Slow Cooker Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili

This Slow Cooker Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili is the ultimate comfort food.

Although it’s vegetarian, this one is full of protein thanks to a variety of beans, and is packed with flavour and nutritious ingredients like pumpkin!


Chili is a favourite meal in my household but truthfully, it’s always the battle between meat vs. vegetarian. My hubby prefers to have meat in his chili whereas my preference is vegetarian. Although I do eat meat occasionally, I dunno, I just like a veggie chili.



Proteins in Beans vs Meat


So then the next statement from hubby is usually ‘well I need protein’. 


<Me: rolls eyes.>


Well I got you there homie because I added two different types of beans to this chili so that there’s a hefty dose. Beans make a great replacement for meat as a source of vegetarian protein.


The amount of red kidney beans in this recipe will give you just over 13grams of protein while the black beans will give you slightly more at 15g. If you were to use two cups of ground beef by comparison guess what. It would be the same amount of protein – 28g.


One thing to note is that plant-based proteins may not contain all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need, so it’s important to eat a variety of plant-based foods such as leafy greens, beans, and nuts to get all of your protein needs. I talk about this and how to transition to a plant-based lifestyle more in book Unbreakable. 


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What is a complete protein?

A food is considered a complete protein when it contains the nine essential amino acids that our body cannot produce on its own.


Let’s get a bit sciency for a sec. There are 20 different amino acids that bond together in a chain to form a protein. Eleven of those amino acids are produced by our bodies. The other nine – the so-called essential amino acids – we need to get through food


Now people get so worked up about whether or not they’re getting enough protein however most people are getting more protein than they need.


But don’t worry if you’re following a plant-based diet – again, you can still meet your protein needs with a variety of plant-based foods.


Including a wide variety of plant foods such as legumes [beans, chickpeas, lentils], nuts, seeds and whole grains on a daily basis will give you the complete protein you need,”


Beans Nutrition 


I’ve used black beans and red kidney beans in this recipe. 

What black beans and red kidney beans both have in common is that they are both a rich source of fiber and B vitamins, but I want to give a shout out to black beans for a moment.


Like many other beans, black beans are a great source of fiber, protein and folate. You’ll get 64% of your recommended daily intake of folate in just one cup. I’m a huge fan of getting enough folate for optimal brain health. 

Folate is not just for moms to be! Folate keeps those neurotransmitters happy. Adequate levels of folate reduces brain fog and bad moods. In fact folic acid has been used for years in treating clinical depression. 


Folate also helps to lower homocysteine levels in your blood. Why should you care about this? Well high homocysteine levels have been linked with impaired cognitive function. As a bonus folate also helps to protect your DNA from damage, which is crucial since damaged DNA can lead to diseases like cancer. You can lean more about which nutrients your brain needs to thrive in my free checklist – On Point


Fiber which you’ll find in high amounts in beans is crucial for digestion and diets low in fiber have been linked to depression. Fiber also helps you to regulate your blood sugar and insulin. This is important because when you have a spike in blood sugar followed by a sharp decline [hello, processed foods!], this zaps your energy and focus. It helps to keep toxins out of the brain which will help to regulate your mood and memory. 


Fiber also helps to reduce inflammation in the body. Many people these days are not getting enough fiber due to processed foods which strip most of the fiber from foods during processing. 


Pumpkin Health Benefits 


Now let’s move on to pumpkin. I looooove pumpkin. Pumpkin is under appreciated and has more to offer than a pumpkin spice latte. Although if want a recipe for a healthier version, I got you covered here.


Pumpkin, if consumed regularly, can help with digestion, improve your immunity, and may even protect you against many chronic diseases.


Pumpkin is a rich source of beta-carotene, which not only gives pumpkin it’s beautiful color, one study (1) showed beta-carotene may help to protect the brain against mental decline. This study showed the men taking beta-carotene regularly had sharper memory skills.


Pumpkin is also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin E, which is important since many population studies suggest that a diet rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene may help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.


Pumpkin also boasts high amounts of B-vitamins, and studies show that stress burns out the B vitamins in your body and B vitamins are key for almost all cognitive function. 


Other minerals and nutrients to note in pumpkin are calcium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, and fiber in addition to antioxidants such as lutein, polysaccharides, phytosterols, and peptides.


So now that you know how great this chili is for you I’d love to hear if you made it and if you did what you thought. Come on back and leave a comment and let me know.


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Slow Cooker Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili
This Slow Cooker Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili is the ultimate comfort food and is packed with flavour and nutritious ingredients like pumpkin!
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Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
8 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
8 min
  1. 1 medium onion, diced
  2. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  3. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  4. 1 tablespoon cumin , ground
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  6. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  7. ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg [optional]
  8. 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  9. 2 medium carrots, diced into ½-inch cubes
  10. 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes (fire roasted optional)
  11. 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained & rinsed
  12. 1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  13. 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (1 3/4 cups)
  14. 3 cups vegetable broth
  15. 1 teaspoon salt
  16. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Add all the ingredients into a slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and turn the slow cooker to high. Let cook 4 - 6 hours on high, 6 - 8 hours on low.
  2. When ready to serve {add a splash more broth if needed}, top with your desired toppings, like avocado, cilantro and sliced green onions.
  3. Note: If making in an Instant Pot, here’s how to amp up the flavor. Add 1 tablespoons of olive oil to Instant Pot and put on saute setting.
  4. Add onion and garlic, stirring until onions are translucent. Next add the spices, toasting just until fragrant, about one minute. Turn off saute setting.
  5. Add remaining ingredients, cover and turn on the slow cooker setting to high. Let cook 4 - 6 hours on high or 6 - 8 hours on low.
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