Twelve Months of Healthy Eating: Pumpkin Kale Chili in the Crockpot

Brrr!  We’re having a snow day here.  There’s really nothing better than a crockpot full of chili on a cold, snowy day!

pumpkin kale chili in johnnas kitchen 2

Last month I shared this post with you about my calendar project.  I brought a calendar home from my favorite little grocery store in Key West and am re-making each month’s featured recipe to fit my dietary style.

12 months of healthy eating in johnnas kitchen february

This month the calendar features Turkey Pumpkin Chili.

pumpkin kale chili recipe inspiration in johnnas kitchen

This didn’t require a lot of modifications on my part.  I really could have just subbed tempeh for the turkey.  But that would have been too easy.  I’ve upped the phytonutrient content in addition to subbing out the meat.  I knew you were over there googling “chili high in phytronutrients,”  right?  To do that, I added a bunch of kale.  If you have picky eaters in your house, you can chop the kale up into teeny tiny pieces or even chop it until it’s almost a puree in your food processor.  We’re big kale fans here, so we just give it a rough chop.

kale and tempeh for chili in johnnas kitchen

A quick note about the tempeh:  beyond making sure it is gluten-free (not all are, some contain barley, read the labels carefully as always), it is a very forgiving protein, super easy to work with.  You may choose to grate it on the large side of a box grater so that it is crumbled like ground meat, you can cut it into cubes or break it by hand into pieces.  I broke it into pieces by hand in the batch pictured here.  I used a variety that contains flax seeds, but any gluten-free variety is fine.

pumpkin kale chili in johnnas kitchen

Pumpkin Kale Chili in the Crockpot

Pumpkin Kale Chili in the Crockpot


  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 package tempeh, gluten-free
  • 1 bunch, 6 to 8 stems, kale (remove from stems, chopped to desired size)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, gluten-free
  • 1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 2 t. ground cumin
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. black pepper


  • Heat a large sauce pan until droplets of water poured into the pan will sizzle and dash across the pan. Once the pan is that warm, add 2 Tablespoons of water, the chopped onion and garlic. (This is water sauteing.)
  • Once onions are transparent, add tempeh. Cook, stirring occasionally, to brown the tempeh just a bit. Add kale, cooking until kale has softened a bit.
  • Add this mixture and all remaining ingredients to crockpot. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.




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