If you’re looking for a staple winter weeknight recipe, you found it. This is the easiest squash chili recipe you’ll find. I try to keep a focus on simple clean ingredients while utilizing prepared and canned foods for convenience purposes. Use what ingredients you will, but I’m opting to be slightly picky!
Flashback to nine-ish years ago, pre-veganism:
I was a wee little teen playing housewife at Griffin’s place. He and his friend/coworker were hanging out, starving, per usual. This is pertinent info because I was not a good cook… Yet they eagerly awaited and ALWAYS ate my meals. Hah!
On this particular day I was making chili. I think I was roughly following a recipe, but thought I was such a good cook that I could just kind of do whatever I wanted. The result was an extremely bean-y chili, containing who knows what other ingredients.
I served it up to two hungry naive fellas. They sat at the bar in Griffin’s kitchen (because bachelor pads don’t have dining tables, they have wet bars). One of them complimented the recipe, then the next. I remember reaffirming to myself that duh, I AM indeed a great chef.
They inhaled their first bowl and near the last spoonful, one of them said “wait, this chili doesn’t have any meat in it”. The other glanced down and said something along the lines of “how are you going to feed us chili with no meat?!” They proceeded to act dramatically perturbed.
Despite eating an omnivore diet at the time, I wasn’t a fan of eating meat. I triple-noted to myself that I can easily trick two omni men into loving meatless food. I’ve carried that with me through many a cooking experiences over the years!
Chili as a staple:
Now every time we have meat eaters over for dinner I make chili. I think I’ve honed my skills over the years. The key for giving vegan chili sustenance is adding squash! When you’re serving “squash chili” nobody expects meat (or a meat substitute), but they expect and focus on squash. Still a kicker to me- regardless of the recipe, it always gets compliments! When Griffin’s omni sister was staying with us she casually threw into dinner converstaion “this is some of the best chili I’ve had”. I played it cool on the outside but celebrated internally. I’m convinced I energy worked and manifested my way into being a good chili maker thanks to that humble beginning.
Quick Squash Chili
- 1 28 oz can fire roasted crushed tomatoes organic – I use Muir Glen but Safeway has one with the exact same ingredients!
- 1 cup organic vegetable broth use homemade for best flavor
- 1 15 oz can pinto beans (rinsed and drained) Try to find salt-free with the least ingredients. Dry beans prepared in advance can be used in place of either of the beans for a healthier option
- 1 15 oz can black beans (rinsed and drained) I use Eden Foods organic beans when using canned
- 1 15 oz can corn (drained) organic, just water, salt-free if possible. Cook corn on the cob and cut kernels off cob once cool for healthiest option
- 1 can chipotle rotel or organic diced green chiles whatever size can best suits your taste
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash I use homegrown squash and cut it myself my I know places like Trader Joe's offer pre-cut
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp applewood smoked sea salt I find this at Natural Grocers
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp organic sunflower oil
- 2 tbsp teriyaki sauce
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tsp earth balance organic butter
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat
- Add diced butternut squash and cook most of the way but not completely, about 10 minutes. (should be mostly soft when poked with a fork, but not smooshy)
- Add squash and all remaining ingredients to a large pot and simmer over medium low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn heat to low if chili starts to boil or pop too aggressively
- Taste chili and make sure the flavors didn't cook down too much. If necessary, add spices/seasonings to taste