Vegetarianized Recipe: Pumpkin Chili


I am a self-confessed “yard clipping diver” (that’s Dumpster diving for the ‘burbs). California is such the land of plenty that people put perfectly good fruits and vegetables growing on their trees and in their gardens in their yard piles for pick up by the city. I happily find lovely things all year long—ripe grapefruits nested in grass clippings, juicy tomatoes still affixed on freshly pulled plants. Serendipitously, I recently came upon a Fairytale Pumpkin—an old French varietal shaped like Cinderella’s coach. I turned it into this robust chili that is very healthy and vegan to boot. In-season butternut or acorn squash will stand in nicely.

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Servings: 8
Time: About 90 minutes total; 30 minutes active

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 sweet pepper, chopped
1 hot pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds pumpkin/squash, cut into 1″ dice
1 cup red wine
3 cups vegetable broth
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes, with juice
2-15 ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup bulgur
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped, as garnish

1. In a large pot over medium heat, add extra virgin olive oil. When hot, add onion, peppers, garlic and pumpkin and sauté 5 minutes, until onion is translucent.

2. Add all the rest of the ingredients, but cilantro. Bring to a boil, lower heat to low, cover slightly and let simmer 60 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.

3. Serve hot with chopped cilantro.

Writer Bio: Adrienne D. Capps loves food AND is a vegetarian! These things are not mutually exclusive in her world. She is passionate about eating, drinking, cooking, teaching, reading about food and growing food. Her goal with her food blog,, is to open up the world of vegetarian cooking and eating to the veg-friendly and the veg-curious in an accessible way. She promises never to try to convert or make you feel guilty—just that eating less meat can be part of a healthy, fun and, above all, tasty lifestyle.