Usually, chili is a meat-heavy dish. But I promise you won’t miss the meat in this vegan butternut squash and black bean chili! There is still plenty of comforting chili spice flavor, and meatiness from the beans and mushrooms. This vegan chili recipe comes together quickly in one pot on the stovetop. It’s a comforting, hearty plant-based dinner that’s fully loaded with nutritious ingredients

Two bowls of butternut squash black bean chili topped with avocado

As a Registered Dietitian, I love to create plant-based versions of dishes that are typically meat heavy, such as chili. I promise you won’t miss the meat in this butternut squash chili! It’s packed with chili spice flavor and lots of different textures from all the vegetables. It uses pantry friendly, affordable ingredients including canned beans and canned tomatoes.

When the temperatures start to fall, I really crave warm, cozy meals. I make a lot of healthy soup recipes in the fall and winter, but this meatless chili recipe is the one I make most often! I love this recipe because you just need one pot, it’s filled with nutritious ingredients, and it makes a lot. This chili might even taste better as leftovers!

This recipe is vegan, gluten free, soy free, dairy free, and nut free. It makes six generous servings.

Ingredients in butternut squash & black bean chili

Here is everything you need to make this easy vegan chili:

  • Butternut squash
  • Zucchini
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell Pepper
  • Garlic
  • White onion
  • Canned black beans
  • Canned kidney beans
  • Canned diced tomatoes
  • Spiced: chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne
  • Cocoa powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil or avocado oil
  • Toppings of choice, such as avocado, cilantro, red pepper flakes, or vegan sour cream

Recipe tips and substitution suggestions

  • Have your mise en place set before you start cooking. You need just one pot for this recipe, but the cooking process is faster and more seamless if you have all your ingredients ready to go before you begin. Chop all the vegetables, open the cans, drain and rinse the beans, and have your spice jars ready before turning on the stove.
  • Add more cayenne if you like heat. I don’t do well with super spicy foods, but if you like your chili spicy, add more cayenne pepper to your liking.
  • Sub sweet potato for butternut squash. I have made this make this recipe with sweet potatoes, and it is just as delicious. Swap the butternut squash for 2-3 large sweet potatoes if you can’t find squash or prefer sweet potato.

Recommended kitchen tools

You’ll need a large soup pot, a sharp knife, and a large cutting board to make this recipe.

Two bowls of butternut squash black bean chili topped with avocado

Serving suggestions

Add some diced avocado and red pepper flakes for more heat. You can also add shredded cheese or sour cream (vegan or non-vegan, based on dietary needs).

Make this chili more of a hearty meal by serving it with rice, another whole grain, tortilla chips, or cornbread.

How to cube butternut squash

Cutting a whole butternut squash into cubes may seem daunting, but it’s actually quite easy! It’s also fresher and more affordable than buying pre-cut butternut squash.

  1. Chop off the ends of the squash (the stem and the bottom).
  2. Cut the squash in half, separating the long part from the wide part.
  3. Use a sharp knife (or vegetable peeler) to shave off the skin from the squash.
  4. Slice the wide part of the squash in half, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.
  5. Cut the butternut squash into large pieces first, then in smaller wedges.
  6. Finally, chop the smaller wedges into whatever size cubes you need for your recipe! For this butternut squash chili recipe, I like to cut 1/2 inch – 1 inch cubes.

Best canned beans to use in chili

I much prefer to use canned beans for chili because they don’t require any preparation. I recommend seeking out lower sodium canned beans, as you can help control the saltiness of your chili better. You can use any type of canned bean in chili, but the most common types of beans for chili recipes are black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans.

These types of beans are good for chili because they’re hearty and firm, holding their shape well when cooked into the chili. They each lend mild flavor and creamy texture to chili recipes. For this dish, I use one can each of black beans and red kidney beans. Feel free to test it out with other types of beans based on your preferences.

Storing leftover chili

This recipe serves six generously, so it’s likely you will have some leftovers. This chili will keep well in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-5 days. Reheat individual servings in the microwave for about 2 minutes.

If you’d like to freeze this chili, freeze it in individual portions. To serve, defrost in the fridge, then reheat in the microwave. Keep this chili frozen for up to 3 months.

Bowl of butternut squash chili with avocado chunks

Is chili healthy?

