Pumpkin/Squash Chili with Avocado Cream

You know that feeling, when you have 2lbs of grass-fed ground beef to use up, a new TV show lined up on Netflix, and a freezing long weekend during which you don’t really want to leave the house? No? Well I do. Such was my situation this past weekend – beef to use up, sick of meatballs, and looking for something warm and spicy to enjoy while snuggled up on the couch watching Sons of Anarchy. (Holy moly I think I need a separate blog just to talk about that show! OBSESSED.)

I made this Pumpkin Chili with Avocado Cream from Health-Bent once before, in the fall when I had a little sugar pumpkin from my farm share that I needed to cook up. Since pumpkins aren’t as easy to find in the stores this time of year and I didn’t want to use puree, I used butternut squash instead. It tastes nearly the same either way, so use what you have! A few notes:

1) I had a yellow pepper to use, so I threw that in, too. You could add cauliflower or other veggies, if you’d like – just keep them on the mild-flavor side.

2) I’ve changed the instructions a bit to be more like traditional chili in the order of operations (so rather than browning the meat and removing it to another bowl, I brown it in the pot with the veggies). I wanted an easy, mostly-one-pot dish so I did it this way and it turned out great.

3) Do yourself a favor and make the avocado cream topping. It takes 30 seconds and takes this dish from above-average paleo chili to WOW, GET ME MORE OF THAT NOW! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Chili with Avocado Cream, adapted from Health-Bent’s original


For the chili:

2 lbs grass-fed ground beef
1 large yellow onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 sugar pumpkin, diced (about 3 cups) NOTE: You can use 3 cups of peeled, cubed butternut squash instead.

1 (28 oz) can diced, fire roasted tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (7 oz) can diced, roasted green chilies
1 c chicken or beef stock
FOC (fat of choice)

For the spice mixture:

2 T chili powder
2 T cumin
1 T paprika
2 t salt
2 t coriander
2 t cinnamon
2 t cocoa powder
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t cayenne

For the avocado cream:

2 avocados
zest of 1 orange
juice of 2 oranges
1 t coriander
1/2 t salt

  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat with a tablespoon of your F.O.C. Add the onion and sauté 3-4 minutes, until onions have begun to soften. Add pumpkin or squash and sauté another 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and spice mixture and sauté until fragrant, about thirty seconds.
  2. Add the beef and let it brown. Try not to stir it too much until you get some color on one side but make sure you break up the pieces. This should take 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add the rest of ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer to let all the flavors meld. When you’re happy with the texture and the pumpkin or squash has softened, you’re done.
  4. To make the avocado cream: Add all ingredients to a bowl or a food processor and blend until smooth. Serve chili topped with a dollop of avocado cream and cilantro, if you like it!

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