Photo credit: Jamie Vespa
Nothing says autumn and winter like pumpkin and no, I’m not talking about pumpkin spice – to each their own I guess.
This vegan chili boasts the best of autumn and winter by blending the quintessential fall vegetable pumpkin with sweet potato and tomato which is rounded out with a little sweetness from cinnamon and the kick of chipotle chili powder – and what a kick, simply divine.
Be sure to have plain Greek yogurt on hand for the perfect cooling counterpart to the heat.
I didn’t have any pumpkin beer on hand the first time I tried this but opted for a honey brown lager which worked just fine.
Sweet potatoes aren’t potatoes at all. They belong to the bindweed or morning glory family. Its large tuberous root IS a root vegetable but unlike regular potatoes, sweet potatoes are not nightshades.
Sweet potatoes are rich in carotenoids such as beta & alpha-carotene some of which can be converted by your body to vitamin A. In this sense both beta and alpha-carotene are called “pro-vitamin A”. The reality is, not everyone, myself included, are efficient ‘converters’ of carotenoids to vitamin A due to genetics. For people like me, we thrive best when we get some vitamin A (retinal/retinol) in our diets.
Still, sweet potatoes’ carotenes have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Higher intakes of carotene-rich foods are associated with lower rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, and better skin quality and appearance.
Pumpkin is a type of winter squash that is native to North America. Most don’t cook pumpkin like the do other squash except maybe to make pumpkin soup, but that’s a shame as it’s a plentiful and nutritious fruit.
Like carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, mangoes, peaches, and other dark orange vegetables and fruit, pumpkin is loaded with alpha and beta-carotene.
One-cup (250 ml) of pumpkin puree has:
- 83 calories
- 20 g carb
- 7 g fiber
- 13 g net carb
- 3 g protein
- 40 mcg vitamin K1
- 57 mg magnesium
- 505 mg potassium
- 17 mg (28,000 IU) beta carotene
Canned pumpkin is much denser by volume than home-cooked mashed pumpkin because the manufacturing process eliminates as much of the vegetable’s water content as possible prior to canning.
Beans, and or legumes, have been revered for their nutrition for centuries. They are commonly eaten around the world and are a rich source of fiber and B vitamins. They’re also a great source of plant-derived protein.
Beans are protein-rich plant foods and have more protein than nuts, seeds or whole grains but the majority of their calories come from carbohydrates. They are digested like carbs and impact blood sugar like carbs. It’s a bit misleading to call them ‘proteins’ as we do with meat, fish, and eggs since those foods truly are almost 100% protein.
Beans and legumes are more accurately referred to as protein-rich carbohydrates rather than ‘protein’. Regardless they can contribute to your overall protein intake.
Most think about nutrition in terms of protein, fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals but health thrives best when we get a steady supply of compounds found in plant foods called phytonutrients. Beans and legumes are actually one fo the best sources of phytonutrients and phytonutrient-based antioxidants. It’s not all just about blueberries, green tea, cacao and dark chocolate, blue spirulina, beans carry their own weight.
Tomatoes are a great food to get more of.
Unlike sweet potatoes, tomatoes are a member of the nightshade family. Botanically speaking, tomatoes are a fruit but are prepared and eaten like a vegetable.
Tomatoes are very low in calories but have lots of potassium and trace amounts of other nutrients. Tomatoes are best known for their lycopene content; a potent antioxidant that seems to reduce the risk for prostate cancer, and some cancers.
Lycopene is better absorbed from cooked tomatoes and tomato products. The cooking process releases the lycopene from the tomato cell walls and being fat-soluble is absorbed with fat. Most recipes that cook tomatoes, use canned tomatoes, tomato paste and/or sauce use added fat (oil for sauteeing onions), or are made with foods that naturally contain fat (ground beef, pork, cheese, etc).
Helps to lower blood pressure
Pumpkin, beans, sweet potatoes & tomatoes are rich in potassium. Studies show that higher intakes of potassium are better than reducing sodium for lowering and maintaining healthy blood pressure. A 5:1 ratio of potassium to sodium should be your goal.
Even if you don’t/can’t lower your sodium intake, just by increasing your dietary potassium, blood pressure will lower. These vegetables can be part of a blood pressure-lowering dietary strategy – pretty amazing – truly a great example of “food as medicine”.
Pumpkin Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 1/2 cups peeled & diced sweet potato about 1 large sweet potato
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 12 oz pumpkin beer
- 1 15 oz can black beans, drained & rinsed
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch over medium heat. Add onion; cook 2-3 minutes, until tender.
- Add next 7 ingredients (garlic through cinnamon), stir, and cook 3-4 minutes.
- Pour in beer, stir and scrap any bits off the bottom of the pan.
- Stir in remaining ingredients.
- Bring to a boil, reduce to medium heat and simmer for 30-35 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning, until sweet potato is tender.
Recipe source & photo credit: Cooking Light