Vegan pumpkin mushroom chili

A great tasting chili, but without any meat.

A Palatable Pastime
The pumpkin serves as a thickener, and the mushrooms give this vegan chili a "meaty" texture.

I know what you’re thinking.

Pumpkin plus mushroom plus chili equals ew. Right?

Wrong.

This combination may seem unusual, but the flavors in it are not. I wouldn’t eat a bad chili, much less post it on my blog. I have won chili cook-offs before, so you can at least expect I know what good chili is.

And I am not a vegan. I do like chili with meat. But good chili doesn’t demand meat. And when the thought of making a chili with mushrooms and pumpkin crossed my mind, I thought nothing of it. I had bought a pound of white mushrooms at the market for a great price, and was looking for ways to use it up. Plus, I happen to have pumpkins sitting around right now that I bought from the farm market to have from pumpkin flavored everything

So besides pies, and pumpkin butter, and pumpkin hot chocolate, and pumpkin lattes, the pumpkin chili also falls under everything.

The pumpkin I use is a pumpkin puree, which you can make from scratch yourself with fresh pumpkins roasted and pureed, or you can use canned, or frozen, or even use winter squash puree such as that from acorn squash or butternut as well. Don’t use the kind of canned pumpkin that is called pie mix, and has things like sugar and pumpkin pie spice already mixed in.

The flavor of the pumpkin is not that pronounced, really, as it mingles with the flavors of the chilies in the chili powder. If you didn’t know there was pumpkin in this beforehand, you might not suspect it at all. But it does add some body to the chili where I might usually add masa harina to thicken, and it also adds nutrition in the way of beta kerotene, so it is quite healthy.

I do hope you give this a try, as the flavor is really going to surprise you. If you have kids that you want to get to eat more veggies, this might just be the ticket. As well as putting more veggies into your diet as well. All with little to no effort. And believe me, when you taste the first bite, you are going to think “I never imagined vegan mushroom pumpkin chili could hold its own among chili con carne!”

Vegan pumpkin mushroom chili

Serves 8

2 cups chopped onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
16 to 20 ounces quartered white mushrooms
1-1/3 cups cooked pumpkin puree or cooked winter squash puree (not pie filling)
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper (1 tsp for spicier)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 (16 ounce) cans tri-color beans or other beans, such as kidney beans, black beans, red beans

1. Saute onion in olive oil until transparent.

2. Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to cook until mushrooms soften.

3. Stir in the pumpkin puree, crushed tomatoes, broth, chili powder, cumin, chipotle pepper, salt, pepper, and the liquid from the cans of beans.

4. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Uncover pot and simmer 30 minutes more, stirring occasionally or until fairly thick.

6. Stir in the drained beans and simmer 10-15 minutes more, or until chili is heated through.

Related post on A Palatable Pastime: Homemade chili powder

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