Insanely delicious 1-pot chili with quinoa, butternut squash, and beans. Perfect comfort food for busy cooks, excellent for meal prep!
Is there anything better than curling up with a bowl of warm hearty chili on a cold winter day? This butternut squash chili is easy to make, big on flavor, and made with mostly pantry staple items that you most likely have on hand.
Chili is hella versatile (yup, just said “hella”), vegetarian, beef, turkey, chicken, mix up the veggies, add grain, endless possibilities
This butternut squash and quinoa chili is one of my all-time favorites. Loaded with plant-based protein, massive flavor, and a sweet creamy balance from butternut squash.
WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS QUINOA CHILI:
- Sweet and creamy butternut squash
- Protein-rich quinoa
- White beans
- Loads of flavor from dried spices
- Easy to make in just one pot!
Let's Get Cooking!
INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:
Detailed measurements and ingredients can be found within the recipe card at the end of this post. Chili is an easy one-pot dish, and an opportunity to play with flavor, ingredients, texture, and spices. If you have never made chili before I recommend not getting too caught up in exact measurements, but learning to play with building flavor.
- Butternut squash – diced, not pureed. You can purchase pre-diced or peel and dice it yourself into one-inch pieces.
- Quinoa – I used tri-color quinoa in this recipe but you can use any quinoa you have on hand. I have not tested the recipe with any other grain and quinoa cooks quite differently than most grains so I don't recommend replacing the quinoa.
- Beans – I had white beans on hand so I used white beans, but any bean will work (black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, etc.). Canned beans are preferred, drain, and rinse before using.
- Bell pepper and jalapeno pepper – a little spice and a little sweet (plus loads of vitamin C!)
- Tomato – Large can of diced tomato
- Onion and garlic – Not shocking, I used a lot of garlic in this recipe. This time of year I intentionally increase garlic every chance I get!
- Dried spices – chili powder and cumin
- Vegetable broth – I typically like my chili quite thick and not soup-like, but the broth is necessary for this recipe to help the quinoa and butternut squash cook perfectly.
- Toppings – Fresh lime, scallion, avocado
TOOLS YOU WILL USE:
- Cutting board
- Large knife
- Large soup pot
HOW TO MAKE QUINOA and BUTTERNUT SQUASH CHILI:
This 1-pot recipe starts with the standard chili ingredients; onion, lots of garlic, and bell pepper. I also added jalapeno both at the beginning and end of this recipe for added heat. If you aren't into spicier chili you can eliminate the jalapeno (or remove the ribs and seeds for milder heat).
Next, we add the superstar butternut squash and all of the dried spices. Don't skimp on the spice, this is what builds flavor in chili. As you season with chili powder and dried cumin add in a generous pinch of salt as well.
Add vegetable broth, we are building flavor, flavor, flavor at every step of the recipe, diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
Add quinoa and cover and cook for 15 minutes until the quinoa is mostly tender.
Add beans and taste for seasoning. Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes.
Serve in a beautiful bowl (the chili bowl in this recipe is from The Farmhouse Project collection) with all the toppings!
WHAT TO SERVE WITH CHILI:
Chili is a complete meal, especially this chili which contains complete plant protein, lots of vegetables, antioxidants, and minerals.
Chili toppings are where you can get super creative. Also, toppings are where it's at! Toppings are my jam!
Topping Options (truly endless, but here are some of my favorites):
For this chili recipe my topping recommendations are:
- Diced avocado
- Sliced scallion
- Chopped jalapeno
- Fresh lime juice
You can also top with:
- Crushed tortilla chips
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Shredded cheese
HOW TO MAKE QUINOA CHILI IN THE SLOW COOKER:
Add all ingredients to slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours. You may need to adjust the liquid ratio depending on your slow cooker. If the chili is too thick add a bit more vegetable stock.
NUTRITION NERD CORNER – All About Quinoa!
Quinoa is one of my favorite ingredients. It is technically a seed (not a grain) and is naturally gluten-free.
Quinoa is native to South America, on my travels to Peru last year I didn't encounter a menu anywhere in the country that didn't contain quinoa in some form. The Incans declared quinoa “The Mother Grain” and it is an inexpensive staple food in Peruvian households.
Today, quinoa has become a popular (not so inexpensive) healthy superfood in American kitchens.
Quinoa is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids, which is a difficult feat for plant food.
1 cup of cooked quinoa contains:
- 222 calories
- 39 grams of carbohydrates
- 8g of protein
- 6g of fat
- 5g of fiber
- 1g or sugar
DIETARY MODIFICATIONS FOR THIS RECIPE:
This recipe is naturally gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan.
- Low Fodmap – Make without onions and garlic, alternatively you can flavor the oil with garlic and then remove the garlic. Use only the green part of scallions for a low fodmap topping.
MORE ONE-POT RECIPES YOU WILL LOVE:
Kale and Grass-Fed Beef Chili
Pumpkin Turkey Chili
Red Cabbage Quinoa Vegetable Stew
Hearty Creamy Potato Soup
Turkey Dumpling Stew
I can’t wait for you to try this Quinoa Chili with Butternut Squash! When you make it, snap a photo and tag me on Instagram @abrapappa or use the hashtag #abraskitchen so I can feature your photo!
If you’ve tried this recipe, don’t forget to rate and leave a comment below. I love to hear from readers who’ve made my recipes!
Butternut Squash and Quinoa Chili
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 medium onion (1 cup chopped)
- 8 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 small jalapeno, diced
- 4 cups butternut squash, diced
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp dried cumin
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 28 ounce can diced tomato
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 15 ounce white beans canned, drained
- avocado, diced
- sliced scallions
- fresh diced jalapeno or other spicy chili
- Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add avocado oil, chopped onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno. Season with a generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper and stir. Saute for 5 minutes stirring frequently.
- Add garlic, and saute for 2 more minutes, or until onion, peppers, and garlic are softened.
- Add butternut squash, chili powder, cumin, and stir to coat cooking for 4-5 minutes.
- Add diced tomatoes and vegetable broth, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Once boiling add quinoa and reduce heat to a low simmer (you want gentle bubbles not an aggressive boil.) Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
- Add beans, stir well and bring to a simmer over medium low heat and gently simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more chili powder or cumin for depth of flavor, more salt for saltiness, or black pepper for additional heat.
- Serve with diced avocado, sliced scallions, and diced jalapeno.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator in a sealed container for 5-6 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 weeks. Reheat in a small pot on the stove or in a bowl in the microwave until hot.
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