Relaunching a Fall Favorite: Rainbow Pumpkin Chili

Last fall, this colorful and sweet pumpkin chili won a neighborhood chili cook-off. This fall it’s winning a different sort of contest: the baby Sophie finger food contest. Beans are such a great source of protein, and with so many fun colors, this chili is irresistible to a baby suddenly hell bent on feeding herself, completely by herself.

turkey pumpkin chili

Having another baby after a five year break is a constant rediscovery of phases long forgotten. I had buried in some distant part of my subconscious that oh so messy stage when every meal requires a head to toe shower for both baby and mom. With every bite such a challenge to get in her little mouth, I have to make sure everything I put in front of her is a healthy one.

Chili gets a bad rap as unhealthy tailgate fare, but if you keep the sour cream and shredded cheddar toppings to a minimum, it’s actually a great, low-fat dish that’s packed with protein to keep you full. Substitute turkey for ground beef, and it’s even healthier.

I tone the spice of this up or down, depending on whether I’m feeding hungry babies or adults, but either way, this chili is a family favorite.

Relaunching a Fall Favorite: Rainbow Pumpkin Chili
  • 1½ pounds of lean turkey meat
  • 1½ onions, chopped finely
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon (substitute something spicier such as ancho chili powder if serving to grownups)
  • 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can of stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cans of red beans
  • 1 can of great northern beans
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of pumpkin
  • salt, pepper
  1. In a large frying pan, melt the butter. Add onions and garlic. Saute until softened and translucent. Add the carrots and saute for another 2 minutes.
  2. Add the turkey, crumbling the raw meat into tiny pieces. Saute until cooked through. Season with the cinnamon.
  3. Add the canned pumpkin and mix thoroughly.
  4. Transfer to a slow cooker, making sure to scrape up every last browned, sauteed bit.
  5. Add the canned tomatoes and stir to break up any large tomato chunks.
  6. Open the canned beans. Drain and rinse two to three times. Add the beans to the pot. Stir well and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Cook on high for 2 hours.
  8. Add the canned corn and cook for another 5 minutes.
  9. Serve warm with a dollop of cream cheese.

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