Marcelle enjoys preparing delicious meals for family and friends. She especially loves creating original, plant-based, vegan recipes.
Dust off your slow cooker for this easy, plant-based and low-sodium chili. Slow cooking makes preparing great-tasting, healthy meals simple. Since food cooks slowly over low heat, cooking and meal times are flexible. You can even whip up this recipe in the morning or the night before. Try this hearty vegan chili for your next meatless dinner and use the leftovers for chili mac (combining half chili with half pasta). The pumpkin makes it more nutritious, colorful and fun! Your family, kids included, will love it!
Adding Pumpkin to Recipes
Pumpkin is not just for Thanksgiving pies and why should it be? You would be missing out on the great taste, colorful dishes, and tremendous nutritional benefits if you limited pumpkin to pies and treats. Adding pumpkin puree to your soups, stews, sauces, breads, dips, casseroles and chili is easy and will up the nutritional value every time. Here a few of the many health benefits of eating pumpkin.
- Fiber: Pumpkin puree packs four grams of fiber in every half-cup serving. Eating a high-fiber diet helps to lower heart disease risk, improves digestion, and helps manage weight by making you feel full faster.
- Vitamin A: Pumpkin puree provides seven times the RDA for Vitamin A in a one-cup serving. Vitamin A is important for good vision and a healthy immune system. This form of beta carotene in pumpkin puree is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from free radical damage.
- Iron & Potassium: It is also a great source of iron and potassium and is virtually sodium free.
- Low Calorie: One thing that pumpkin puree does not supply an abundant supply of is calories. A half-cup serving has about 40 calories.
Color, texture, and great flavor will make this chili a star at your next family or potluck dinner! The slow cooker makes this recipe easy and the timing flexible. If you prepare the recipe the night before, place it in the refrigerator for the night and add 1-2 hours of cooking time the next day. The ingredient list is also flexible. Add almost any veggie you have on hand and vary the beans, maybe a four or five bean chili!
Resist adding salt to this meal as the spices do a fabulous job amping up the flavor on their own. This will keep this already healthy meal low in sodium. It’s also low in calories and fat, high in protein and provides just about a full-days serving of fiber! See the nutritional info below.
This chili might taste even better the next day or two! Use what is left to make chili mac (add cooked pasta). The kids will love it!
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|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
5 hours 30 min
- 8 cups chopped vegetables (such as onions, celery, bell peppers)
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
- 3-4 tablespoons water or veggie broth, Start with 1 tbsp and add more as needed
- 5 15-oz cans organic no-salt-added beans, rinsed and drained (black, pinto, kidney, navy, or other)
- 1 26.5-oz container low sodium chopped tomatoes (try pomi brand), or 2 cans of organic no-salt-added diced tomatoes
- 1 14.5-oz can low sodium fire-roasted diced tomatoes (try muir glen brand)
- 1 15-oz can organic pureed pumpkin
- 2-3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley, or dried parsley flakes
- 1-2 tablespoons sodium-free chili powder (try Simply Organic or Frontier brands)
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- In a large skillet over medium-low heat, cook chopped vegetables and minced garlic in oil until tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
- Transfer cooked vegetables to a five quart slow cooker; stir in the remaining ingredients.
- Cover and cook on low for about 5 to 6 hours or until heated through.
Yes, you can drink red wine with meatless meals! For this tomato-based chili, choose a medium to full-bodied red with spice notes. Consider a Zinfandel, Malbec, Grenache, or a red blend. If you prefer to spice up the chili with perhaps some habanero pepper and/or additional spices, steer toward a dryer red with fruitier undertones.
The wines pictured here are sold at Costco under the Kirkland Signature label.
Purchase Items Online for Less
Five cans of beans are called for in this chili recipe. You can save on organic, no-salt-added beans by purchasing online. Amazon has a large selection of pantry items and I do much of my pantry stocking up by shopping this way, rather than the grocery store. It's easier since I'm sitting right by my pantry and know just what I need and it's less expensive. I recommend purchasing organic canned beans as they are always virtually sodium free plus often now cans are BPA free.
No-salt-added diced tomatoes, especially the fire-roasted variety, are difficult to find at grocery stores. I purchase the Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes, no-salt-added, through Amazon as well. These tomatoes add a slightly smoky flavor to the chili. I only use Pomi brand chopped tomatoes (unless I'm using fire roasted). I've found these have by far the best flavor and they can also be added to my Amazon cart.
Dress up your chili with some fun toppings! Keep in mind that you are adding calories and sometimes other less-desirable additions. Some yummy toppings to try are corn chips, cheese, chopped onions, chopped chili peppers, avocado, crumbled cornbread, and nutritional yeast seasoning (a vegan topping). In the table below, three toppings are highlighted with nutritional information.
