The first pot of chili of the season is always a noteworthy occasion. I’m one of those people who has a required low temperature before I’ll start making things like soup, stews and chili. With temperatures dipping down into the 30s in Charlotte recently, it was definitely time for a pot of my favorite chili.
I have been making this butternut squash and bean chili for several years now and I have to say that it’s now my favorite chili, even over the traditional meat variety.
It’s so chock full of butternut squash and two types of beans that you don’t even miss the meat. When I serve it to people I usually have to point out that it’s meatless because it’s that good and hearty without it! The presentation of the chili is beautiful with rich, bold colors that are perfect for fall. Bonus…it’s not only vegetarian but the base recipe (sans the delicious cheese and sour cream toppings) is vegan.
While the recipe does require a couple of hours to cook, it’s easy to prepare. After a little sautéing of onion, peppers and garlic you dump all the other ingredients in and let it do its thing and simmer. The leftovers keep extremely well and it’s even better reheated and served the second time.
I like to get creative with my toppings. You can go basic and eat it on its own but if you want to spice it up add sour cream or plain greek yogurt, cheese, avocado and some tortilla chips for crushing or dipping. A little hot sauce doesn’t hurt either if you like some heat.
I’m sure this recipe would also work in the crock pot on low for about 6 hours. If anyone tries it, let me know. Enjoy!
Vegetarian Butternut Squash and Bean Chili
(A Bakin’ and Eggs & Peanut Butter Runner Original)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
2-3 tablespoons chili powder (to taste)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
2 cups uncooked butternut squash, peeled and cubed (1-inch cubes)
1 (28-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can filled 3/4 with water
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté onions, peppers and jalapeño until mixture become soft. Add garlic and sauté for another minute or two. Add spices and continue to sauté for another minute. Add squash, tomatoes, beans and water and bring to a simmer. I usually simmer covered on low heat for 60-90 minutes and then uncovered on low heat for 30-60, depending on how much time I have and how thick I want my chili. The longer you simmer it uncovered, the thicker it will get. Add the cocoa powder in 10-15 minutes before serving and stir well.
Yield: 8 servings