could always shell the toasted pumpkin seeds yourself, but come on now… you’re human, right? 😉

 I served my first bowl of chili with the fresh toasted pumpkin seeds… right from the baking sheet.  Once those were gone, I used some toasted pepitas from the store… both are good, but the homemade toasted adds a creative touch.  Just remember, sprinkle them on just before eating.P1140765

makes 4-6 servings


1 small pumpkin, sugar pie works well (approx 4 cups peeled and chopped)

3 cups black beans, soaked overnight

1/2 lb chorizo (uncooked ground, not the smoked sausage type)

2 cups chopped tomatoes (approx 10 whole peeled or 1 28 oz can plum tomatoes)

1/2 cup chopped sweet bell pepper, any color

1 tbsp diced jalapeno pepper, seeds removed

1 large garlic clove, smashed

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp dried oregano (preferably Mexican)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp paprika

pinch ground nutmeg

pinch cayenne pepper

2 cups chicken broth, (homemade or good quality store-bought)

1 tsp olive oil, ghee, or avocado oil


optional garnish: avocado, cilantro, lime, & toasted pumpkin seeds (see note above about seeds)

if you do diary, add Mexican crema, sour cream, Greek yogurt, or creme fraiche as a topping, too!


note: butternut squash can be substituted for pumpkin, if desired :)



Prep the pumpkin…

I won’t lie, this part is a bit tedious, but once this is over, it’s all easy and smooth from here!

You can either peel the pumpkin and then cut it, or cut it and then peel it…

Either way, you want to remove all the seeds and skin so it’s clean and ready to go

(Save the seeds to toast as a garnish, or just nibble on as you cook!)


Cut the pumpkin into approx 1 inch cubes


Heat the oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat

Add the smashed garlic- let it cook for a few minutes, until fragrant, and then remove

(removing is optional- it infuses the oil… you can leave it in if you prefer)

Add the pumpkin and ground chorizo

Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring every so often to evenly cook


Chop the tomatoes, bell pepper, and jalapeno (seeds removed first)

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Add tomatoes, bell pepper, jalapeno, beans and all seasonings


Stir well to mix


Add chicken broth

Cover and lower heat to low

Cook for 1 hour, stirring once or twice throughout


Meanwhile, toast pumpkin seeds if you’d like…

Whether you use these for the chili or just to snack on, they’re  a tasty little healthy munchy!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Clean seeds, removing any excess pumpkin grime


Lay on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt, smoked paprika, and olive oil

(I line it with parchment paper first for easy clean up)


Toss to coat


Bake for approx 15 minutes, until golden brown and crispy


Prep remaining garnishes… lime isn’t necessary, but I’d certainly add the avo and cilantro!!


After an hour, check beans for doneness- cook longer if needed, though they should be totally done by now

Taste and adjust seasonings as desired


Scoop the chili into a bowl…


Top with garnishes, dig in, and enjoy!!

{Stores well in the refrigerator for days}


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About Me

Hi, I'm Natalie! I like to cook, eat, and adventure. I live in a little home with an itty-bitty kitchen, a crazy feline, and a very hungry boyfriend. Lots of cooking and devouring goes down here. Farmer's markets inspire me, as do the seasons and travel. I create simple recipes using wholesome real food. Enjoy!

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