This recipe was totally inspired by one of my friends from school. She’s been talking about pumpkin chili for at least a month now, and I’ve been itching to try it myself. So when I found out that this month’s Recipe ReDux theme is slow cookers, I jumped at the chance to make chili. I have talked extensively about how much I love my crock pot and how amazing it is to come home to a hot bowl of soup or stew waiting for me. Now that the days are (finally) getting colder, I’ve pulled my crock pot out of hibernation and am putting it to good use.
This chili is full of pumpkiny goodness, which is really all I want in life around this time of year. The typical pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice) highlight the pumpkin, while the beans, quinoa, and vegetables make this a hearty, protein-filled dish. I added in a habanero pepper because I had one from my CSA, but you can absolutely opt out for a milder dish (or just mix in some cooling avocado or sour cream at the end). Just be careful with the habanero. Despite washing my hands several times, I managed to ruin a fresh pair of contact by getting my peppery fingers all over them. It was not fun trying to put those in my eyes the next morning (I very quickly gave up). I think I’ll wear gloves next time I use one of these peppers.
What I love about using my slow cooker is that I can do most of the work the night before, mix it all together in the morning, set the cooker on low before I leave for the day, and come home to something delicious. Oh, and this chili would also be great if you used beer instead of or in addition to water. Either way, this is a fall-friendly dish that is healthy, filling, and ready for you to eat the minute you walk in the door at the end of a long day. What more could you ask for?