Hearty, savory, easy-to-make, and perfect for a big batch, this Savory Pumpkin Stew can't be beat! It's one of those simple, wholesome meals you make once, think about often, and just keep coming back to.
Creamy coconut milk, earthy pumpkin, hearty vegetables and just the right minimalist spice combination will show you how unforgettable this simple dish really is! It’s best made in the cooler months and the ingredients are available all year round. I recommend keeping a few cans of pumpkin puree in the pantry specifically for this recipe.
This recipe is a truly unique creation and is most similar to a veggie-packed Dairy-Free Zuppa Toscana. It tastes great on its own and pairs well with a simple salad or my 3-ingredient Gluten-Free Baguette recipe.
Why you'll fall in love with this hearty Pumpkin Stew:
- Amazing texture and mouth feel: smooth broth, chewy kale, hearty potatoes... yum.
- Simple, easy-to-find ingredients -- you might have them on hand already!
- Soothing and gut-friendly
- Easy to adapt to vegan or paleo (see the notes)
- Makes for smashing leftovers and the perfect big-batch dish
What to know before you start
It's really foolproof.
Simple prep, and no special cooking skills required.
How you add kale to a soup or stew really does matter. The stems are tough and should be removed first and discarded. Then tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces. Some chefs toss the kale in at this point, but I recommend massaging the kale and adding it in the last five minutes. That way, it retains its chewy texture but is also nice and tender.
To massage kale: "Massage" is a fancy word. It really means to put the leaves in a pile and just grab and scrunch with your hands until soft. Not the kind of massage I'm into, but it works marvelously for kale 😉
This Savory Pumpkin Stew is the perfect easy recipe for minimalist kitchens, camping, or travel cooking. It requires only two spices other than salt and pepper, and uses 9 whole food ingredients.
- olive oil
- yellow onion
- ground beef or turkey
- russet potatoes
- broth (chicken, beef, or vegetable)
- canned pumpkin puree
- canned white beans
- curly kale
- coconut milk
- bay leaves
- dried basil
- salt and pepper
See the recipe card for quantities.
How to make Savory Pumpkin Stew
Onion: Add olive oil and onion to a large pot on medium-high heat. Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring on occasion, until the onions are soft and begin to caramelize.
Meat: Add the ground meat to the pot and cook until browned, stirring on occasion (5-7 minutes). See 'Substitutions' below for a vegan version.
Soup it up: Add all other ingredients to the pot except kale and coconut milk.
Simmer: Stir the ingredients together. Heat to a simmer and cook, stirring on occasion, until the potatoes are soft (about 15 minutes).
Finish: Then add kale and ⅔ cup coconut milk. Bring to a simmer again and it's done! Serve warm and enjoy.
Hint: The original recipe said to saute the potatoes with the onion before adding the meat and other soup ingredients. If you’re short on time, this will cut about 5 minutes off the cooking time. I changed the instructions because this version leads to more caramelized onions and meat browning, and is therefore a little more flavorful.
- Vegan - use vegetable broth and replace the ground meat with 1 additional can of beans of your choosing.
- Paleo or Whole 30 - simply omit the beans or replace them with 1 ½ cups sliced mushrooms.
- Heavy cream - instead of coconut milk, you can use heavy cream.
- Spinach - in a pinch, readers have used spinach and said it still turns out great.
This recipe is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and grain-free.
- Fresh basil - add fresh basil to garnish in addition to the dried basil in the recipe to make it special for dinner guests.
- Large pot or dutch oven (affiliate link)
- Wooden spoon
Store leftover Pumpkin Stew in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Chop the potatoes in a small dice (about 1 centimeter cubes) so they cook faster. Cooking time can vary by a full 10 minutes depending on the size of the dice.
More healthy soup and stew recipes:
- House Favorite Vegan Minestrone Soup
- Super Addictive Thai Chicken Soup
- Easy Instant Pot Tomato Soup
- Classy Dairy-Free Zuppa Toscana in one pot with clean ingredients
When I first made this Pumpkin Stew, it was just after escaping a California wildfire by mandatory evacuation. My partner and I were exhausted and overwhelmed, and it was one of those times when just the right dish can save the day!
I hope it brings you all the joys of classic comfort food too.