Nothing says fall like pumpkin and a warm, comforting bowl of chili.
Several years ago, in my pre-vegan days, Sam the Cooking Guy planted in my head the idea of making chili on Halloween to enjoy cozied up with lawn chairs, blankets, and a fire pit in the driveway, while the local trick-or-treaters make their rounds.
Since I’m now at an age where it’s no longer socially acceptable to dress like a goofy pirate and go door to door for candy, Sam’s more grown-up friendly idea has stuck. Actually, I kinda prefer it to hiking all over town for treats – why not just relax, get comfortable, and treat ourselves?
Thus, it’s become my own little tradition to cook up a batch of chili for Halloween!
This vegan pumpkin chili with soyrizo totally fits the bill.
As if chili wasn’t comfort food enough, the pumpkin adds that subtle fall flavor we all know and love, while the soyrizo adds a crumbly, meaty texture and a touch of heat.
Now, while I haven’t gone to the trouble of dragging the fire pit to the front of the house (sorry, Sam), my Halloween rituals include:
Carving a pumpkin, some years more complex than others (scroll down for pics)
Lighting it up outside the door
Cozying up with a bowl of chili and a blanket on the couch
Watching a not-so-scary “scary” movie
Lighting the fireplace, or candles, if there’s no fireplace
If you’re an introvert, you feel me, right?!
And yes, I’ll pause my movie when the doorbell rings to give the neighborhood kids (vegan) candy and check out their adorable costumes. I’m not a monster! 👻
Try this vegan pumpkin chili with soyrizo as a Halloween recipe or whenever you’re in the mood for some hearty, simple, fall comfort food!
Cooked rice, quinoa, baked potato, or garlic toast, to serve (optional)
Heat 1 tablespoon oil (or water) in a large, high-rimmed pan over medium heat.
Add the soyrizo and break up with a wooden spatula. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until slightly browned.
Add the tomato paste and a splash of water. Stir into the soyrizo and cook about 1 minute until the tomato paste is fragrant.
Add 1 cup water, pumpkin puree, and molasses; stir to incorporate.
Add the red kidney beans, black beans, corn, and another 1 cup water; mix well. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 10-15 minutes or until desired thickness. Add more water if you prefer it soupier, or cook longer if you prefer it thicker.
Serve on its own, or over cooked rice or quinoa. Also great on a baked potato or with a side of garlic toast.
*Note: I used the El Burrito brand of Soyrizo, found at Sprouts. It's also gluten-free! Look in the refrigerated vegan section of well-stocked grocery stores/health food stores.
**It will still be good without molasses if you don't have it on hand, though I find it adds a layer of depth/slight smokiness.
My past pumpkin carvings, clockwise from top: Our late miniature pinscher – Ikaika (when he was angry), portrait of me and my then-boyfriend (now husband), butterfly, crescent moon and stars, and rose.