Mar 132016

Sorry for the lack of posts recently, but there was a good excuse. Cramming for the RD exam unfortunately trumped cooking and blogging for the past month, but I am happy to say I am now officially a Registered Dietitian! There will be many RD approved (ahhh I can actually say that now!) recipes coming soon, and here’s the first–Pumpkin Turkey & Veggie Chili.
Odds are you have a neglected can of pureed pumpkin in your pantry from your unachieved fall pumpkin pie goals. Well here’s the perfect way to use it up before pumpkin and chili season are no more (which the groundhog says will be soon, thank goodness). I actually made this chili months ago and completely forgot about it until I gleefully discovered a container of it while scavenging my freezer for dinner one night. Although I love the added nutrients the pumpkin provides, I have to say the flavor is pretty subtle in this dish. Still, this recipe met all my chili requirements–just enough heat, lots of veggies and beans, and of course, enough to provide me with a weeks worth of meals (and then some).
Nutritional Highlights: I love making chili because it is incredibly versatile and can incorporate just about any vegetable, any bean, any grain, and any meat. This one is about 75% veggies and beans and 25% lean ground turkey, but you can easily make it vegetarian by subbing cooked lentils or quinoa for the turkey. You get a little extra fiber and beta carotene from the pumpkin puree in this recipe, plus a slight sweetness to balance out the heat. A serving of this chili is the perfect well rounded meal, packed with protein, fiber, and tons of vitamins and minerals.
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Pumpkin Turkey & Veggie Chili
Makes about 6 servings
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What’s in it:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 bell peppers (any color), cored, seeded and chopped
2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped (or leave some of the seeds in for more heat)
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 can pumpkin purée
1 cup of pumpkin beer (water or broth work fine as well)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 cans of beans (I used 1 kidney and 1 pinto), drained and rinsed
Optional toppings: Crumbled cheese (feta, goat, or cotija work well), cilantro leaves, toasted pumpkin seeds, lime wedges

How to make it:
1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, jalapeños and garlic and stir frequently, until tender and slightly browned, about 5 minutes.
2. Add turkey and cook until browned, breaking it up into small pieces with your spoon. Season with the chili powder, cumin, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and pepper and stir for another minute.
3. Add diced tomatoes, pumpkin, and beer/water/broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add beans. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes more. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed
4. Serve and top with crumbled cheese (cotija, goat, or feta), cilantro, and toasted pumpkin seeds.

– I find that chili is even tastier the next day, so feel free to make a head and reheat the next day.
– Feel free to add any additional veggies to make this even healthier–like zucchini, squash, corn, etc.
– For a vegetarian version, swap ground turkey for cooked lentils, quinoa, or any other high protein grain!
Here’s to this being the LAST cold weather recipe I post for a while. Maybe? Pretty Please?

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