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Hearty Pumpkin Chili with Polenta

Total Time

Prep: 30 min. Cook: 45 min.


6 servings

Updated: Nov. 14, 2022
Feel free to make this healthy chili a day ahead. It reheats nicely, and the polenta stays good for a few days in an airtight container in the fridge.—Wendy Rusch, Trego, Wisconsin
Hearty Pumpkin Chili with Polenta Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small sweet red pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (29 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained


  1. In a Dutch oven, cook the first five ingredients over medium heat 8-10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink and vegetables are tender, breaking up beef into crumbles; drain.
  2. Stir in tomato sauce, tomatoes, pumpkin, 1 tablespoon sugar, chili powder, pie spice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large heavy saucepan, bring milk, cream, butter, and remaining sugar and salt to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle boil; slowly whisk in cornmeal. Cook and stir with a wooden spoon 2-3 minutes or until polenta is thickened and pulls away cleanly from sides of pan (mixture will be very thick).
  4. Pour into a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Let stand until firm, about 30 minutes.
  5. Stir beans into chili; heat through. Cut polenta into six pieces. Serve with chili.

Nutrition Facts

1-1/2 cups with 1 piece polenta: 547 calories, 27g fat (14g saturated fat), 99mg cholesterol, 1581mg sodium, 55g carbohydrate (17g sugars, 11g fiber), 26g protein.

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