My name is Mary.  I love cooking healthy food for family & friends, making specialty coffee, wine tasting, finding great beauty products, traveling, and organizing everything. I document it all here! xo

veggie chili with butternut squash

veggie chili with butternut squash

{vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, dairy-free, vegetarian}

veggie chili with butternut squash

For my whole life longer than I can remember, I've been searching for a chili recipe that I more than just like. Like really like, or maybe even love. I stopped making chili all together for a while because I got tired of mediocre recipes...thought I might never make it again. Over the years, after some more ups and downs, I finally found the crown jewel of all chili recipes (subjectively speaking of course).

veggie chili with butternut squash

For you skeptics, I don't blame you, I've been there before.  But I promise you this recipe won't disappoint!  I've been testing it on dinner guests for the last two months, watching their reactions with each chew and swallow.  Poor Joshua has probably had enough chili for a lifetime.  You can never really tell if someone likes what you cook, but after multiple requests  for this recipe--from vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians and meat eaters alike--I decided it was time to share.  

veggie chili with butternut squash
veggie chili with butternut squash

This chili will keep you full for hours, even though it's just vegetables and beans.  The butternut squash is hearty and the mushrooms give this dish a meaty texture.  I use a mixture of three beans in this recipe, but use any kind that tickles your fancy.  Last time I made this recipe, I accidentally bought fire-roasted tomatoes instead of canned, diced tomatoes--it was a happy accident.  The best part of this recipe, and any that qualify, is that you can make it ahead of time.  The flavors will continue to develop the longer it has to marinate in the spices. 

veggie chili with butternut squash

As always, I encourage you to improvise. If there is an ingredient you don't like, swap it out for something else. If you want to add additional vegetables--perhaps eggplant or more peppers--go for it! Don't like mushrooms? Um WTF is wrong with you? Leave them out! But, the more veggies the merrier in this one-pot wonder. Please do serve it along with some cornbread or crusty baguette of some sort (for you lucky gluten-tolerant folks).

Bon appetit!

veggie chili with butternut squash
veggie chili with butternut squash

Total: 1 1/2 hours | Prep: 20 minutes | Cook: About 1 hr | Serves 6


chef's knife

cutting board

large pot or dutch oven

wood spoon

measuring cups & spoons



3 tablespoons olive oil, avocado oil or grapeseed oil

1 onion chopped*

2 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps

1 large carrot, or 2 small, diced

1 red pepper, diced

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

3 tablespoons ground chili

1 tablespoon cumin

2 teaspoons paprika

optional 1-2 teaspoon red pepper flakes if you like it hot

28 oz can of diced tomatoes, or fire-roasted**

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 tablespoons tomato paste dissolved in 2 cups of water

1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 large or 2 small zucchinis, diced

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup

sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

2 limes, sliced

sliced avocado for garnish

optional cotija cheese or queso fresco for garnish



Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy pot.  Add in the mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, carrot and salt to taste.  Stir often until the vegetables becomes soft and slightly browned, about 6-8 minutes.  Next stir in the garlic, followed by the chili, paprika and cumin; cook until the mixture begins to stick to the pan, about 2 minutes or so. 

Add in the diced tomatoes and oregano, stirring frequently for about ten minutes until the mixture sticks to the pan again.  Add in the tomato paste dissolved in water, and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil and let simmer for another 10 minutes or so until the mixture starts to thicken. 

Mix in the beans, butternut squash, zucchini, cinnamon and agave or maple syrup.  Bring to a simmer and cover, stirring often for 30 to 45 minutes so that the chili mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pot. It should be quite thick but you can add more water if needed.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

A few minutes before the chili is finished cooking, stir in about 1/2 a cup of the chopped cilantro (reserving the remainder for garnish).  Ladle the chili into deep bowls, garnishing with sliced avocado, a squeeze of lime, cilantro and cotija cheese.  Serve with extra lime, cheese, and cilantro on the side and cornbread.



*My friend has an allergy to onions so I have also made this recipe without them and it's still delicious!

**The last time I made this recipe I accidentally grabbed fire-roasted tomatoes instead of canned, diced. As before mentioned, it was a happy accident, and one that I'll keep repeating in the future!  Most fire-roasted canned tomatoes come in a pureed fashion--which is just fine in this recipes as there are so many glorious chunky vegetables; however, some grocery retailers sell them diced. Fire-roasted tomatoes tend to have a smokier flavor which pairs nicely with this recipe.  Whatever kind you get, make sure they are high quality.     

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