If you’re looking for healthy slow cooker chili recipes for fall, try adding pumpkin to your chili! Not only does it add great flavor, it’s full of fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, carotenoids, potassium and zinc.
My Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili came out of a blogging cooking challenge. It’s based on Allison of Sweet Flour’s Slow Cooker Pumpkin and Bean Chili.
Making slow cooker pumpkin chili recipe
I made chose this crock-pot pumpkin chili because it used canned pumpkin puree. I love the idea of using pumpkin year round as it’s so healthy. Just add it to a chili with a lean meat, some high fiber beans, and chopped tomatoes, and you have a super healthy dish.
I healthed up Allison’s recipe by substituting ground beef for ground venison in my slow cooker pumpkin chili recipe. You can also use ground turkey. If you want to use ground beef, choose the leanest kind you can find.
Other changes I made to Allison’s healthy slow cooker chili included using a red bell pepper instead of a green one as I find them kind of bitter. I also used vegetable instead of chicken broth as it’s much lower in fat and calories.
For spices, I used ground chipotle chile pepper instead of cayenne pepper since that’s what I had on hand. I also used Chugwater Chili Gourmet Chili Blend instead of plain chili powder. If you’re ever in Chugwater, Wyoming, stop at the gas station off the freeway and pick up a jar of it!
Additions to crock-pot pumpkin chili
For easy crock-pot cleanup, use slow cooker liners. They’re WONDERFUL. I love not having to scrub my slow cooker after cooking up a pot of pumpkin chili!
If you have room in your Crock-Pot when making Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili, add a bag of frozen veggies, like broccoli, okra, green beans, or cauliflower. Adding extra vegetables is a great way to sneak some healthy fiber into your family’s diet, plus it creates more chili without much added calories or cost.
Finally, I added a tablespoon of pumpkin seed oil. My husband brought a small bottle of this home from a trip to Germany and it makes the Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili super delicious. It’s also wonderful in Healthy Vegetarian Pumpkin Soup. It’s optional, so don’t worry about if you can’t find it.
Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 pound ground venison, turkey or lean beef
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder or your favorite gourmet chili blend
- 1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 15 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 ounce can canned pumpkin pure
- 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seed oil (optional)
- Cook onion, bell pepper and ground meat over medium-high heat until meat is cooked through.
- Add salt and garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add spices (chili powder through cumin) and mix thoroughly. Cook for 1 minute.
- Place onion, pepper, meat, garlic and spice mixture into a slow cooker.
- Add remaining ingredients.
- Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
- Dish chili into bowls and top with a small dollop of no fat sour cream or a large pinch of shredded cheese.
- Serving size: 1 cup
Originally published March 12, 2012. Updated with new pictures and information.