Vegetarian Chili with Chili-Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Vegetarian Chili with Chili-Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

This chili is robust and brimming with flavors and colors.

Chili made con carne, with or without beans, or as a vegetarian offering has long been popular as a hearty main course dish. In this version, a cornucopia of vegetables and beans simmer in a highly seasoned, but not overly spicy, broth. To entice customers, cilantro, Cotija cheese, diced avocado, and crunchy pumpkin seeds are added to enliven the dish.
To make this even heartier, add ground turkey or beef and let simmer with the vegetables. Raw shrimp may also be cooked this way, or reheat diced cooked chicken in the hot mixture.

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Yield: 6 servings
Prep time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Shelf life: 3 to 4 days


2 tablespoons canola or other vegetable oil
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeño
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
4 cups 1-inch cubed butternut squash
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup each diced red and yellow bell peppers
14-ounce can diced tomatoes, including juice
14-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
14-ounce can hominy, rinsed and drained
2 cups vegetable broth
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Cotija cheese, for garnish
3/4 cup chile-crusted pumpkin seeds (recipe follows), for garnish
2 firm, ripe Hass avocados, diced, for garnish
1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish

For the chile-crusted pumpkin seeds:
1 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoons hot or mild chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. In a large, heavy pot over medium-high, heat the oil. Stir in the onions and saute until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, chipotle chili powder, oregano, jalapeño, and garlic, and stir to blend.
  2. Add the butternut squash, cauliflower, and bell peppers along with the tomatoes, black beans, hominy, and vegetable broth. Stir to blend well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the spiced pumpkin seeds. Toss the seeds with the oil, chili powder, cumin, and salt. In a large skillet over medium, saute until lightly colored, shaking the pan often. Remove, cool, and store in an airtight container until using.
  4. Season the chili to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, garnish with Cotija cheese, pumpkin seeds, avocado, and cilantro.