Vegetarian Butternut Squash Chili

Ahhhhh, the temperature has dropped outside and the leaves have begun to glow with toasty warm autumn hues. It is almost time to tuck away summer clothes and pull all of those warm fuzzy sweaters and boots out of the back of the closet. This is my favorite time of year for camping and gathering with family and friends around a campfire that crackles and coaxes fun stories out of everyone. Do you know what else is perfect this time of year? A robust and spicy bowl of chili!

One of the dietitians I work with is in her element working cooking demonstrations for a crowd. Recently I watched curiously as she put together a vegetarian chili. I was skeptical. Not because I don’t love all those delicious vegetables but because I just don’t associate ingredients such as butternut squash and cinnamon with chili. However, as a dietitian and nutrition nerd, I am always open to trying new things. Especially combining new flavors that I’d not thought before to pair together. As my colleague worked on this chili and the aroma began to waft down the hallways, people were drawn to us like bees to honey. It smells so alluring you just can’t resist trying it! And trust me, the many who were willing to try it were pleasantly surprised. Including myself!

Vegetarian Butternut Squash Chili, robust and tasty and a cool fall day!

Nutritionally, this recipe is a rich source of vitamin A and B-complex vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, and pyridoxine, and an excellent source of poly-phenolic antioxidants as well as a mineral profile that touts iron, zinc, copper, potassium, phosphorous and more! It is rich in dietary fiber and protein which promotes a filling of fullness. Isn’t that exactly what you expect from a comforting bowl of chili?

A few helpful tips:

  • To save time search your grocery store for precut butternut squash.
  • The chipotle in adobo sauce is typically found in the Mexican section of the grocery store. Don’t throw away the unused portion! It can be frozen in a small zipper bag for later use.
  • This recipe works well as leftovers and may be placed in portion sized containers and stored in the freezer to bring along for lunch (so long as you have access to a microwave).
  • Rinse and drain those black beans to cut back on the sodium content.
  • Try adding some chopped fresh cilantro (I’m going to try this next time!).
  • Top with sliced or diced fresh avocado to add color and additional nutrients, including heart healthy fats.

So get busy cooking and be prepared to attract the entire house with that delicious aroma. You may even find the neighbors at your house! Enjoy!

Robust vegetarian butternut squash chili will easily attract with it's alluring aroma and beautiful color.

**recipe adapted from Cookie + kate

Print Recipe
Vegetarian Butternut Squash Chili
Chili is the perfect cool weather companion. This robust vegetarian chili will not disappoint! It is every bit as hearty and satisfying as any main stream meat-filled chili and is brimming with nutrients. Prepare yourself for the ultimate comfort food!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
bowls (2 cups per bowl)
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
bowls (2 cups per bowl)
  1. In a stockpot over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, red bellpepper, and garlic, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent.
  2. Turn down the heat to medium-low and add the butternut squash, chili powder, chipotle peppers, cumin, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the bay leaf, black beans, tomatoes, and broth. Stir to combine and cover for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Taste about halfway and add more chipotle peppers if you wish.
  3. The butternut squash should be tender and the liquid should be reduced producing that hearty chili consistency that is typically expected. Add salt to taste.
  4. Top with diced avocado if you wish, it would make a beautiful and nutritious addition.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition information per two cups: 364 calories, 61 grams total carbohydrate, 18 grams dietary fiber, 14 grams protein

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