Enjoy this healthy hearty Three Bean Butternut Squash Vegetarian Chili – it’s satisfyingly delicious!
With the holidays behind us, many of us are trying to get back on track with a healthy, lighter diet. Since we’re in the thick of winter, we still crave heavier stick-to-your-ribs meals that are often richer than what we eat during warmer months of the year. So how do we satisfy these cravings while eating healthy?
The trick is making comfort food that satisfies the desire for hearty meals, while actually being on the lighter side. I’ve found that beans in thick soups, stews and chili meet that goal since they naturally break down into a rich, thick consistency. They’re also high in protein in fiber, which helps to keep the appetite satiated.
Recently I made this Three Bean Butternut Squash Vegetarian Chili and wasn’t 100% satisfied with the flavor. It just didn’t have enough punch to it. So, I rejiggered the recipe and bumped up the flavor by adding aleppo pepper, ancho chili pepper, oregano, cocoa powder and a chipotle pepper. The added richness in flavor and heat was just what was needed.
Meatless shouldn’t mean sacrificing on flavor and I think this vegetarian chili proves that.
Three Bean Vegetarian Chili
- 2 red bell peppers
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon aleppo pepper
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili pepper powder
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash
- 3 cups two 15-ounce cans chopped tomatoes (I used fire-roasted tomatoes)
- 1 1/2 cups one 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 cups one 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 cups one 15-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- salt to taste
- thinly sliced scallions for serving
- Preheat broiler (I used my toaster oven). Cut bell peppers in half and remove seeds and membranes. Place peppers cut side down on foil lined baking tray. Broil 15 minutes or until skin is blackened. Place peppers in ziploc bag and seal; let sit for 15 minutes; peel and chop peppers into bite size pieces.
- Heat large pot over medium heat. Add oil; add onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes until onion is softened; stir in cumin paprika, aleppo pepper and ancho chili pepper powder; cook for 2 minutes; add bell peppers, broth, squash, tomatoes, beans, oregano, cocoa powder and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer on low, covered, for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with scallions before serving.