Friday, January 17, 2014

How to Make Chili Like a Boss

Southwestern Butternut Squash Chili

Vegetarian, gluten and dairy free options

I was looking at the butternut squash in my window for a few days wondering what I'll make with it. Usually I roast it as seen in this post but today I decided to make a chili with the squash as the star ingredient. 

There are a lot of ingredients in this chili and you can add or subtract where you see fit. I know that it will still come out delish! I did not use any pre-made spice / chili packets but I did resort to using some ingredients from a can. (I try to avoid cans due to the BPA in the lining.) Plus, I burned 3 pots of black beans from the dried variety. I'm sticking with cans for awhile at least for beans and some other ingredients. 

Does the act of peeling a butternut squash scare you? It did me until I found this quick demo by Simply Recipes then I went out and purchased a new peeler.

You can make this a 100% vegetarian chili by omitting the ground turkey. 
You can also make this a dairy free chili by not adding the greek yogurt and shredded cheese. The chili alone is gluten-free. 

Please use organic ingredients whenever possible. Many times organic ingredients cost less than their conventionally grown counterparts (even canned foods). 

1 medium onion, diced 
2 tsp garlic minced
4 cups of vegetable broth, divided (DIY here)
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 can of diced tomatoes with green chilis
1 butternut squash, cut, cleaned, peeled and chopped 

1 lb ground turkey (without added seasonings)
4 tsp cumin, divided
4 tsp dried oregano, divided
4 tsp garlic salt, divided

1 14 oz diced tomatoes (plain)
1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
1 8 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz frozen corn

2 tsp chili pepper

Optional toppings:
Plain Greek yogurt
Shredded cheese

1. Brown the diced onions in the 2 tablespoons of EVOO on medium heat. 

2. When onions are brown, add the 2 teaspoons of minced garlic. Cook 1 minute.

2. Add 2 cups of vegetable broth and bring to a simmer.

3. Add the diced bell peppers and diced tomatoes with green chilis.

4. While flavors are melding, cut, clean, and peel the butternut squash as seen in the helpful link from Simply Recipes above and add to the pot and cook for 10-15 minutes until squash is nearly al-dente. Stirring occasionally. 

5. While squash and first 5 ingredients are cooking, brown the ground turkey with 2 teaspoons of cumin, garlic salt, and oregano. 

6. While turkey is browning, drain and rinse the black beans. Set aside. 

7. When squash is al dente, add the can of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce and let it simmer for 10 minutes. 

8. Add ground turkey and black beans to the pot. Give it a good stir. 

9. Add the other 2 cups of vegetable broth (or up to the thickness you'd like).

10. Add in corn (can omit). Stir. 

11. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of chili pepper, cumin, oregano, and garlic salt. Stir. 

12. Cover and cook until squash is the texture you like. I cooked mine for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. 

The chili can stand alone no problem! It is filling and packs flavor without too much heat (spice) - it was satisfying for my 5 year old. I added the toppings that gave it the true southwestern flare! Another option is to toss it with rice and wrap it in whole wheat tortillas. You can make your own tortillas here from Homegrown & Healthy.

Choose, eat, and live well! =)


  1. I made this tonight and it's so yummy! I have never cooked with butternut squash before. I have eaten it prepared by someone else and it was fine, but it was really delicious in this recipe. I followed the demo mentioned for peeling and chopping the squash and it was easy. All the flavors together, so good!

    1. Hi Rhonda, Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback. I'm happy that you enjoyed the recipe. It was really fun coming up with a good flavor profile for this dish! Be well! =)