Butternut Squash and Quinoa Chili

We love chili, how about you? It’s such a simple and filling meal, perfect for cold winter nights! Lately we’ve been on a chili/soup kick. Can you blame us? There are so many good recipes out there for just about any kind of chili imaginable. Today’s recipe is a little more seasonal. I roasted and cubed a butternut squash to amp up the veggies and opted for quinoa instead of meat. Yep- no meat. Surprisingly enough we didn’t miss it! There’s so much flavor and texture going on here I don’t think you will either :)

Butternut Squash and Quinoa Chili

So let’s talk soup. Most of the time my husband prefers that I put some kind of meat in our soups so that they feel more filling or like a complete meal (just take a little peek at last week’s chile verde stew). I’m kind of the opposite. We generally have some kind of protein 5 dinners out of 7, so I don’t mind when we go without. I’ve been experimenting will all sorts of different ingredients lately so I thought it would be fun to make a quinoa-based chili. Turns out that was a better idea than I had thought. Stephen loved the texture of the quinoa and so did I. Crazy, right?! And then there’s the butternut squash. Guys, I’ve been using squash in all sorts of things and I don’t plan on stopping. It’s seasonal, delicious and good for you! 

Butternut Squash and Quinoa Chili

What really gives this chili its bold flavor is all of the “extras.” Minced garlic and jalapeño, diced red and yellow onion, diced red bell pepper, cilantro and a handful of spices. Since I was sticking with a slightly southwestern variation I used black beans, sweet corn and fire roasted tomatoes. I have to say, the combination of these ingredients was pretty darn tasty!

Are you ready to get started?! First, roast the squash (check out NOTES if fresh squash isn’t in season/available). It’s super easy! Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Cut the squash in half and remove any seeds or strings with a spoon. Using a pastry brush, coat the cut sides with 1 tbsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the halves face down on a sheet of parchment paper or baking mat lined sheet (this will make for easy clean up). Roast for 35-45 minutes or until fork tender. Cut the squash into 1/2″ cubes when it’s cool enough to handle.

Butternut Squash and Quinoa Chili

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. This is going to make a lot of soup, so choose your pot wisely! Once the oil is hot add the onions and bell pepper, sauté until tender. Add the jalapeño and garlic, cook for an additional minute, then pour in the tomato paste, fire roasted tomatoes, black beans, frozen corn, chicken broth and water (if you’re going strictly vegetarian sub vegetable stock for chicken broth). Sprinkle in the minced cilantro, chili powder, coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, stir to combine. I like to let my spices toast a little so that they become more fragrant and flavorful. It’s a trick I picked up and love doing. Turn the heat up to high and bring mixture to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, add the diced squash and quinoa. P.S. don’t be afraid to cook with quinoa. I know I was at first but it’s incredibly, even ridiculously easy. Cover and boil for 20 minutes or until the quinoa is fully cooked. Voilà, done!

Butternut Squash and Quinoa Chili

I highly suggest garnishing each individual bowl with chunks of ripe avocado, lots of grated cheddar, a dollop of sour cream and some cilantro leaves. You can thank me later ;) I hope you’ll give this cozy healthy chili recipe a try- I think you’ll love it!

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Butternut Squash and Quinoa Chili
 
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A hearty chili made with butternut squash, black beans and quinoa. It's a healthy twist on a classic!
Author:
Yield: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small butternut squash, roasted and cubed
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • ½ red onion, chopped.
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 c. fresh or frozen corn
  • 4 c. chicken broth or vegetable stock
  • 1 c. water
  • ½ tbsp. minced cilantro
  • 1½ tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ⅔ c. uncooked quinoa

  • Garnishes:
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut the squash in half and remove any seeds. Brush with 1 tbsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place face down on a parchment or baking mat lined sheet. Roast for 35-45 minutes or until tender. Cut into ½" cubes when cool.
  2. Heat remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot add onions and bell pepper, sauté until tender. Add the jalapeño and garlic, cook for an additional minute, then pour in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, black beans, frozen corn, chicken broth and water. Sprinkle in the minced cilantro, chili powder, coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, stir to combine. Turn the heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, add the diced squash and quinoa. Cover and boil for 20 minutes or until the quinoa is fully cooked (note that your pot will be really full so keep an eye on it as it boils).
  3. Garnish and serve as desired.
Notes
-If squash isn't in season, you can always find it in the freezer section at most well stocked grocery stores. It already comes pre-cut, all you need to do is steam it or let it thaw and roast it!


Recipe source: Life Made Simple