Paleo Pumpkin Chili ~ The Paleo Mom

Paleo Pumpkin Chili ~ The Paleo Mom

When I cut into our big pumpkin to make a jack-o-lantern this year, the pumpkin smelled so good!  It’s a funny thing about eating very strictly Paleo:  foods that used to smell great don’t anymore and foods that used to be sorta ordinary smell FANTASTIC!  I resolved to eat that pumpkin in addition to the pie pumpkins I had already purchased.

I wanted to try something savory with my new abundance of fresh pumpkin and I remembered a recipe posted on for pumpkin chili.  The recipe itself wasn’t that inspiring to me, but the idea was!  One of the foods that I was very sad to see go when I fully adopted Paleolithic nutrition was chili (especially as the weather gets cooler!).  So my challenge was to create a chili, full of texture and with a flavor similar to my old tried and true recipe.  This is what I created.  It is a very flavorful, slightly sweet chili that is slightly reminiscent of a curry dish and tastes great on its own (even my husband didn’t reach for the grated cheese and sour cream!).  It is packed full of nutrient rich, low carbohydrate veggies.

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paleo principles

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Serves: 6-8

 Pumpkin Chili-067 copy


  • 1 medium pie pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 lb ground turkey
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 6-8 celery stalks, chopped
  • 8-10 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2.5-3 Tbsp chili powder, to taste
  • 1.5 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional, or substitute fresh hot peppers for more heat)
  • 1.5 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1.5 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 3 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 bag/bunch fresh spinach, chopped
  • 3 small cans diced tomato (15oz)
  • 1 can tomato paste (6oz)
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree (fresh puree can be made by blending some extra roast pumpkin, or use canned)
  • 1/2 tsp salt, to taste

1.    Toss pumpkin and sweet potato with oil.  Spread on baking sheet lined with tin foil and bake at 350F for half an hour or until soft and starting to brown.  Turn on broiler to get a bit browner with some crisp bits (approximately 6-7 minutes).
2.    Meanwhile, brown turkey and beef with garlic, onion, celery and bay leaves in large pot at medium-high heat.  Stir only occasionally to not break up the meat into too small of pieces.
3.    When meat is browned, add chili, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cocoa.  Stir and cook until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
4.    Add tomatoes, tomato paste, pumpkin puree and salt.  Bring to a simmer and then reduce to low-medium heat.  Simmer 15 minutes, until celery is soft, stirring occasionally.
5.    Add basil, oregano, cilantro and chopped spinach.  Finally add pumpkin and sweet potato.  Stir to incorporate and serve!

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