Depending on the ingredients, chili can be a healthy and satisfying meal option. Most chili recipes include several nutrient-dense foods like beans, bell peppers, garlic, onion, and tomatoes. These ingredients provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber.

If you are making chili with meat, opt for leaner ground meats like lean beef or turkey. This meatless butternut squash and black bean chili is super healthy, as it’s packed with vegetables and legumes.

Butternut squash nutrition benefits

Butternut squash is a highly nutritious food to include in your diet. One cup of raw butternut squash provides:

  • 2.8 grams of dietary fiber (10 percent of your daily needs)
  • 774.8 mcg Vitamin A (83 percent of your daily needs)
  • 0.140 mg thiamin (11 percent of your daily needs)
  • 29.4 mg Vitamin C (33 percent of your daily needs)
  • 47.6 mg magnesium (12 percent of your daily needs)

Since butternut squash is so high in Vitamin A, it’s packed with carotenoid antioxidants. Vitamin A is important for bone health, eye health, and immune function.

Beans nutrition benefits

Beans are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. One cup of black beans contains several nutrients:

  • 18 grams of dietary fiber (64 percent of your daily needs)
  • 16 grams of plant-based protein
  • 153 mcg folate (38 percent of your daily needs)
  • 0.508 mg copper (56 percent of your daily needs)
  • 815.4 mg potassium (17 percent of your daily needs)
  • 1.42 mg zinc (13 percent of your daily needs)

Beans are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber binds to dietary cholesterol, which can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.

Two bowls of butternut squash black bean chili topped with avocado

Let me know if you love this recipe by leaving a comment or star rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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Wholesome Vegan Butternut Squash & Black Bean Chili

Usually, chili is a meat-heavy dish. But I promise you won’t miss the meat in this vegan butternut squash and black bean chili! There is still plenty of comforting chili spice flavor, and meatiness from the beans and mushrooms.  This vegan chili recipe comes together quickly in one pot on the stovetop. It’s a comforting, hearty plant-based dinner that’s fully loaded with nutritious ingredients

  • Author: Alex Aldeborgh
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: serves 6 1x
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 box white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can low sodium kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 avocado, diced, for serving
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, plus a generous shake of salt and pepper, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
  3. Add all spices, cocoa powder, and an additional shake of salt and pepper. Stir so garlic and onion are well coated with spices. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  4. Add bell pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, butternut squash, and the can of diced tomatoes to the pot. Stir so everything is well combined. If mixture is very thick, add up to 1 cup of water to thin it out a bit.
  5. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover.
  6. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until butternut squash is fork tender.
  7. Add black and kidney beans, stir to mix, and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  8. Use a ladel to spoon portions into bowls, and top with diced avocado and cilantro.

Notes

Storing leftover chili

This recipe serves six generously, so it’s likely you will have some leftovers. This chili will keep well in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-5 days. Reheat individual servings in the microwave for about 2 minutes.

If you’d like to freeze this chili, freeze it in individual portions. To serve, defrost in the fridge, then reheat in the microwave. Keep this chili frozen for up to 3 months.

Recipe tips and substitution suggestions

  • Have your mise en place set before you start cooking. You need just one pot for this recipe, but the cooking process is faster and more seamless if you have all your ingredients ready to go before you begin. Chop all the vegetables, open the cans, drain and rinse the beans, and have your spice jars ready before turning on the stove.
  • Add more cayenne if you like heat. I don’t do well with super spicy foods, but if you like your chili spicy, add more cayenne pepper to your liking.
  • Sub sweet potato for butternut squash. I have made this make this recipe with sweet potatoes, and it is just as delicious. Swap the butternut squash for 2-3 large sweet potatoes if you can’t find squash or prefer sweet potato.

How to cube butternut squash

  1. Chop off the ends of the squash (the stem and the bottom).
  2. Cut the squash in half, separating the long part from the wide part.
  3. Use a sharp knife (or vegetable peeler) to shave off the skin from the squash.
  4. Slice the wide part of the squash in half, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.
  5. Cut the butternut squash into large pieces first, then in smaller wedges.
  6. Finally, chop the smaller wedges into whatever size cubes you need for your recipe! For this butternut squash chili recipe, I like to cut 1/2 inch – 1 inch cubes.

Keywords: vegan chili recipes, butternut squash and black bean chili, meatless chili recipe

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Butternut squash chili - Daisybeet