Enjoy this healthy hearty Three Bean Butternut Squash Vegetarian Chili – it’s satisfyingly delicious! 285 calories/2 Freestyle points per serving.
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.
Adapted from Cooking Light
2 Freestyle points per serving
rachel@ atheltic avocado says
love that this is so comforting and hearty! Perfect for a chilly winter day, Like today!!!
Sonali- The Foodie Physician says
Yum! This really look like the perfect combination of lighter but also stick-to-your-ribs! Happy New Year Jeanette!
Leigha @ The Yooper Girl says
Not only vegetarian but vegan too!! This sounds so yummy! I bet the spices are fabulous as well! Can’t wait to try this one 🙂
I love all the spices in this chili. Perfect for a cold winter night.
Adding to the weekly menu!! 🙂
Brian @ A Thought For Food says
Vegetarian chili is my go-to this time of year. It does the trick of being totally satisfying and healthy at the same time.
Christine (Cook the Story) says
This looks so hearty and delicious, Jeanette. Love it!
Alisa @ Go Dairy Free says
Jeanette, this has to be one of the most gorgeous chili recipes I’ve seen – your pics are gorgeous! Love the addition of cocoa. I’ve been trying to figure out how to incorporate dark chocolate (not cocoa, but actual chips/bars). Do you think cocoa is better in a dish like this or that chocolate would work well?
Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits says
Meat, beans, and squash are definitely a winning combination for me when it comes to chilis! Lately, I’ve been garnishing everything with chopped green onions, too!
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
I love adding cocoa powder to chilis and stews! It add such great depth!
Elizabeth @ Enjoy Every Bite says
This looks delicious! I love hearty and healthy recipes!!
Kristina @ Love & Zest says
You had me at butternut squash!!
Tonia from TheGunnySack says
There’s nothing like chili on a cold winter night and I love that you added butternut squash!
Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom says
Jeanette, I absolutely love making three bean chili!!! one of my faves and couldn’t agree more that the beans in soups, stews and chili totally deliver and I love that they are packed with protein! Happy new year!! Looking forward to many more delicious recipe from you!!
Loving all the different spices you used although I don’t think I’ve ever had aleppo pepper! It’s been quite chilly here in Texas so a warm bowl of this chili sounds perfect! Happy New Year, Jeanette!!
Arman @ thebigmansworld says
I’m about to embark on a month long vegetarian challenge and this is bookmarked because it looks so hearty! I need to fool myself that there’s meat there 😉
I made this last night and the flavor in this chili was delicious. I could not find these ingredients: aleppo pepper
and ancho chili pepper powder. So, I ended up using just 1 teaspoon of Chipolte chili powder. Oh my goodness, it was so HOT that my lips were burning. Since there were only two of us, I have leftovers, but would like to know if there is any way I can lessen the hot spices?
Hi Tanya, thanks for trying this recipe. Chipotle chili powder is really spicy whereas aleppo pepper and ancho chili pepper are pretty mild. I might try turning the chili into a soup by adding broth to dilute it, or serve the chili over a sweet potato. You could also serve with fresh avocado and Greek yogurt to cool down the spiciness.
Thank you very much for your input. Think I’ll try the yogurt and also do an intensive hunt for those other spices.