It is natural that the crisp autumn air brings us cravings for warm, comforting foods. My personal favourite is pumpkin, spiced with all the right aromas and flavours. The wonderful thing about these particularly popular flavours is that they are also perfectly supportive of our immune system at this time of year. Besides being packed with vitamins and minerals, pumpkin is also relatively low in carbohydrates, as it’s 94% water. The combination of spices that go into this recipe are antibacterial, antiviral, decrease inflammation and are highly nourishing. These facts plus the fact that it is filling, satisfying and delicious make this a go to evening meal recipe (with abundant leftovers!) this Fall. Like most of our recipes, you can also modify it easily to make it vegan. Try this delicious Moroccan pumpkin Chili today!
WILDFIT Seasons: Mild Spring
Challenge Weeks: 1-5, 11, 13
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
- 1 and 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger (about a 1″ piece)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 1 pounds ground beef (substitute chickpeas to make it vegan)
- ½ pound of pumpkin, cut in cubes (about 2 cups)
- 1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 1 large bell pepper, diced
- 3 cups (4-6 medium leaves) of bok choy, stems chopped small and separated from the leaves. Leaves sliced in ribbons.
- 1 cup bone broth
- 5 Tbsp mild harissa
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp cloves
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp allspice
- 2 tsp paprika
- Chili powder
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
This recipe comes together quite easily, and all in one pot! For me, this is crucial for a ‘simple’ recipe as it means less complex steps and less clean up. The idea is to infuse the flavours of the spices into the meat (or chickpeas) from the very beginning, as this creates depth and complexity with less cooking time.
Begin by chopping all your vegetables. You want the onion pieces diced small, the garlic minced, and the ginger grated. The pumpkin should be in thin bite sized pieces to make sure they all cook through evenly. The bell pepper should also be in small cubes. The bok choy provides a substitute for beans in this recipe, as the stems provide substance and fiber, a bit of a chewy texture, and absorb flavour. You want to cut the stems into bean sized pieces, and then shred the leaves into short ribbons. This is an optional WildFit accentuation on a classic chili recipe, as it is just a way to get in some extra greens. If you are making this dish for fussy eaters, feel free to omit the greens.
Pumpkin and sweeter spices may seem like an odd choice for a chili, but the slightly surprising flavours meld so well into the classic ingredients you will wonder how you ever had it any other way! This squash is something to enjoy in abundance during the fall, as it creates vitamin A in the body, a nutrient needed for promoting growth and development, and protecting tissue integrity in the body. Vitamin A is known as an anti-inflammation vitamin because of its critical role in enhancing immune function.
Once your veggies are prepared, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan or high sided frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the onions, ginger, and garlic, stirring for a minute or two to sweat and release the oils. Once the onions have softened slightly and the pan is fragrant, add the beef and dry spices.
Continue turning the beef and mixing in the spices and the meat cooks, until it is no longer bright pink. Once the meat has browned, add the pumpkin, tomatoes (including the juice), and salt, and stir to combine well.
Once the liquids start to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the chopped bell pepper and bok choy stems. Let everything simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every once in a while to ensure the dish cooks evenly. You want to simmer it without the lid, so that the juices are absorbed and evaporated, thickening the chili.
Add the chopped bok choy greens at the end, just to wilt them, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and mix in most of the cilantro (if using), saving some for garnish. Parsley also works nicely! Let it cool for a few minutes before serving as the flavors continue to develop more if you let the chili sit. Enjoy right away or portion and freeze for quick meals later.