For More Nutritious And Creamier Chili, Include This One Ingredient

To set creamier, more nutrient-packed bowls of chili on tonight's dinner table, there's one ingredient you must consider mixing into the spicy batch simmering on your stove: pumpkin. The health-boosting ingredient may not make a hugely noticeable difference in taste, but your chili recipe will be transformed into something with a heartier texture and richer presentation. 

Reluctant to slice open a gourd and take time spooning out seeds to ready the addition for your dish? Use canned purée instead and spoon dollops of the ready-made ingredient into your flavorful pot of beans, vegetables, and meat. Just be sure you're opening up a can of pumpkin and not filling for pumpkin pie — that is, unless, you'd like tonight's chili to pack a heavy dose of sweetness. To take your culinary prowess a step further, you can make your own homemade pumpkin purée to have on hand to add easily to chili, bread, pancakes, and other culinary undertakings. 

A nutrient-packed meal

Whether you prefer making chili with beans or without, stirring some pumpkin (or another member of the gourd family) into the mix can boost any recipe. They'll pump up chili bowls with nutrients and texture, and you can even save the seeds to top your dish with a smattering of chili-roasted pepitas alongside creamy pillows of sour cream or Greek yogurt. Pumpkin's relatively neutral flavor will benefit from all the chili accoutrements; light dustings of smoked paprika, chili powder, and cumin with freshly cut herbs can transform an average, quickly-assembled weeknight bowl into a meal that could easily be ordered at a restaurant. 

With the antioxidant beta carotin, fiber, potassium, and vitamin E, pumpkin is guaranteed to take your usual chili recipe to new levels — without diners knowing you've stirred an extra ingredient into the dish. The only noticeable difference? A smooth, creamy meal that calls for second servings. Consider yourself lucky if you happen to have leftovers to serve tomorrow.