Using a butternut squash base for your chili not only adds a great kick of nutrition, it makes the chili heartier and more filling, making it perfect for the cold winter season!
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Butternut Squash Chili
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium carrot, washed and diced
3 Cups raw butternut squash, diced
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
5 Cups of water
2 15-oz cans black beans drained (or 2 cups prepared black bean)
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes (or 2 cups diced fresh)
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp hot paprika or chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
salt to taste
Diced fresh apple (optional)
fresh spinach leaves (optional)
Whole roasted garlic cloves (optional)
In a large pot over medium heat, saute the onions in a little oil, and a pinch of salt. When they have become translucent, add the carrot and the squash. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, just until the squash and carrots are soft.
Stir in the spices, and cook for another few minutes, stirring often. Add the water, and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. When the soup is boiling, drop the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.
In batches, use a blender to puree the soup until smooth. If you have an immersion blender, this step is even easier! Return the pureed soup to the pot.
Stir in the beans, tomatoes, and remaining spices, except salt. Bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook on medium-low heat, covered, for 1-3 hours, stirring often to prevent the beans from burning to the bottom.
Immediately before serving, season the chili with salt until it is to your liking. Divide diced apples, spinach leaves, and roasted garlic cloves to each bowl. Pour the chili into each bowl and serve immediately.