Frito Scoop Corn Chips
Organic Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Bragg's Nutritional Yeast Seasoning
Sharp flavor, creamy
Cheese-like flavor, vegan, sodium-free
Corleone, Jill. "What Are the Health Benefits of Eating Pumpkin Puree?" LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 11 Jan. 2014. Web. 11 Sept. 2014. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/469900-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-eating-pumpkin-puree/>.
Marcelle Bell (author) on November 17, 2014:
Thank you Peggy! I appreciate your kind comments on both my pumpkin recipes and also for your pinning! I just love pumpkin, like you, and am always looking for ways to put it in recipes. I'm publishing a lentil stew soon that has a little pumpkin in it too :).
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 16, 2014:
I have been cooking up some real pumpkins that we used for Halloween and fall season décor outside our front door. I know the canned pumpkin puree would probably have a more concentrated flavor, but I may just try using some of my real pumpkin in this good sounding recipe instead. Creating a new board on Pinterest for slow cooker recipes and will add this. Thanks!
Marcelle Bell (author) on November 02, 2014:
A delayed thank you to you too, ecogranny! Those pies sound yummy. Did you by chance make this chili? Thoughts? I love pumpkin season.
Marcelle Bell (author) on November 02, 2014:
Thank you, Au fait! I just made this chili on Friday night for Halloween but made it all with black beans instead of the 3 types of beans for the occasion :). The cocoa adds a very subtle smoky flavor but more importantly, unsweetened cocoa is a healthy antioxidant. Every ingredient in this chili is good for you and it is very yummy. My kids and husband love this - we are making chili mac with it tonight since we have leftovers.
C E Clark from North Texas on November 02, 2014:
This is a very intriguing chili recipe! Includes pumpkin AND cocoa too. I am indeed curious as to how this would taste. I may just have to try it and see! Very well presented with all the great photos, etc.
Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on September 30, 2014:
Mmmmm. This looks good. I've never tried pumpkin in my chili, but I have two sugar pie pumpkins on my table top right now. They are destined mostly for pies, but I had planned to make soup and cookies too. Perhaps I will make chili instead of the soup.
Marcelle Bell (author) on September 30, 2014:
Thanks for the kind comments and for pinning this recipe, Techygran! It already tastes fantastic (my family's favorite meal) but I'm guessing it would be a perfect 10 with fresh pumpkin. I'd love to know how that goes with using fresh pumpkin. I may just try the same next month. It's really great a day or a few later for chili mac too. It makes a big batch so you can do both meals.
Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on September 29, 2014:
oh wow, this looks a treat! While I type I am cooking up some pumpkin that one of our neighbours brought over, the surplus from the neighborhood pumpkin-growing contest they have every year. I am definitely going to try the pumpkin 3-bean meal-- voted you up, and pinned!
Marcelle Bell (author) on September 12, 2014:
Thank you Techygran! So glad that you found it on Pinterest and thanks for pinning. The cocoa is a nice addition to compliment all the other flavors and everyone knows that chocolate - unsweetened of course - is good for you, right?
Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on September 12, 2014:
Hey My Bell.. I ran across this on Pinterest and have pinned it on my Pumpkin Yumkins board. It is so colorful and beautiful and full of good stuff, and perfect for the Fall. The cocoa is a surprise ingredient! Voted Up and interesting!
Marcelle Bell (author) on September 12, 2014:
Thank you Rhonda and Sheila! Yes it is very adaptable, Rhonda. That's one of the benefits of using a slow cooker and also of chili in general. Good idea to make your own puree, Sheila! With Halloween coming up, there will be a lot of pumpkin insides to make puree. You could freeze some to use through the next few months.
SheilaMilne from Kent, UK on September 12, 2014:
It does sound delicious. I'm going to give it a try though I may have to be creative about the pumpkin puree and make it myself.
Rhonda Lytle from Deep in the heart of Dixie on September 12, 2014:
I never would have thought of pumpkin in chili. This is awesome and I really love how adaptable it is. I can't wait to try this.
Marcelle Bell (author) on September 11, 2014:
Thank you Rebekah and Jackie! My family absolutely LOVES this chili recipe. The pumpkin in it is so fun too, especially at this time of year. It gives it a smoother, tastier texture too. After you've tried it, please comment what you think.
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on September 11, 2014:
Sounds very good; I will try this for I have given up beef and sure would miss that chili! Thanks for sharing.
rebekahELLE from Tampa Bay on September 11, 2014:
This looks and sounds amazingly delicious and healthy! This is going in my Pocket file. I've made a similar chili, but without the pumpkin. The pics are beautiful. I really can't wait to try this for a weekend family potluck. Very nicely done!