I will admit it takes a special palate and an open mind to consider this recipe. In fact, when I named this recipe I considered calling it Vegetarian Chili. I probably could have convinced more people to continue reading if I hadn’t mentioned that butternut squash has a prominent role in this chili. I understand that squash doesn’t sound like it should be a key ingredient. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that whether I called it vegetarian or butternut squash, I probably was losing the same audience. And quite possibly, by mentioning the squash, I may be gaining a few more readers.
How did I ever come to consider butternut squash in chili? First, I decided that I would be writing about winter squash for a few weeks. Then I began to think about different ways that I could use this ingredient. Next I let my mind wander to different dishes and considered in what dishes squash would make a fine addition. Somehow, chili came to mind.
The butternut squash was a nice addition to chili. It provided a good amount of heartiness, which made it a satisfying entrée for me. Although you can taste the butternut squash in the chili, it also melded well with spices to make this dish taste like a spicy bite of fall. The one change I would make for future versions would be to double the amount of beans. This addition would benefit those with a heartier appetite.
The other thing that I found interesting about this dish is that I didn’t find the need to top it with cheese. Whenever I eat a typical chili (vegetarian or not) I always find myself craving melted cheese on top. With this dish, I wanted the flavor of squash and beans to be prominent, so I opted not topping it. This dish was perfect without garnish.
- 1/2 green pepper, seeded & diced
- 1/4 large sweet onion, diced
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash
- 2 cups canned diced tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed & drained
- In a large nonstick skillet, saute pepper and onion until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer pepper and onion to small crockpot.
- Add squash, tomatoes, garlic, and chili powder.
- Cook on low for 4-5 hours or until squash is tender.
- Add beans, and cook for 30 minutes or until heated through.
- If desired, you can top the chili with sour cream or shredded cheddar.