Instant Pot Pumpkin Walnut Chili Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Instant Pot Pumpkin Walnut Chili

84 reviews / 4.6 average
A grey Instant Pot Love recipes banner.

Hellooo friends! Soup season is in full swing here at our house, and the studio, and in my food heart. Here it is – the chili recipe I’ve been talking up on my Instagram stories.

And being that we’re in the middle of our series, it’s Instant Pot Chili! Whee!

Also hey forgot to mention that it’s Pumpkin Walnut Chili! Wheee!

I know. Go ahead and get your lols out. Are you kind of having a hard time believing you *actually* might let me convince you to make a chili that is loaded with – that’s right – pumpkin and walnuts? Here’s the ingredient line-up. Give me five seconds to see if I can get you on board.

  • Tomatoes
  • Red lentils
  • Bulgur again – I’m on a kick
  • Black beans
  • Pumpkin
  • Walnuts
  • Chipotle peppers, poblano peppers, bell peppers… kinda whatever peppers you want
  • Chili powder, garlic, onion
  • Avocado and cilantro and maybe some green onions for topping – you know, the usual suspects.

How To Make Our Instant Pot Chili:

Vegan instant pot chili in a bowl with avocados.

Walnut in chili isn’t exactly a super obvious choice, but we DID make that cauliflower walnut taco meat a few months ago, and it WAS really good, so when I made a pumpkin chili that needed a little something extra? Walnuts resurfaced.

Here’s the weird thing. You’re going to want to chop up the walnuts nice and small so they kind of resemble the texture of ground meat, and when you cook them in the Instant Pot (affiliate link) with the other chili ingredients, they get really texturally amazing – somewhere between straight crunchy and totally soft. I love love love the texture of these walnuts. I also love the taste. I tried a version that added them at the end but I didn’t like it as much. Raw walnut flavor wasn’t what I was going for here. Buy a big bag of walnuts, hold your breath, and pop em in the Instant Pot with your chili. Please report back because I think you’ll love it.

Which reminds me: the pumpkin in this recipe is almost, almost, optional. I really do love the pumpkin texture and flavor, plus, hello, FALL, but if you were to be totally weirded out by such chili foolery, you could hypothetically leave it out and it would still be super delicious.

Instant pot chili in a bowl with a spoon.

So, PS. What’s going on with you guys this fall? Are you busy? Loving fall? Stressed? Is October feeling… well, what is it feeling?

For me, it’s feeling a lot of things, whiiich is probably best saved for another post. But on a serious-cheesy note, I want you to know that when I develop these recipes, even in the fog of all the feelings (good + bad) of the month of October, I am doing it for you, and your kids, and your friends, and your families, and your dogs and kitties who eat the scraps, because I want you to make and love these recipes, too. I am doing it to bring you a lil October joy. (AND ME TOO because I’m clearly addicted to this chili.)

When you leave comments and let me know that you tried my chocolate chip cookies, or when you send me an Instagram story of your green curry, or when you tag me in a photo of your cashew coffee? That is the full POY Joy Circle.

I hope I will be seeing a lot of this pumpkin walnut chili coming from your kitchens in the near future – I mean, we’re basically all hipsters now, so let’s at least hit up the gram with this.

Vegan instant pot chili on a spoon.

XO to you, and your coziest bowl of Instant Pot chili! I just think you guys (and pumpkin and walnuts) are the best.

More Chili Love

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Instant Pot Pumpkin Walnut Chili in bowl with spoon.

Instant Pot Pumpkin Walnut Chili

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cups (!!!) half-batches are good, too. 1x


Yummy vegan instant pot chili featuring red lentils, fire-roasted tomatoes, walnuts, black beans, pumpkin, chipotles, and all the good toppings. I LOVE THIS ONE.



Pumpkin Chili Ingredients:

  • 1 28-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • half an onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 poblano peppers, chopped
  • 23 chipotle peppers, chopped
  • 2 cups walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 6 cups water or broth (refill the tomato can about 2x)

Add at the end:

  • 1 14-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2 or 3 14-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained


  1. To Start: Place all the chili ingredients in the Instant Pot (affiliate link) and set to soup mode (30 minutes).
  2. To Finish: Release the steam, stir in the pumpkin and black beans, and season with more salt, more spice, etc. Serve with avocado, lime wedges, cilantro, tortilla chips, rice, cornbread… whatever you like with your chili! If it’s too thick, you can always thin it out with additional water or broth.


Stovetop: Saute the onions and garlic and peppers and spices. Simmer the broth and tomatoes with the lentils and bulgur and walnuts until lentils are cooked and walnuts are a little bit soft. Add the pumpkin and black beans last.

Slow Cooker: Same as Instant Pot directions, except low heat for 6-8 hours. If it’s not thickening, keep it in a little longer. You’ll know it’s done when the lentils have softened and absorbed.

Peppers: What peppers you choose kind of depends on what you want to happen with the flavor. Red and green bell peppers would add some mild flavor and sweetness, while adding a few jalapeños, roasted poblanos, chipotles, etc. would give you heat and a more smoky flavor.

