Vegan Beet & Butternut Squash Chili

This Vegan Beet & Butternut Squash Chili has big chunks of beets in it. Beets are great for nourishing your blood (that’s not a vampire reference…) — I find that they are awesome for fighting off some of those annoying conditions associated with menopause!

vegan beet & butternut squash chili

It’s chili season! Nothing says happy autumn like the fragrant aroma from a big pot of chili cooking on the stove. In our house that chili must be eaten while watching whatever football game is on TV. And the table has to be filled with bowls of guacamole, cheeses (vegan ones too), coconut yogurt, fresh cilantro, and some healthy-ish chips to pile on top of the individual bowls of chili. And even though this is a healthier chili, it still goes great with an ice cold beer…

Oftentimes I make my chili with meat — beef, pork, turkey, bison, lamb… whatever I’m feeling at the moment. But, I’ve been eating vegan more and more these days, so I decided to make this vegan chili. It’s especially awesome because it’s hearty and has big chunks of veggies. You know, it’s not like one of those vegan chilies that seems to be mostly beans. This one’s got moxie. It’s got heart. It’s got substance. It’s really awesome. And it tastes like a traditional meaty chili… for realz.

Every time I make a pot of chili or soup, I add some raw Chinese herbs to the pot so that while the food cooks, the amazing healing properties of the herbs get infused in my food. This time I added Huang Qi and Shan Yao to boost my energy. If you have access to good quality Chinese herbs, I highly recommend this, and of course, if you have any questions, just ask me!

As I sit here and type this post, I keep sneaking a peak at my closed refrigerator door because I know there’s still a bit of this awesome vegan beet & butternut squash chili sitting in the pot leftover in the fridge. Just sitting there. It’s kind of calling my name… OK, as soon as I’m done here, I’m answering the call of the chili…

If you want to eat more beets, you have to try my awesome recipe for Pomegranate Glazed Beets!

vegan beet & butternut squash chili

Here are some of the awesome healing capabilities of the ingredients in this vegan beet & butternut squash chili:

Beets are SO good for you. I try to find ways to fit them into my meals as much as possible. Really… many times a week. Beets nourish blood and tonify the heart. Athletes are starting to drink beet juice as a form of endurance therapy. They are anti-carcinogenic, good for anemia, and relieve constipation. I also think it’s a great idea to eat them raw sometimes because their amazing goodness is even more pumped up this way.

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.

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.

Carrots help strengthen the organs in your body. They also are good for the eyes (this is their claim to fame) and they promote healthy digestion. Many moons ago, people used to make carrot tea to ward off measles and to prevent cancer. Carrots help detoxify the body and in today’s world of Chinese medicine, they are prescribed to ease constipation and

In Chinese medicine, red kidney beans are used to aid digestion; they help you if you have diarrhea and they also have a diuretic quality. White navy beans actually improve your memory and they also have a calming effect, so feel free to use a mix of colored beans if you like.

Raw cacao is a superfood. It is packed with magnesium, iron, zinc and other minerals. Not only is it packed with health benefits, but it actually has properties that help the body absorb nutrients better and it’s filled with antioxidants. Cacao can actually be translated as “food of the gods”… Raw cacao can help lower blood pressure, promote healthy heart function, improve digestion, and may even help increase the libido.

vegan beet & butternut squash chili

Vegan Beet & Butternut Squash Chili
Recipe type: chili, comfort food, vegetables
Cuisine: vegan, vegetarian, paleo, whole30
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8
This is a vegan chili that's as hearty as a traditional meaty one. It's got beets, butternut squash, carrots, peppers, beans, and so much more!
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped (use whatever color pepper you have)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1-1/2 lb large-diced butternut squash
  • ½ lb red beets, peeled and diced (I used pre-cooked ones)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbs cumin
  • 1-1/2 Tbs chili powder
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 15-oz can kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 Tbs raw cacao powder
  • Optional raw Chinese herbs: Huang Qi, Shan Yao
  • For garnish: vegan cheese, coconut yogurt, fresh cilantro, chips
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the onion, bell pepper, and carrots. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Saute, stirring, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the squash, beets, garlic powder, chipotle powder, turmeric, cumin, chili powder, and more salt and pepper.
  4. Cook, stirring, about 15 minutes, over medium-low heat.
  5. Add the tomatoes, broth, beans, and cacao.
  6. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer 30 minutes.
  7. Give the pot a good stir, uncover it, and cook an additional 20 minutes.
  8. Ladle into individual bowls.
  9. Garnish with a dollop of yogurt, some cilantro, more cheese, and crushed chips.
  10. Enjoy!

vegan beet & butternut squash chili

Baked Chicken Tacos

What’s better than baked chicken tacos that can be made in advance… it’s not just for taco Tuesdays!

baked chicken tacos

I’m always ranting about eating healthy, so when I post a recipe like this one, people are often surprised.

