Butternut Squash and Three-Bean Chili

7 Jan

Vegetarian Chili w butternut squashThis is a perfect recipe for these frigid days. You’ll know what I mean if you live anywhere in the top half of North America. If you’re one of the lucky ones who is not freezing your tushie off this week, you might want to save this one for colder days.

The recipe came from my friend Greta Zalman, who adapted it from a recipe in Cooking Light magazine from 2010. It’s very flavorful and – be forewarned – quite spicy.

Our synagogue recently hosted a group of homeless people for a week – Christmas week to be exact. Greta multiplied this recipe by four and served it for Saturday night’s dinner, where it was scarfed up by our guests.

Here a few comments and tips. It’s a lot easier to buy peeled-and-cubed butternut squash from Costco, Whole Foods or Trader Joe than to peel and cube your own, even though it’s quite a bit pricier. Ditto for roasted peppers; buy a jar of them from Trader Joe and save yourself a lot of hassle.

I like to roast the butternut squash before adding it to the pot, but if you’re pressed for time you don’t have to.

If you don’t have the three kinds of beans, use three cans of any kind of beans.


2 red bell peppers (or use a jar of Trader Joe roasted peppers and skip the broiling)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp.crushed red pepper (use less if you like less heat)
1 tsp.paprika
1/4 tsp. salt
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups peeled butternut squash cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup thinly sliced green onions
Shredded cheddar cheese and/or broken tortilla chips for topping, optional


If you want to roast the squash, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spread the squash cubes in a single layer on a lightly oiled  baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the squash starts to caramelize and brown. Set aside.

Do the next five steps if you don’t have a jar of roasted peppers.

Preheat broiler.

Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise. Remove and discard seeds and membranes.

Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 15 minutes, until blackened.

Place pepper halves in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes.

Remove the charred skin and chop the peppers.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cumin, red pepper, paprike, salt and garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add bell peppers, broth, squash, and tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add beans; simmer 25 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally.

Sprinkle with green onions and, if desired, shredded cheese and tortilla chips.

Serves 6 to 8


2 Responses to “Butternut Squash and Three-Bean Chili”

  1. Keri Cohen January 8, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

    This sounds great. I love butternut squash – and always get the cubed ones. I learned it’s worth it!


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  1. A new roasted butternut squash soup | Bobbie's Best Recipes - November 2, 2020

    […] humongous butternut squash that I used to make a vegetable dish with onions and za’atar and a vegetarian chili. I froze the rest to use in soup. Well, last week I made the soup, and it is dee-lish! It has fewer […]

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