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Bowl of butternut squash chili topped with chunks of avocado

Wholesome Vegan Butternut Squash & Black Bean Chili

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


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.

Try utilizing homemade chili powder to make this vegan chili!


  • 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


  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.


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.