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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Vegan Butternut Squash Chili With Beans (Gluten-Free)

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This vegan butternut squash chili is a comforting dish made with savory warm spices, protein packed black beans, chunks of butternut squash, crunchy corn, and acidic tomatoes. It’s a filling family favorite that you’ll come back to again and again. 

vegan butternut squash chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions with a spoon top view

Ok guys, this easy vegan chili is pretty freakin’ awesome 🙂

This is one of those recipes that you think will be really complicated because of the long ingredients list, but once you have everything bought and on your counter, it’s actually pretty easy to make!

Plus, everything for this recipe you can easily find at your local grocery store. No complicated ingredients! And thanks to the flavorful spices, this hearty bowl of chili is guaranteed to please meat eaters and vegetarians alike.

This vegan butternut squash chili also happens to be naturally gluten free, and for those of you who are vegetarian and love cheese, feel free to top each bowl with 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese as well!

It’s slow-cooker and instant pot friendly too – I’d just sauté the onion and garlic beforehand, and then you can throw everything else into the slow cooker or instant pot. The longer it cooks, the better the flavors will be. It makes for delicious leftovers the next day too!

My kids loved this recipe and literally asked for it 4 days in a row. I hope you love this as much as we did!

👩🏽‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • The Best Vegan Chili You’ll Ever Have
  • Gluten-Free
  • Easy Recipe
  • Super flavorful
  • Full of veggies!
  • Healthy Comfort Food
  • Pantry Ingredients
  • Great for rainy days!
  • Super Game Day Recipe!

🥘 Ingredients

Butternut Squash: Use a fresh butternut squash, or you can buy squash that’s already been cut and cubed to save time. Another option, if you don’t have butternut squash available, you can use sweet potatoes instead.

Vegetable Broth: The vegetable broth helps to thin out the chili a bit but still adds more flavor then just adding water.

Frozen Corn: Using frozen corn is the easiest, but feel free to use fresh if you are making this recipe in the summer when corn is in season.

Onion and Garlic: For a true authentic chili flavor. You can use red or white onion. Dice the onion, and mince the garlic.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: A small amount is needed to sauté the onions and garlic.

Red Bell Pepper: Dice and add to the chili. You can also use green bell peppers, or other colored pepper if you prefer.

Carrots: Peel and cut into one inch pieces.

Black Beans: If using canned black beans be sure to rinse and drain.

Diced Tomatoes and Tomato Paste: I use canned diced tomatoes with added green chilis for this recipe. The tomato paste helps to thicken the chili, and also give the broth a more robust flavor.

Spices: There’s a lot of different spices in this vegetarian butternut squash chili. But don’t be discouraged by the long list! Most of these spices should already be on your spice rack! Plus, they give this vegan chili recipe its rich, smoky flavors. You’ll need chipotle pepper, or chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, salt, garlic powder, paprika, smoked paprika, coriander, cayenne pepper, and brown sugar. For a real kick, spice it up with some hot sauce, chipotle powder, or chili flakes!

Scroll to the bottom of the post to the recipe card for measurements and instructions.

🍽 Equipment

📖 Variations

  • Add A Grain: This easy vegan butternut squash chili would taste great with quinoa or brown rice! I recommend cooking 1/2 cup of your favorite grain, and then adding it in (already cooked) at the last 3-4 minutes of cooking to let it combine with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Vegan Butternut Squash and White Bean Chili: Instead of black beans, try white beans in this recipe! Navy Beans or Great Northern Beans would work best. This recipe would also work well with dark red kidney beans or even garbanzo beans if you don’t have black or white beans.
  • Add Greens: For extra veggies and greens, add in some chopped baby spinach or baby kale towards the end of cooking!
  • Use A Different Squash: If you don’t have butternut squash, acorn squash or even sweet potatoes would work. The key is to use hearty veggies that won’t “fall apart” when cooking – root vegetables and winter vegetables are great options.

🍠 How Do You Cut A Butternut Squash?

Cutting a butternut squash is tricky if you don’t have a good method. They are dense, round, and thick. But if you have a good strategy going into it, you’ll have yourself a perfectly cut butternut squash without pulling your hair out. Here is how to cut a butternut squash in 6 easy steps:

  1. With a sharp knife cut off both the top and bottom of the butternut squash. 
  2. Using a vegetable peeler secure your butternut squash in one hand, starting from the top peel down to the bottom all the way around. 
  3. Cut the squash in half lengthwise by standing it upright on your cutting board. It should be secure since the squash should have a flat bottom. 
  4. Using a spoon scrape out the seeds from the middle.
  5. Cut each half of the squash into another half making 4 quarters. Cut into 1 inch slices. 
  6. Stack the slices and cut again making 1 inch cubes

🔪 Instructions

Step 1: Peel the squash and cut into 1 inch pieces. Peel the carrots and cut into 1 inch pieces. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onions, red peppers, butternut squash, carrots, bell peppers, onion, garlic, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.

veggies sauteed in a large pot

Step 2: Add the broth, diced tomatoes, beans, and corn. Stir in all the spices (chili powder through cayenne).

black beans and spices added to chili

Step 3: Bring back to a simmer then reduce to medium heat and cook for at least 1 hour, or until the squash and carrots are tender. The longer it simmers, the better the flavors will be!

butternut squash added to pot with vefggies

Step 4: Serve hot with chopped green onions and 1 tbsp shredded cheddar cheese per bowl (optional!)

butternut squash chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions

❓FAQs

Is Vegan Chili Healthy?

