Pumpkin Kale Turkey Chili

The other day, while browsing Wegmans, I stumbled upon a pumpkin. A beautiful, perfectly shaped, tasty looking pie pumpkin.


I knew its destiny was to end up in my kitchen, but I’ve never cooked with a whole pumpkin before. It’s only a squash, so I knew how to prepare it. Mostly, it was the myriad of options I had for using it that left me somewhat clueless. After careful thought, I decided on chili. I’m a huge fan of making chili from scratch because you can adjust the heat and flavors to your exact liking. Also, store-bought seasonings tend to contain a lot of sodium, where you can cut most of the salt out by assembling the seasoning yourself.

Then, I thought of a way to use up the dates that have been sitting around in my pantry. Cornbread. Healthy cornbread. Healthy maple cornbread. Healthy maple date cornbread…. Oh, dang.


For this recipe, I prepared the pumpkin by cleaning it and cutting off the top, then splitting the pumpkin in half lengthwise.I scooped out the seeds and pulp, (Tip: Special grapefruit cutlery [grapefruit spoons and those double-sided knives] are great for scooping out squash pulp!) and then cut the pumpkin into 3/4-1 inch thick wedges. I then scraped off the remainder of the pulpy bits and peeled the skin off of each wedge with a potato peeler.


The great thing about this recipe (besides its deliciousness) is the amount of food it makes – I filled a HUGE tupperware container full of chili, which makes this a great recipe for families and meal-preppers alike. Plus, most of its bulk is from the vegetables and squash, not the meat, making this chili lean, filling, and easily adaptable for vegetarians/vegans.

Pumpkin Kale Turkey Chili
Serves 10
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  1. 4 cups cubed pumpkin (~1/2 large pie pumpkin)
  2. coconut oil spray (or any type of oil spray)
  3. 1 medium bell pepper
  4. 1 white onion
  5. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 2 tsp. olive oil
  7. 3 cups chopped kale (Tip: You can buy kale pre-washed and pre-chopped by the bag, making preparation much easier)
  8. 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  9. One 15 oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  10. One 28 oz. can whole plum tomatoes, mashed or chopped
  11. 1 tsp. paprika
  12. 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  13. 1/2 tsp. oregano
  14. 1/4 tsp thyme
  15. 1/4 tsp rosemary
  16. 1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  17. cayenne pepper, to taste
  18. salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 425˚F.
  2. Prepare pumpkin by halving, removing seeds and pulp, cutting into wedges, peeling, and then dicing into small chunks.
  3. Arrange the diced pumpkin onto a baking sheet that has been greased with oil spray. Season if desired with salt, pepper, and a bit of pumpkin pie spice. Roast for about 10-15 minutes, or until fork tender.
  4. Finely dice your bell peppers and onions and set aside.
  5. In a large pan, warm your olive oil over medium-low heat and add the minced garlic. Add your diced peppers and onions, stirring occasionally until the vegetables start to become soft and the onions are translucent. Add the roasted pumpkin and kale to the vegetable mixture, and cover.
  6. Once the kale has wilted, remove your vegetable and pumpkin mixture from heat, then transfer to a pot.
  7. In your smaller vegetable pan, mash and brown the ground turkey until it no longer appears pink anywhere, then remove from heat.
  8. Add the turkey, beans, and tomatoes to the pot and keep over low heat. Stir well.
  9. Separately assemble and add your seasoning mixture. I recommend assembling everything but your cayenne/salt and pepper, and adding those last to taste. (Note: Paprika can also contribute a lot of heat depending on what kind you have. If you're not a "spicy" person, I would recommend starting with less paprika in your mixture just to be safe, and then adding it in small increments to your liking once the seasoning is mixed in with the chili.)
  1. Garnish with plain greek yogurt and avocado slices. Serve with Maple Date Cornbread (recipe link below).
The Hungry Musician http://thehungrymusician.com/

Maple Date Cornbread




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