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!
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!
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.
- 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
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the onion, bell pepper, and carrots. Season with salt and pepper.
- Saute, stirring, about 5 minutes.
- Add the squash, beets, garlic powder, chipotle powder, turmeric, cumin, chili powder, and more salt and pepper.
- Cook, stirring, about 15 minutes, over medium-low heat.
- Add the tomatoes, broth, beans, and cacao.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer 30 minutes.
- Give the pot a good stir, uncover it, and cook an additional 20 minutes.
- Ladle into individual bowls.
- Garnish with a dollop of yogurt, some cilantro, more cheese, and crushed chips.