Looking for a tasty vegetarian chili? I think you’re going to love this butternut squash chili with a little spice, a little smokiness and a touch of sweet from the squash and corn.
The hardest part of this chili is cutting the squash and onions. For help with either of these, check out my YouTube videos on Cutting, Peeling and Cubing Butternut Squash or Chopping and Freezing Onions (you’ll get to see me and my kitchen over a span of 5 years!).
Once you’ve cubed the squash and chopped your veggies this dish is easy peasy. It’s also super easy to make a vegan version – just use vegan broth and choose dairy free sides (ie choose vegan sour cream, cheese,etc).
Why am I making vegetarian chili?
No one in my family is vegetarian or vegan – but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy great tasting vegetarian or vegan dishes. If it tastes great, is filling and offers all the nutrition I could want in a meal – why wouldn’t we eat it?!
Let’s get past this idea that you have to be vegetarian or vegan to enjoy plant based meals.
Butternut Squash Chili
- 2 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 med onion, sliced
- 2 med carrots, half slices
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp smoked paprika or chipotle powder more or less as you like
- 1-2 tsp cayenne pepper or hot pepper flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash (1/2")*
- 2 cup vegetarian broth
- 2 cups diced tomatoes (19 oz /541ml can)
- 1 14 oz can beans in tomato sauce
- 2 cups assorted canned beans*, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 cup diced sweet peppers blend of colors
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 1-2 tsp sugar as needed
- Heat heavy pot over medium high heat. Add oil to pan and heat for 1 minute.
- Saute onions and carrots until onions are translucent about 4-5 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook another minute.
- Add spices and butternut squash*(see note). Stir and cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add broth and diced tomatoes. Stir well, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot.
- Cover, bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer and cook 20 minutes or vegetables are tender.
- Add beans, corn, sweet peppers and lime juice. Cook for 5-10 minutes until vegetables are done to desired tenderness.
- Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt, pepper, lime juice, hot pepper flakes, etc.
- Serve over bed of quinoa or brown rice with sides like diced avocado, lime wedges, cilantro, sour cream or cheddar cheese.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
A Word About the Ingredients
Making chili is very personal and should be customized to suit you. Please use this recipe as inspiration only. Here are some thoughts about the key ingredients in this recipe.
Use whatever kind of beans you like best. I like to use a variety of beans, but I don’t want each spoonful to be just beans – so I use either one can of mixed beans or I use half a can of two or three different varieties. I’m not worried about having leftover beans, because beans freeze beautifully. So after I rinse and drain them, whatever I’m not using I put in a container and freeze for next time.
Do you love chipotle or a deep smoky flavor? I like it just a little bit – so I use just a dash of smoked paprika. But if you love it – Go to town and ENJOY! I’ll be busy adding another dash of hot pepper flakes.
I call this butternut squash chili – but you can use just about any other squash that will hold its shape (kabocha, acorn, hubbard, banana, buttercup, etc.).
I love the color and texture these add to the overall look. Just don’t overcook them, that’s why they’re added just in the last 5-10 minutes.
Sweet corn niblets add a lovely sweetness and make this meal a complete protein. About that… You don’t actually need to worry about combining foods to get a complete protein at every meal. Registered Dietitians tell us that over the course of a day or two, we eat enough variety that our body gets all the protein it needs. So there’s really no need to obsess about building complete proteins, but it’s a done deal with this recipe.
A touch of acid perks up just about any saucy recipe and lime juice is perfect with the spices in this dish. Go ahead and try it – you’ll see! To go next level, give a slice of lime to each guest around the table. Yum!
There’s no cilantro in this dish, but I highly recommend sprinkling some on top – if you don’t get a weird soapy taste from cilantro, that is! If you love cilantro, you’ll love it on this chili… with lime.
I’d love to know your twists on this vegetarian chili. Touch base with me here or on social media; I’m on instagram @getgettys and Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.
Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist, speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.