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Recipe: Autumn Chili Picnic

Andy Bokanev on

It's October and the temperatures are dipping, but there is still time for a last minute hike in the mountains before the trails get their first dusting of snow. Our friend Mollie Adams traveled out to Colchuck Lake a few days ago to have a fall picnic with friends. Here is her report as well as a recipe.

This past weekend my friends and I set out on an adventure to the mountains in the Central Cascades. We had our eyes set on Colchuck Lake to catch the changing colors and marvel at what is known as “The Gateway to the Enchantments”. Best of all, we packed up all the necessities for one epic mountain picnic.

It all started before the sun decided to rise Saturday morning. While the coffee was brewing, I whipped up pumpkin turkey chili, which we would take to the mountains. And if we were hauling chili up the mountain, I was adamant it would not be cold (because who wants cold chili when it’s snowing and you just hiked up 2,300 feet, so you are a little sweaty but now that sweat is freezing). The solution? Food Canisters

With water bottles full, food canisters steaming with chili, coffee in our hands, and a windshield wiper possibly flying off the car, we finally headed towards the trailhead.

The hike was stunning as expected. It rained, it snowed, it was cloudy and even a little sunny. The colors were so vibrant and beautiful so I used that as an excuse to “stop and look at the beauty” but let’s be real, I was trying to have a water break to keep up with my friends.

Okay, okay let’s get to this picnic!!! I think it was my dream come true and I can’t tell if I was tearing up at how beautiful it was or because the wind-chill was gnarly. Either way, I gathered with friends overlooking a lake for a picnic and my heart could not be happier. And you know what?! The pumpkin turkey chili was DANG HOT when I opened my food canister and I did a little happy dance about it. Full of fall vegetables, this chili is like the entire season packed into a recipe. From pumpkin to delicata squash to the overall heartiness of the chili, you too will want to do a little happy dance about it.

Here is what you need.




  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 delicata squash, middle scooped out and diced (i keep the skin on)
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 husks sweet corn (~1 cup corn)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 15oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1 14.5 oz can first roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 15.5 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15.5 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • In a skillet, cook ground turkey with 1 tbsp olive oil and set aside.
  • In a large pot, use remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and on medium high heat, saute onions, delicata squash, and carrots for 5 min
  • Add bell pepper to pot and saute for an additional 3 min
  • Next, add all remaining ingredients (including the cooked ground turkey) and spices. bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 20min.
  • Garnish with pumpkin seeds, cilantro, or greek yogurt
  • Enjoy

For more recipes check out Mollie's blog and Instagram.