Butternut Squash Quinoa Chili
I have a feeling that you guys are going to LOVE this chili.
I’m not trying to toot my own horn or anything like that but I’m kind of proud of it. The blend of warming spices and hint of smoky flavor pairs perfectly with the tender nutty pieces of butternut squash.
Plus, you can cook it on the stove top OR in a slow cooker. I made it both ways and they were equally delicious.
So this might sound a little strange but the inspiration for this recipe actually came from a frozen burrito. There’s a locally-based brand that just started selling to my Whole Foods and I’m obsessed with the flavor combinations.
My favorite is the smoky quinoa and butternut squash burrito which I thought might translate into a healthy bangin’ chili and guess what? It did. THE END.
Alright, I guess there’s a little more to the story. For example, I noticed that one of the ingredients in the burrito was jicama.
If you’re like me then you might be wondering, what the heckima is jicama?
Well I did a little research and this is what I found:
- Jicama is a root vegetable indigenous to South and Central America and the name translates to mean Mexican yam.
- It’s high vitamin C content makes it great for boosting the immune system and aiding in anti-inflammatory reactions in the body.
- It’s high in soluble fiber but low in calories, sodium and fat which means it’s an ideal food for lowering cholesterol and aiding in weight loss.
- It’s also a good source of iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B-6 which helps our body break down protein into usable energy and supports our nervous system.
It might not be the prettiest of vegetables but you can’t beat the nutritional line-up. And it’s really easy to work with too. All you have to do is peel the skin off with a knife, chop it up and throw it in!
I found the flavor to be very mild; it basically absorbs whatever you cook it with and the texture is slightly crunchy, kind of like watercress. If that doesn’t sound appealing to you or you can’t find jicama then feel free to leave it out. The rest of the ingredients are flavorful and nutritious enough to make up for it.
Either way I hope you get a chance to give this one a try because it’s sure to keep your body warm and your taste buds happy. Enjoy!
1 medium-size butternut squash, diced (approx. 5 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced (approx. 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced (approx. 1 tablespoon)
1 red bell pepper, diced (approx. 3/4 cup)
1 poblano pepper, diced (approx. 1/2 cup)
1 small jicama, peeled and diced (approx. 1 cup)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried savory (optional)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire*
3 cups vegetable broth
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 (15 ounce) can red beans
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen and defrosted (optional)
1 cup red quinoa, rinsed**
shredded monterey jack/cheddar cheese or shredded vegan cheese
- If you prefer the slow cooker method, simply place all of the ingredients into the slow cooker and then cook on high for 6 hours. Note: this method results in a softer texture of the squash. I prefer the stove top version but for the sake of convenience, the slow cooker version tastes just as good. If you are able to add the squash in the last 1-2 hours of cooking, that will help prevent it from being mushy.
- If you want to make it on the stove top, start by warming the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the garlic, jicama, bell pepper, and poblano pepper. Mix in the spices (chili powder to ginger) as well as the liquid smoke, tomato paste, and Worcestershire. Stir together and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the butternut squash to the pot and stir together with the other vegetables and spices. Cook for 2-3 minutes then add the vegetable broth, quinoa, red beans and corn (optional).
- Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for at least 30 minutes. If the squash isn’t tender enough at this point, continue to simmer until desired tenderness is reached.
- Serve warm with optional suggested toppings and enjoy!
*Use vegan Worcestershire (I like Annie's brand) if necessary.
**This recipe is written assuming you soak the quinoa in a bowl with water ahead of time. It is not a necessary step but I recommend soaking it for at least 6-8 hours to help aid digestion. If you want to skip that part then just rinse the dry quinoa and add an extra 1/2 cup broth when cooking.