Pumpkin Cocoa Chili

Last weekend housed the first day of fall. I love it. “Hocus Pocus” was on over the weekend, so my haunting season has officially begun. It is now time for me to watch all the ghosty shows I can and work on my Halloween costume (we take Halloween very seriously here in Athens).

Another thing I love about the fall? The food, specifically big bowls of chili.


Just chili, you say? Oh, no, no. This isn’t just any chili. It’s the perfect fall comfort dish because it incorporates everyone’s favorite seasonal ingredient: pumpkin!


BUT not only does this chili have one secret ingredient, it has two! I also added cocoa powder to the dish to make it extra special. The cocoa isn’t sweet but it adds a nice, balancing bite to counter the heat of the peppers.


What better day to post this recipe than the first day of October, right? Wait… October already?


Sheesh, this year is moving fast, but I’m really not complaining if my future includes candy corn.


Pumpkin Cocoa Chili

  • extra virgin olive oil (once around the pot)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, leafs included, chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 1/2 c kidney beans (I cook my own but that’d be about 1 1/2 cans, rinsed/drained)
  • 1 c frozen corn
  • 1 c puréed pumpkin
  • 1-28 oz can peeled crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp honey
  1. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add EVOO and first three ingredients to the pot.
  3. Add meat once onions are translucent. Cook until turkey starts to brown, then add carrots and celery. Cook five minutes, breaking up meat and stirring every so often.
  4. Add in spices and chipotle peppers. Cook two minutes, stirring.
  5. Add beans, corn, pumpkin and tomatoes.
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Simmer for half an hour.


Just as a warning, this dish is pretty spicy. If you want to cut back on the spice, I would recommend using only one or two chipotle peppers and omit the cayenne spice.

To make this vegetarian, just use 1 1/2 cups of black beans instead of the meat.

Question of the Day:
Do you have secret ingredients that you add to dishes for a little extra something?



  1. Mmmm, I’m a big fan of chili – beef, veggie, chicken, pumpkin, pork, spicy, whatever, just gimme some chili when the weather gets cool. haha

  2. oh my goshhhh this looks AMAZING! i love chili loaded with stuff like this one! and i love the pumpkin cocoa flavors! also- i watched hocus pocus this weekend too! i love that movie, it really does mean fall is here 🙂

    1. Apparently it is and I was really late to the bandwagon for that. The pumpkin didn’t do a ton for the actual flavor but it made me consider it even more of a fall dish. 🙂 Since you know, HLBs are supposed to be pumpkin obsessed!

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