There’s nothing better than a cozy bowl of chili on a cold day and this easy butternut squash chili recipe is no exception.

This hearty chili is made with simple ingredients all in one-pot in under an hour. A variation on traditional homemade chili, this recipe is vegetarian and vegan and makes a great base for customization to suit your nutritional needs and taste preferences.

A bowl of butternut squash chili topped with jalapeno, green onion and chips.

About the Recipe

This vegan butternut squash chili combines butternut squash, beans, onions, chipotle peppers and tomato in a savory and smoky broth.

Serve your healthy chili with toppings like avocado, sour cream and tortilla chips, with homemade cornbread on the side for a hearty meal that’s sure to be hit at the table.

For more one-pot butternut squash recipes, this Butternut Squash Curry with Chickpeas and Spinach and Butternut Squash Lentil Stew are both tasty, hearty and nutritious. Chili lover? This Vegan White Bean Chili Recipe is one of my favorite chili recipes.

Ingredient Notes

All the ingredients for a vegan butternut squash chili recipe.
  • Oil: I like olive oil for cooking the onion and bell pepper but you could substitute avocado oil or water or broth for an oil-free recipe.
  • Onion: You can use yellow onion or white onion.
  • Red Pepper: Green bell pepper can be substituted.
  • Chipotle Pepper in Adobo: You can find these in a small cans, usually located with Mexican products in the grocery store. Extras can be frozen in an ice cube tray then transfered to a freezer bag or container so you always have some on hand.
  • Herbs & Spices: The recipe calls for chili powder, cumin, cinnamon and bay leaf. The cinnamon is optional but works well with the butternut squash and chipotle.
  • Butternut Squash: You’ll need a small butternut squash of approximately 815 g. The amount doesn’t have to be exact. It should be roughly 4 cups of cubed squash. This recipe can also be made with sweet potato, pumpkin or acorn squash.
  • Black Beans: I used one 19 oz can of black beans. You can increase this to 2 cans for a larger recipe or use different types of beans like kidney beans, pinto beans or white kidney beans.

This list is not complete. Please see the recipe card at the end of the post for the complete ingredient list with measurements and detailed instructions.

Variations & Additions

  • Add 1 can of lentils, 1 cup cooked lentils or 1/2 cup dry lentils and increase broth to 3 cups.
  • Add 1/2 cup brown rice, white rice or quinoa and increase broth to 3 cups.
  • For additional veggies, you can add up to 2 cups combined: corn, zucchini, carrot. Spinach or kale can be mixed in at the end.
  • Mix and match up to 2 cans beans: pinto beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, great northern beans, black beans, etc.
  • For spicer chili, increase to 2 chipotle peppers or add up to 1 tsp red pepper flakes or 1 minced jalapeno.
  • For toppings try: green onions, avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips, cilantro, jalapeno slices.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Diced onion and bell pepper cooking in a pot.

Step 1: In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 4-6 min, stirring often, until onions and peppers are tender. 

Diced onion, bell pepper and garlic mixed with spices in a pot.

Step 2: Add the garlic, chipotle pepper, chili powder, cumin and cinnamon. Cook for 1 min, stirring constantly, until fragrant.

Cubed butternut squash, tomatoes and black beans cooking in a tomato broth in a large soup pot.

Step 3: Add the bay leaf, butternut squash, black beans, diced tomatoes and vegetable broth. Season with ½ tsp salt and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

Butternut squash chili with black beans cooking in a large soup pot.

Once the chili is simmering, reduce the heat to low. Partially cover with a lid and cook for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender and chili has reduced. 

Add any final seasonings like lime juice or additional salt and pepper and serve with desired toppings such as cilantro, crushed tortilla chips, vegan sour cream, avocado or grated cheddar cheese.

Bowl of butternut squash chili topped with jalapeno, green onion, cilantro and tortilla chips.

Recipe FAQs

Can you freeze butternut squash chili?

Yes. You can freeze butternut squash chili but allowing to cool then transferring to an airtight container or individual containers or freezer-safe bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through.

How long does butternut squash chili keep?

You can store leftover chili in the fridge for up to 4 days in a sealed container. Reheat chili on the stove top or individual portions in the microwave.

Slow Cooker

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a slow cooker and mix well.
  2. Cook for 4-5 hours until the butternut squash is tender.
  3. Mash some of the butternut squash to create texture. Stir in the lime juice, if using, and season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Instant Pot

  1. To make in a pressure cooker, cook the onion and bell pepper in oil for 4-5 minutes until the saute function.
  2. Stir in the garlic, spices and chipotle pepper and cook 1 more minute.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, seal the Instant Pot and cook for 8 minutes on high pressure.
  4. Let the pressure release naturally for a few minutes then release any remaining pressure and carefully oven the lid.
  5. Mash some of the butternut squash to create texture. Stir in the lime juice, if using, and season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Scroll down to the comment section to leave a star rating and review.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A bowl of butternut squash chili topped with jalapeno, green onion and chips.
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Chipotle Butternut Squash Chili with Black Beans

A hearty, healthy vegan chilli recipe with butternut squash and black beans in a smoky chipotle and tomato broth.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegan
Servings: 6
Calories: 249kcal
Author: Deryn Macey

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion diced (215 g, about 1 ½ cup)
  • 1 red bell pepper diced (140 g, 1 ¼ cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced or grated (about 2 tbsp)
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small butternut squash peeled and cubed (815 g whole weight, 605 g/4 cups diced)
  • 1 540 mL can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 796 ml can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth 500 mL
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ lime juiced

Instructions

  • Cook Aromatics: In a large dutch oven or pot, heat oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add onions and red bell peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 4-6 min, stirring often, until onions and peppers are tender.
  • Add the garlic, chipotle pepper, chili powder, cumin and cinnamon. Cook for 1 min, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly toasted.
  • Cook Chili: To the pot, add bay leaf, butternut squash, black beans, diced tomatoes and vegetable broth. Season with ½ tsp salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once simmering, reduce heat to low. Partially cover and cook for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender and chili has slightly reduced (thickened). Cooking time may vary depending on size of squash cubes and heat level.
  • To create texture, mash some of the butternut squash up using a potato masher (optional). Stir in lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve: Divide chili between bowls. Top with your favorite toppings, such as cilantro, crumbled tortilla chips, vegan sour cream, toasted pumpkin seeds, green chilies, jalapeno etc.

Video

Notes

Makes 4-6 servings. Nutrition facts are for 6 servings. If you make 4 large servings, it’s 359 calories per serving with 8F/62C/11P.
Leftover chili can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat on the stovetop in a pot or in the microwave until heated through. To freeze, cool and transfer to a freezer safe container or freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge then reheat as needed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 845mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 9g