Beans: 2-3 cans of black beans is up to you – just depends on how bean-y you want the chili. Other beans (like chili beans) would work, too.

Leftovers: Half batch would be a good idea if you are a one or two person household. Making the FULL batch and freezing half might be even better. 🙂 You will need to add water to your leftovers because it gets super thick!

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: instant pot chili, instant pot vegan chili, pumpkin walnut chili

One More Thing!

This recipe is part of our collection of best healthy soups. Check it out!

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  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Unless you don’t think it will work, I will be trying this with quinoa instead of bulgar to make it GF for my celiac daughter. I love walnuts and am super excited to try it.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Can you please tell me how this worked? I was thinking of using quinoa too. Thank you!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        I too am wondering what the best gluten free substitute for bulgar is in this recipe? Barley and bulgar are both out for us. My concern with quinoa is it’s a completely different texture (much softer). Does anyone have experience making a GF version of this? This recipe looks amazing! Dying to try it. Thank you!

      2. Pinch of Yum Logo

        I made this with quinoa instead of bulgur (it was all I had on hand) and it came out great!! Definitely give it a try.

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo

          I also made with quinoa and it turned out yummy! I think I might even try it without the quinoa next time though as it is quite thick & mushy, but tasty 🙂

      3. Pinch of Yum Logo

        A fantastic chili! Where did the lentils and bulgar go? And what happened to the walnuts? Just kidding. The thick texture lends itself to a variety of uses. Burritos and baked potato topping are what I have in mind for the leftovers. I can see how my choice of peppers (hatch and chipotle) and my DIY chili powder (off the internet) put me in charge of the heat level. Fortunately it was subtly spicy but not overboard.

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I love your note the POY Joy Circle. I decided last week that I should really be more intentional about the making recipes of and leaving comments for the bloggers I love following the most (you being one of them), and that really reaffirms that for me. 🙂

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This looks sooooo good! Thanks, guys! AND: when I clicked on the ‘Pin This Recipe’ link it worked! Hooray! October is cuhrazy b/c both hubs and son have birthdays, but with hubs being vegan I cannot wait to try this recipe! Happy Fall!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I wonder if steelcut oats wouldn’t provide a more similar texture? Crunchy, but soft…

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        I originally bought poblano & chipotle peppers when I saw this recipe in the summer. When it started to get cold and I wanted to make this, I only had jalapeño and red peppers. I substituted chipotle chili powder for 1 tbsp of regular chili powder. I was pleased with how it turned out, and can vouch for substituting different peppers.

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        I goofed! Added my beans already… Did all different types. Do you think if I set it to low and cook it a little longer, it will come out okay?

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This looks so so good!

    On a completely different topic; the other day I was listening to my pandora station and Nickelcreek’s Sweet Afton started playing, and it made me think about your precious baby boy. Just wanted to let you know that he is not forgotten, and his story was meaningful and touched many; even internet strangers in Indiana. 🙂

    Thinking of you this season! ❤️

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Red lentils cook fairly quickly in comparison to the others so I would think they go in raw. Just my guess!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hi Lindsay,
    Thanks for posting crockpot directions for these recipes for those of us who do not have an Instant Pot yet!😊

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      For crock pot, do you put pumpkin and black beans in for the 6-8 hours too or add at the end?

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Okay. No one is leaving out the pumpkin. That just can’t happen. Nope. And walnuts you say? I don’t have an Instant Pot, but Imma try the dutch oven route with said walnuts. Chilli foolery at it’s finest! 🔥💥

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    OMG this looks and sounds sooo amazing!!!!

    This post makes me want to curl up on my couch under a blanket with my cat and enjoy the full coziness of fall life! And eat some chili, of course! LOL

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This looks so unique and delicious! I can say I wasn’t really sold until I started reading through but wowza it does sound good!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I have been waiting you to post this after the Insta tease. Going to make it tomorrow.

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Just made this chili and it was soooo delicious pumpkin, walnuts and all. My kids absolutely loved it. Thank so for sharing

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’m allergic to lentils. What would you recommend substituting? Thanks!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I just got a root canal and am not supposed to be doing a lot of chewing right now, so I’m looking for soupy, filling recipes. This is perfect!

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hello! I made this chili yesterday with a couple of modifications. I was inspired by this recipe to finally use my pressure cooker, but chickened out! I just made this in my creuset. I used only poblano peppers. I did not add the bulgur wheat–only because after I added everything else, and went to stir in the bulgur, it was so thick because of the lentils. Just so you know, the recipe actually cooks really quickly on the stove-top. As a result I just put in everything at once. My family enjoyed this recipe. And yes, those walnuts! great idea! Gave the chili a good chewing texture. Thanks for the inpsiration! eva

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo

          Hi, Is it dry lentils that you’ve used in the soup maker as well? I’ve never used lentils before.
          Thank you

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’ve been on a real walnut kick lately, especially adding it to stews to create the best sauces, ever! So you’ve definitely convinced me to try this chilli, just need to get my hands on an instant pot! 😃