Vegan Pumpkin Chili

Published on Sep 19, 2023

  by   Kristina Stosek

4 reviews

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 35 minutes Serves: 6
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Nothing beats a vegan pumpkin chili on a cold fall day. Made with pumpkin, two kinds of beans, acorn squash, corn, tomatoes, peppers, and an array of spices. This bowl of chili is a hearty, wholesome, naturally gluten free, and cozy plant-based meal that you can feel good about eating.

Enjoy your homemade vegan pumpkin chili as a warm and comforting fall meal!

vegan pumpkin chili in a bowl topped with herbs, nutritional east and vegan cream

Key points about vegan pumpkin chili


Rich and Warm Fall Flavors:

Vegan pumpkin chili embodies fall’s cozy, robust flavors—the natural sweetness of pumpkin pairs beautifully with savory spices, creating a warm and inviting taste experience.

Nutrient-Packed Ingredients:

Pumpkin is a nutrient powerhouse, rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It’s an excellent source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and fiber, which can contribute to overall health.

Vegan and Plant-Based:

Vegan pumpkin chili is entirely plant-based, making it a compassionate and eco-friendly choice. It aligns with various dietary preferences, including vegetarian and vegan diets, and can accommodate those with dairy or gluten sensitivities.

Balanced Nutrition:

The combination of pumpkin, beans, and vegetables in this dish provides a well-rounded source of protein, fiber, and essential nutrients, making it a satisfying and nutritious meal.

Creamy Texture:

Pumpkin puree adds a creamy and velvety texture to the sauce, giving it a comforting feel without needing dairy and extra tomato sauce.

Versatile Ingredients:

Vegan pumpkin chili can be customized to suit individual tastes. You can adjust the spices and ingredients to make it as mild or as spicy as you prefer.

Texture Variety:

By adding various ingredients like beans, vegetables, and toppings, you can create a chili with a range of textures, from creamy to crunchy.

Leftovers are Delicious:

Like many chili recipes, vegan pumpkin chili often tastes even better the next day as the flavors have had time to meld and intensify.

vegan pumpkin chili in a Dutch oven pot

What can you add to vegan pumpkin chili?

  • Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas): Toasted pepitas can be sprinkled on top of each bowl of chili just before serving. They add a satisfying crunch and a nutty flavor that complements the pumpkin.
  • Chopped Nuts: Crushed or chopped nuts like almonds, cashews, or walnuts can be sprinkled over the chili for a delightful crunch.
  • Corn Tortilla Strips: Fry or bake corn tortillas until crispy, then break them into strips to use as a garnish.
  • Avocado Slices: Creamy avocado slices add a different texture and a cooling contrast to the warmth of the chili.
  • Coconut Milk: A splash of coconut milk can add creaminess and a hint of coconut flavor to your vegan pumpkin chili.
  • Nutritional Yeast: This can add a cheesy, umami flavor to your chili and boost its nutritional content.
  • Chopped Fresh Herbs: Chopped fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, or chives can add a burst of freshness and texture when sprinkled on top of each serving.
  • Shredded Vegan Cheese: A shredded vegan cheese sprinkle, such as dairy-free cheddar or pepper jack, can provide a gooey, and creamy texture.
  • Crumbled Tofu or Tempeh: If you want to increase the protein content and chewiness, crumble and sauté tofu or tempeh separately, then stir it into the chili.
  • Pickled Jalapeño Slices: These add a spicy and crunchy kick to each bite.
  • Vegan Sour Cream or Cashew Cream: Top your chili with vegan sour cream or homemade cashew cream for added creaminess.


Tips on making vegan pumpkin chili recipe

cubed and sliced raw acorn squash


How to prepare acorn squash for cooking

Soften acorn squash for easier cutting: Acorn squash can be tough to cut when raw due to its hard skin and dense flesh. To make it easier to cut, you can follow these steps to soften it:

Wash the Squash: Start by washing the acorn squash thoroughly to remove dirt or debris from the skin.

Pierce the Skin: Use a fork or a sharp knife to make several deep punctures or slits in the squash’s skin. This allows steam to escape and helps soften the flesh.

