Hearty Beef and Bean Pumpkin Chili

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”  After busy days of shopping, preparing, partying and merriment, there are those nights when you just want to get cozy on the couch, stare into a blazing fire and enjoy a steaming hot bowl of comfort food.  Call me a crazy romantic, but this is what I dream of!

After our busy weekend hunting for our voluptuous Fraser Fir Christmas tree, (we call her “Daphne”) and then decorating her until she glowed and sparkled, along with volunteering, housework, grocery shopping and food prep, I was ready for a relaxed evening with a few of my favorite things like yoga pants, snuggling, a warm fire, chili and a favorite Christmas movie (mine is White Christmas with Bing Crosby…absolutely love!!).

If you need some inspiration for some yummy comfort food, I have a stellar recipe!

Over the last several months, I have been tweaking a chili recipe, adjusting the flavors and ratios so that it is robust, thick, super nutritious and has a kick of heat! I believe that the perfect ‘traditional’ chili recipe is rich, hearty and sticks to your bones.  It should have the perfect zing of spices, earthy, meaty richness, and deep burgundy color.  You shouldn’t eat it and think ‘healthy’.  You should eat it and think, ‘this is everything I want it to be, and MORE!’

While I realize that every family has their spin on chili, I beg you to try this one at least once and promise you won’t be sorry!  This Hearty Beef and Bean Pumpkin Chili recipe is incredibly filling and comfort food at its finest, well, maybe not ‘fine’ but definitely the most delicious taste of rustic you have ever had!

The secret ingredient in my recipe is the pumpkin.  If you have had your fill of pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes or my smooth and spicy pumpkin butter recipe, don’t be dismayed.  This chili does not taste like pumpkin, but instead, it gives a rich flavor and thick texture that makes it taste like it has been cooking all day. While many recipes use flour or masa to thicken the chili, this recipe is flour and gluten-free.

The spice list might look long but don’t fret- I guarantee that all of these spices are already in your pantry AND by making your own spice blend, you can control the sodium as opposed to buying seasoning packets in the grocery store.

Many grocery stores offer low sodium or reduced sodium beans- use these if you can find them because the recipe uses the liquid from the beans as well. Some bean brands are lower in sodium than others (I have found that some Organic brands are not labeled ‘low sodium’ but tend to be lower).  Look for a sodium content of 100-200mg per serving.  If unable to find low sodium beans, you can use the regular version and instead add no salt added tomato sauce (like Hunt’s brand) and/or no salt added chicken stock (like Swanson Unsalted Stock brand).  There are a variety of ways to tweak a recipe to adjust the nutrition!

If you need a fast recipe- here you go!

If you want a crowd pleaser- this is it.

If you are looking for a recipe that boasts leftovers better than the first night- don’t look any further.

Whether you are looking for fast, easy or comfort in a bowl, this chili will not disappoint!


Hearty Beef and Bean Pumpkin Chili

Servings 10
Author Jennifer Hunt, RDN, LD


  • ½ medium sweet onion chopped
  • 1 lb 3% lean ground beef
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 15 oz can black beans reduced sodium
  • 3, 15 oz cans dark and/or light red kidney beans reduced sodium
  • 15 oz can 100% pure pumpkin puree

Spice Ingredients

  • 5 tsp chili powder
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp basil
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper optional


  1. Brown ground beef in medium soup pot. Once meat is almost cooked through, add in onion and cook until translucent. 

  2. Stir in spices, salt, pepper, and herbs and cook for 1 minute. Add in broth, pumpkin, tomatoes, beans (with liquid) and tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer on medium-high. 
  3. Turn down heat to medium-low and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Serve with your favorite chili toppings.

Recipe Notes

Serving size is about 1 1/2 cups

Nutrition Per Serving

Calories 254; Total Fat 4g; Saturated Fat 1g; Cholesterol 26mg; Sodium 596mg; Carbohydrate 39g; Dietary Fiber 13g; Sugar 6g*; Protein 21g

*all sugars are naturally occurring; no added sugar

NOTE: For all of you that have read my series (Living with a Picky Eater Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), you will know that my husband is not fond of onions or tomatoes, two ingredients in this recipe.  The reality is that I make a lot of recipes and halve them making 2 different versions.  It doesn’t require any additional time and rarely any extra effort.  I wanted to give an accurate picture of what life really looks like in our family!  However, I do want to note that he adores his version of this chili recipe (sans onions and diced tomatoes) and loves taking the leftovers for lunch!


TRUTH:  Then Jesus suggested, “Let’s get away from the crowds for a while and rest.” For so many people were coming and going that they scarcely had time to eat.  —Mark 6:31 (TLB)



This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase a product through this link, your cost will be the same but Healthy Inspiration will receive a small commission to help with the operating costs of this blog.  Thank you for your support!