Pumpkin Turkey Chili (Calabaza Chili)

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it is good to have an easy and delicious chili recipe on hand that is hearty and “heart healthy”.. 

Did you know that pumpkin is a  “power food” with a ton of health benefits?

Why not double the recipe and freeze half?



Tip:  Be sure to stock pile Pumpkin Puree this time of year (when it is readily available and on sale).

Pumpkin Turkey Chili (Calabaza Chili)

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

1 medium Onion, chopped

2 cloves of Garlic, minced

20 oz. Ground Turkey

7 oz. Smoked Turkey Sausage

2 (15 oz.) cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed

2 (11 oz.) cans Mexicorn

15 oz. can Crushed Tomatoes

15 oz. can Pumpkin Puree

32 oz. Chicken Stock

2 cups Water  (I fill the emptied can of crushed tomatoes)

1.25 oz packet of Reduced Sodium Chili Seasoning

1 tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 tablespoon ground Cumin

1 tablespoon dried Oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves

1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

2 bay leaves

1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped

Salt & Pepper

  • Quarter the smoked turkey sausage lengthwise and thinly slice.  Set aside.
  • Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a stock pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Sautee until vegetables are tender (about 3-4 minutes).
  • Add ground turkey and sliced smoked turkey sausage to onion/garlic mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Sautee until ground turkey is cooked through.
  • Add the black beans, mexicorn, crushed tomatoes, pumpkin puree, chicken stock and water to the stock pot.   Stir to combine the ingredients.
  • Add the chili seasoning, unsweetened cocoa powder, cumin, oregano, cloves, cayenne pepper and bay leaves.
  • Stir to combine the ingredients.  Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring to a boil.  Then simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Stir in the fresh cilantro.  Discard the bay leaves and keep warm until ready to serve.
  • Serve with your choice of “fixings”.

Creative Cooking with Cilantro: Day 4 – Coconut Cilantro Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream Frosting

This week, I have been posting the recipes from our Cilantro themed Sunday dinner.

Below is the recipe for the dessert from our family meal…

Yes…I found a way to make a dessert using Cilantro and it was amazing.

Even the picky eater in my family loved it. That alone says it all!

I hope that this Cilantro series opens your taste buds and imagination so that you too can come up with some creative ways to cook with Cilantro. It is more than “just for salsa”…




Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Coconut Cilantro Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream Frosting

1 box Pound Cake Mix (I used Betty Crocker)
3/4 cup Milk
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup Sweetened Flaked Coconut
1/4 Cilantro, finely chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line cupcake pan with paper cupcake liners.
  3. Add cake mix, milk, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Mix on low for 30 seconds.
  5. Increase mixer speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes.
  6. Fold in coconut and cilantro.
  7. Fill each cupcake liner halfway.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes (or until cake tester comes out clean).
  9. Remove from baking pan and cool on a wire rack.
  10. Frost with Lime Buttercream Frosting (see recipe listed below).
  11. Top with coconut or candies.


Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Lime Buttercream Frosting

1-3/4 cups Confectioners Sugar
1/4 cup Butter, softened
Zest of 1 Lime, finely chopped
Juice from 1 Lime
1-2 tablespoons Milk (as needed)

  1. In a medium bowl, combine confectioners sugar, butter, milk, lime zest and juice with a mixer.
  2. Beat for 1-2 minutes until very creamy.
  3. Add milk a tablespoon at a time to get the consistency you like.

Creative Cooking with Cilantro: Day 3 – Gypsy Cilantro Lime Martini

It’s Cocktail Time!

The Cilantro Lime Shrimp was so delicious that I decided to keep the Cilantro Lime flavor combination going for the cocktail recipe…

It was actually very refreshing and earthy. If you love Cilantro, you will love this!


Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Gypsy Cilantro Lime Martini

1/4 cup Cilantro Leaves

2 packets Splenda

2 jiggers of Seagrams Seven

2 jiggers of Vodka

Juice of 1 Lime

Lime Zest to Garnish

  1. Add the Cilantro and Splenda to a small bowl and muddle until well blended.
  2. Transfer the Cilantro to a shaker.
  3. Add the Seagrams Seven, Vodka and Lime Juice.
  4. Give a good shake.
  5. Carefully strain into two martini glasses.
  6. Garnish with Lime Zest

Creative Cooking with Cilantro: Day 2 – Spiced Cilantro Rice

This week our family Sunday dinner took on a Cilantro theme.  As promised, I will continue posting the recipes from our Sunday dinner throughout the week along with more interesting tidbits about Cilantro. 

Below is recipe for the side dish from our Cilantro themed Sunday dinner…Spiced Cilantro Rice (that I served with the Cilantro Lime Shrimp recipe which I posted yesterday https://gypsyworldspicecafe.com/2011/03/27/creative-cooking-with-cilantro-day-1-cilantro-lime-shrimp/).

Cilantro (also known as coriander) is a herb that is not only flavorful … it is loaded with health benefits.  

  • Cilantro is known to aid in digestion.
  • Cilantro is known to stimulate appetite. 
  • Cilantro is used to prevent nausea.
  • Some use Cilantro in a paste to alleviate painful joints.

Note: Home remedies should not be tried without consulting the physician.

What will you be making with Cilantro?




Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Spiced Cilantro Rice

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

1 tablespoon Butter

1 Shallot, finely minced

2 Garlic cloves, finely minced

1 teaspoon Cumin

good pinch of Saffron (about 1/2 teaspoon)

1 1/2 cups Brown Rice

4  cups Chicken Stock

1 Cinnamon Stick (3 inch)

1/4-1/2 cup chopped Cilantro (depending on your taste)

Salt & Pepper

  1. In a heavy saucepan, melt butter with olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add shallots and cook until softened about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook 2-3 minutes longer.
  4. Add the cumin and saffron.  Stir for 1 minute.
  5. Add the brown rice.  Stir for 1 minute.
  6. Add the chicken stock and cinnamon stick.
  7. Bring to a boil (over high heat).
  8. Reduce to low.  Cover  and simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender (about 40 minutes).
  9. Stir in cilantro.  Adjust seasoning (salt & pepper) to taste.
  10. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Creative Cooking with Cilantro: Day 1 – Cilantro Lime Shrimp

The first time that I cooked with Cilantro, it was definitely not “love at first sight”.  While I liked the taste, I was not a fan of its aroma (which was a little pungent for me).   Since then, I have come to adore this herb.   I cook with it a lot…adding it to my hummus, soups, rice dishes, salads and marinades.   Of course, I also add it to homemade salsa.  However, Cilantro is so much more than being used “just for salsa”…

Cilantro (also known as coriander) is an herb which has been used around the world for centuries.   It is a well-known ingredient used in recipes from Spain, Mexico, Middle East and South America.  

Cilantro has an interesting history.

  • Archeologists found coriander seeds in King Tut’s tomb. 
  • The Greeks used the essential oil of Cilantro for perfume. 
  • The Romans introduced Cilantro to the British who in turn brought Cilantro to the Americas in 1670.

This week our family Sunday dinner took on a Cilantro theme.  I will be posting the recipes from our Sunday dinner throughout the week along with more interesting tidbits about Cilantro.




Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Cilantro Lime Shrimp

2 pounds large Shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 tablespoon Butter
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Shallot, finely minced
1 Garlic clove, finely minced
1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
Juice if 2 limes
Salt & Pepper

  • Rinse shrimp under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels.
  • In a nonreactive large frying pan, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add chopped shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes, until softened.
  • Add garlic and shrimp.
  • Cook, tossing 30 seconds.
  • Add lime juice and cook 2-3 minutes (or until shrimp turns pink).
  • Salt & Pepper to taste.
  • Stir in chopped cilantro. 
  •  Serve immediately (with crusty bread if you want).