Yes, I eat tacos. Yes, you can eat tacos too — and still be healthy!

And, tacos are awesome!

These tacos are made with chicken (and you can cheat a little like I did by shredding up a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken; I was lucky enough to find an organic one…) I used non-dairy cheese and organic taco shells. They are filled with lots of healthy ingredients, taste really decadent, and OMG, they are so good!

One of the best things about this baked chicken tacos recipe is that you can make them in advance and reheat them in the tray right before you want to serve them. The recipe that inspired me to make a pan of baked tacos is from The Cookie Rookie, and it called for those taco shells that have flat bottoms so they stand up by themselves. I didn’t use those because I wanted to use the organic ones, so I lined the bottom of my pan with kale and then nestled the taco shells amidst the kale. This worked great, and as an added bonus, we got to eat the kale!

And if you are looking for another recipe to use up some rotisserie chicken, make my Chicken Sandwiches With Mango Salsa!

baked chicken tacos

Yup, these tacos are healthy:

Chicken is something I push people to buy organic if possible. For this recipe, I used a pre-cooked organic rotisserie chicken from the market, but you can use whatever kind of chicken you have. Organic chicken is a great, healthy protein to give you energy, lessen the pain of some types of arthritis, and boost your system when you are particularly weak — like after surgery or childbirth. People who have some conditions that we consider “excess heat” conditions should limit the amount of chicken they eat. So, if you have an illness that gives you a bright red tongue or severe dryness in your body, check with your doctor first.

Hot peppers contain more vitamin C than any other vegetable and they are good at fighting off the common cold. Whenever I have a cold I eat lots of hot sauce. So, if you like spice, as I do, use a generous amount of whatever hot peppers you like. The main component of hot peppers is capsaicin. Capsaicin actually works with your body and mind to make you feel happy. It’s also good for reducing swelling and can relieve arthritic joint pain. If you have high blood pressure, check with your doctor before eating too many hot peppers because they can actually raise the blood pressure in some people. This recipe uses ground chili powder, ground chipotle chili powder, and fresh hot peppers, so there’s a lot of good hot stuff here!

I filled the bottom of these taco shells with refried beans. I used refried kidney beans, but you can use whatever kind you have. Kidney beans are great for your digestion, can help with both constipation and diarrhea, and can help reduce swelling in the body because of their diuretic capabilities.

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!

Corn and corn products aren’t allowed in my recipes unless they are can organic. Corn is a crop that’s just too heavily sprayed with chemicals and so much corn is GMO that I really like to be careful. I used organic corn taco shells for this recipe. Corn helps those who have hepatitis, heart disease, and hypertension. Cornsilk is also a Chinese herb (Yu Mi Xu). It’s often used to reduce edema, help with hepatitis and reduce the symptoms of some painful urinary conditions.

baked chicken tacos


Baked Chicken Tacos
Recipe type: tacos, comfort food, Mexican
Cuisine: recipe inspired by: The Cookie Rookie
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12 tacos
These tacos are baked in the oven and can be made in advance and then reheated. They are amazing... and yes, these tacos are healthy!
  • 1 organic pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 head lacinto (black) kale, thick bottoms of stems removed
  • 12 organic corn taco shells
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ¾ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chipotle chili powder
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 oz canned chopped green chilies
  • 1 15-oz can refried beans
  • 1 cup shredded vegan mozzarella cheese (or use cheese of your choice)
  • ½ cup Daiya shredded pepper jack cheese (or use cheese of your choice)
  • 1 hot red pepper, sliced
  • 1 hot green pepper, sliced
  • cilantro or parsley leaves, for garnish
  • optional serving ideas: extra salsa on the side, plain coconut yogurt combined with fresh lime juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with 2 tsp oil
  3. Lay the kale leaves in the bottom of the dish
  4. Arrange the taco shells on the leaves, so they stand up as best as they can.
  5. Heat 2-tsp oil in a medium skillet.
  6. Add the onion, and all of the spices. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
  7. Add the tomatoes and chopped green chilies. Add the chicken. Cook, stirring, about 10 minutes.
  8. Put a big spoonful of refried beans in the bottom of each taco shell.
  9. Next, fill the shells with the chicken mixture.
  10. Sprinkle the cheeses into each shell.
  11. Bake 15 minutes, or until the cheeses are fully melted and the shells are starting to brown on the edges.
  12. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the tacos with the sliced hot peppers and the cilantro or parsley leaves.
  13. Serve with salsa and coconut yogurt mixed with lime juice on the side.
  14. Enjoy!


baked chicken tacos