I have been feeling like I needed a new challenge, so I decided to jump in and take the Rouxbe cooking school professional plant-based certification course. I will be very busy for the next six months learning more about plant-based nutrition, knife skills, cooking techniques, and new recipes.
Our first cooking assignment in class was to make our go to dish, one with which we are familiar and is in our regular meal rotation. I have always loved chili and now that we are plant-based, chili is almost an obsession for me. I not only eat it year round, but I always make a big pot and can eat it daily until it’s gone when most would put the leftovers in the freezer.
In the fall, I love all of the sweet, colorful squash that is available in the local farmers markets and in the grocery stores. They are loaded with flavor, visual interest, and nutrients, such as Vitamin A and beta carotene. One cup of cooked squash has 457% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A, and is a good source of fiber, potassium, and magnesium. One of my favorite squashes is butternut. I love it in chili as it adds a mild sweetness to contrast the spice of the chili powder, jalapeno peppers, and chipotle seasoning. Did you know that the butternut squash is a member of the cucurbitaceae family, which includes gourds and melons most likely originated in Mexico? Once called “the apple of God,” the butternut squash was prized by American Indians, who believed its seeds increased fertility. Australians refer to it as “butternut pumpkin” and it can be substituted in most recipes that call for pumpkin. Thanks to WebMD for these fun facts!
Hope you love chili as much as we do and let me know if you enjoy this recipe:
Three Bean Chili with Roasted Butternut Squash
1 large or 2 small diced onions
1 large or 2 small diced jalapeno peppers
1 large clove of garlic, minced or 3 small cloves
3-4 tablespoons of chili powder
1 teaspoon of ground red chipotle
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 – 15 oz can of kidney beans, low sodium or no added salt
1 – 15 oz can of pinto beans, low sodium or no added salt, rinsed and drained
1- 15 oz can of black beans, low sodium or no added salt, rinsed and drained
1- 28 oz can low sodium crushed tomatoes
1- 15 oz can diced, fire roasted tomatoes, low sodium
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed (grocery stores often sell cubed squash in the produce section if you need a time saving shortcut)
About 1/2 -1 c. chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1/2- 1 lime
About 1/3 cup of vegetable broth for sautéing your veggies. You can use water if you don’t have broth.
Optional: Your favorite guacamole recipe to complement your chili or serve on the side with some baked oil free tortilla chips. Our favorite is Alton Brown’s Homemade Guacamole. We make it whenever we have rice and beans or chili. It is mouth watering good!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Spread the butternut squash out on a baking tray covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat and bake for about 30 minutes until fork tender and lightly browned.
- While the squash is baking, sauté the onion and jalapeno pepper on medium high until soft, add veggie broth or water as needed to prevent sticking, add the garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes.
- Add the chili powder, chipotle, and cayenne and stir.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, and kidney, pinto, and black beans.
- Turn the heat down to low and let your chili simmer.
- When your squash has finished baking, add it to the chili, along with the fresh lime juice.
- You can add cilantro to your chili to taste, or if you have friends or family who can’t eat cilantro because it tastes like soap to them, just put it on the table so folks can add it as desired.
- Top with guacamole or tofu sour cream as desired.
Chili is so versatile. It is wonderful over rice, baked white or sweet potatoes, pasta, or even polenta. So, get your chili on and have fun with it! Make your chili your own with your own flavors and spice preferences.
And, as always…Have fun with your food and enjoy!