This Vegan Butternut Squash And Bean Chili is so delicious and so comforting. Nobody’s going to miss the meat in this one!
Fall means big pots of warming comfort food on the stove. It means soups and stews and homey foods. It means chili. Lots of chili.
A few months ago, Steve and I moved out of Manhattan and bought The Harvest Inn in wine country on the North Fork of Long Island. I guess most people know this already, but for those who don’t, I’m telling you now because I am sitting here trying to create a recipe for some type of breakfast chili — so far it’s been pretty fun experimenting, and eggs really do seem to go pretty well with chili… but that’s for another time…
This chili, this Vegan Butternut Squash And Bean Chili is not a breakfast chili… it’s a perfect football Sunday, snuggling on the couch with a blankie pot of chili.
I’m not one for re-making the same foods all the time. And sometimes this is to my detriment. I’ll create a recipe, cook it up, serve it to willing (or even not-so-willing) participants and then even if they love it, sometimes they’ll never see it again. Yes, it’s a problem. Well, it can be a problem for my eaters, not for me…
Anyway, I make lots of chilis. Did you know you can make chili out of anything? Yes, literally anything.
Okay, back to this particular chili… tis the season for everything winter squash. So, it’s got to go into a chili. I mean, it only makes sense. Oh, and you really can substitute any winter squash or pumpkin that you like. A cheese pumpkin would be awesome. I say that with a big smile on my face because last week I bought and roasted a cheese pumpkin for the first time ever and now I’m a huge fan. Really, it’s pretty awesome that no matter what you put into your simmering pot of chili, it always ends up tasting awesome. So, even though when we think of eating seasonally, oftentimes we think of big fruit and veggie platters or salads, eating seasonally is the forte of a chili cook.
I know that it could be a concern of football Sunday fans that a pot of vegan chili may not be what your guests are looking for me. We are a big football Sunday house here, and trust me when I tell you, that nobody will be unhappy with a big bowl of this Vegan Butternut Squash And Bean Chili. I make this and serve it with a big dollop of plant-based yogurt or sour cream on top and omg when you stir it, it gets all creamy and even more amazing.
Also, I love to top it with diced avocado, shredded vegan cheese, and even sourdough croutons.
It’s 8:00 in the morning as I type this, and I want chili. Ugh… I ate the last bowl that was left in my fridge yesterday afternoon. I spent the last 3 days in Manhattan, came home ravenous, opened the fridge and there was one bowl left. Score!
Here are some of the great healing ingredients in this Vegan Butternut Squash And Bean Chili:
Butternut squash is more than just a delicious vegetable; it’s really good for you. It’s a good fever reducer, it can lessen stomach pain and it can be a comfort during pregnancy when the baby feels like she’s doing acrobatics. It’s also rich in carotenoids and Vitamin B6. This means it’s good for your heart and can help lower bad cholesterol. And, because butternut squash can help reduce inflammation in the body, it benefits almost everyone.
Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. Recently, I recommended that a patient with bronchitis put sliced raw onions in her socks when she went to sleep… she woke up so much better. (I know I’ve told you this before, but it really is awesome!) Onion is a superhero in the food world!
Turmeric is actually a Chinese herb (Jiang Huang). It is great for reducing inflammation throughout the body. If you suffer from aches and pains in your joints, try turmeric. It can help relieve menstrual pain and some other abdominal pains but, if you are pregnant, ask your doctor before you eat too much turmeric.
Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. It’s also a Chinese herb called Da Suan. It is used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….
In Chinese medicine, black foods are known as the best foods to strengthen the body and nourish the blood. We recommend them for many people who suffer from chronic lower back pain, knee pain and infertility. Black beans have the highest amount of antioxidants of any bean, they are high in fiber and are good for the heart.
White beans are good at boosting energy and calming the mind. They can help improve your memory and can lower cholesterol. And, they are a great source of protein.
Bell peppers help with indigestion. If you are feeling bloated and full from over-eating a lot lately, consuming bell peppers will help reduce this feeling. They are also good for blood circulation and research has shown that they are good for people with a low appetite or anorexia.
- 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 med onion, chopped
- 1-1/2 lb cubed butternut squash
- 7 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- sea salt, to taste
- ½ tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1 Tbs chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
- 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 5 oz baby spinach
- Optional toppings: diced avocado, vegan shredded cheese, dairy-free yogurt
- Heat the oil in a large pot, over medium heat.
- Add the onion and sauce 3 mins, then add the squash, garlic, bell peppers and salt. Cook, stirring, 5 mins.
- Stir in the chili powders, cumin, and turmeric. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.
- Add the bay leaf, tomatoes with their juices, beans, and broth.
- Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, about 30 mins or until the squash is tender -- check on it often so it doesn't overcook.
- When the squash is tender, add the spinach, stir, and cook just until wilted.
- Ladle into bowls and top with yogurt, avocado, and cheese.