Microwave Method: Place the whole acorn squash in the microwave. Microwave it on high for about 2-3 minutes, depending on the size of the squash. Microwaving times can vary, so check the squash periodically to ensure it doesn’t become overcooked. The goal is to soften the skin slightly, making it easier to cut.

Oven Method: Alternatively, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C), place the whole acorn squash on a baking sheet, and roast it for 10-15 minutes. This will also help soften the skin and flesh.

Cut the Squash: Once the squash has cooled slightly, carefully cut it in half vertically (from stem to bottom) using a sharp knife. This should be much easier than cutting it when it’s completely raw.

Remove Seeds and Stringy Pulp: Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp from the cavity of each half using a spoon. Leave skin on, and cut into small cubes for your vegan pumpkin chili.

Remember to exercise caution when cutting any squash, even when softened, as the skin can still be somewhat tough. Use a sturdy, sharp knife and a stable cutting surface to avoid accidents.

Can you eat the skin from cooked acorn squash?

Yes, you can eat the skin of cooked acorn squash. The skin of acorn squash becomes tender when cooked, and many people find it delicious. The skin adds a slightly nutty flavor, and can enhance the overall texture of the dish.

How to make homemade pumpkin puree?

If you want to venture into making pumpkin puree from scratch, here is an easy recipe.

You will need a medium-sized pumpkin (sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins work best)


  • Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Prepare the Pumpkin: Start by washing the pumpkin thoroughly to remove any dirt. Then, using a sharp knife, carefully cut off the stem and slice the pumpkin in half vertically.
  • Remove Seeds: Use a spoon or a scoop to remove the seeds and stringy pulp from the center of each pumpkin half. You can save the seeds for roasting if you like.
  • Baking the Pumpkin: Place the pumpkin halves, cut side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Roast in the Oven: Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for approximately 45-60 minutes, or until the pumpkin flesh is tender and easily pierced with a fork.
  • Cool the Pumpkin: Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the pumpkin cool for a few minutes until it’s safe to handle.
  • Scoop out the Flesh: Once the pumpkin has cooled a bit, use a spoon to scoop out the cooked flesh from the pumpkin halves. The flesh should be soft and easily separable from the skin.
  • Blend or Mash: You can mash the cooked pumpkin with a potato masher for a slightly chunkier texture or use a blender or food processor to puree it until smooth. If the puree seems too thick, add a small amount of water to achieve your desired consistency.

Homemade pumpkin puree is a fantastic base for making pumpkin soups, pies, muffins, pancakes, and more. Check out our selection of gluten free pumpkin recipes to get you inspired.

close up of pumpkin chili on a spoon

Serving suggestions

When serving vegan pumpkin chili, there are plenty of delicious gluten-free side dishes that can complement the flavors and textures of the chili. Here are some great options:

Gluten Free Cornbread: This Gluten Free Vegan Sweet Cornbread slightly sweet and crumbly texture pairs well with the savory and slightly sweet vegan pumpkin chili.

Gluten-Free Tortilla Chips: Offer a selection of gluten-free tortilla chips for scooping up the chili. 

Rice: Serve the chili over a bed of fluffy Vegan Dirty Rice. Rice is naturally gluten-free and can help balance the richness of the chili.

Roasted Sweet Potato: Serve over Roasted Sweet Potato Halves as a side dish. The sweetness of the sweet potato complements the savory vegan pumpkin chili.

Gluten-Free Biscuits: Bake a batch of Gluten-Free Cheddar Corn Biscuits to enjoy with the chili. These can be a great alternative to cornbread.

Remember to check product labels and verify that any pre-packaged or processed foods you use are certified gluten-free.

bowl of vegan pumpkin chili with a miniature pumpkin on the side


Vegan pumpkin chili is a dish that combines the best of autumn flavors and nutrition. It’s versatile, satisfying, gluten free, and exceptionally flavorful. Trying it can be an adventure that introduces you to the world of gluten free plant-based comfort food while celebrating the seasonal bounty of fall.

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Many thanks!

Kristina xx

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