Yes! Typically vegan chili is made with heart healthy veggies and beans, making it a nutritious and filling meal. This hearty vegan butternut squash chili is so healthy for you!

Here’s why:
1) High in Vitamins and Nutrients: Butternut squash is high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin A. It also helps with digestion and blood pressure. Carrots contain beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, and potassium, and antioxidants. They have been shown to help with cholesterol and improve eye health. Black beans are a heart healthy food. They contain fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, phytonutrients, and are high in plant protein.
2) High in Fiber & Protein: One giant bowl of this chili has 10 grams of fiber – over 30% of your daily needs! A big bowl of this chili also has 10 grams of plant protein, thanks to the black beans.
3) Low Calorie: One serving of this butternut squash chili has only about 200 calories. That means you can go back for seconds, or even thirds, totally guilt-free and be completely satisfied after dinner is over!

Will kids enjoy this Butternut Squash Chili? 

Your kids will love this vegan butternut squash chili. It’s loaded with veggies, but still kid friendly since it isn’t overpoweringly spicy. Carrots, corn, and black beans are kid friendly ingredients.

If your kids have never had butternut squash before, they are likely going to love it since it has a natural sweet flavor and creamy texture. If your kids are sensitive to spice you can always cut down on the quantity of the spices in this recipe as much as you need!

Do you have to peel butternut squash?

Yes, you do have to peel butternut squash if you’re putting it into a chili or making it into soup. The outside of the butternut squash is too tough to eat. If you are roasting halves of the butternut squash you do not have to peel it and can scoop the soft inside of the squash away from the skin. However, in this recipe you will want to peel and cube the butternut squash.

butternut squash chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions with a spoon

🧊 How to Store

Allow the vegetarian butternut squash chili to cool to room temperature. Then transfer it to an airtight container. Keep leftover chili in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It will also keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, then reheat on the stovetop or microwave until warmed through.

👪 How to Serve

This is a hearty and filling recipe on its own, so it is served best with a toppings bar including:

  • Diced avocado or guacamole
  • Diced green onions
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Crushed tortilla chips or with fresh corn tortillas for dipping
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Sliced olives
  • Salsa
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Adobo Sauce
  • For non-vegans: Shredded cheese, Whole Milk Plain Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream

💭 Expert Tips

  • You can make this recipe on the stove top or in the slow cooker. If you choose to make it in the slow cooker sauté the onions and garlic before adding to the slow cooker. Everything else can be thrown in.
  • If using the stovetop method cook for at least an hour. Using a fork, check to see that the butternut squash is fully cooked. It should easily pierce with a fork. 
  • If using the slow cooker method cook for 6-8 hours. 
  • Peel and chop the butternut squash into 1 inch pieces. If you’d like to save time buy pre-cut butternut squash.
  • Use different colored bell peppers to add some color to this dish.
  • Feel free to switch out the vegetables for any you like or have on hand.
  • For kids, feel free to adjust the spices as needed!
butternut squash chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions

🍲 More Healthy Chili Recipes!

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📋 Recipe Card

butternut squash chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions
Print Recipe
4.92 from 12 votes

Vegan Butternut Squash Chili

Made with sweet butternut squash, savory and warm spices, fiber and protein-packed black beans, crunchy corn, and acidic tomatoes, this chili has just about every flavor you could possibly want!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 207kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 3 lb butternut squash peeled and cut into cubes
  • 3 carrots diced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 peppers diced
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 12 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2-3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 10oz cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 30 oz black beans 2 cans
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt or more to taste
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp regular paprika
  • ½ tbsp brown sugar
  • tsp cayenne pepper
  • Chopped green onions to serve
  • Shredded cheddar cheese to serve (non-vegan option)

Instructions

  • Peel the squash and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Peel the carrots and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Stir in the butternut squash, carrots, bell peppers, onion, garlic, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the broth, diced tomatoes, beans, and corn.
  • Stir in all the spices (chili powder through cayenne).
  • Bring back to a simmer then reduce the heat and cook for at least 1 hour, or until the squash and carrots are tender. The longer it simmers, the better the flavors will be!
  • Serve hot with chopped green onions and 1 tbsp shredded cheddar cheese per bowl (optional!)

Notes

Top Tips for Making Butternut Squash Chili
  • You can make this recipe on the stove top or in the slow cooker. If you choose to make it in the slow cooker sauté the onions and garlic before adding to the slow cooker. Everything else can be thrown in.
  • If using the stovetop method cook for at least an hour. Using a fork, check to see that the butternut squash is fully cooked. It should easily pierce with a fork. 
  • If using the slow cooker method cook for 6-8 hours. 
  • Peel and chop the butternut squash into 1 inch pieces. If you’d like to save time buy pre-cut butternut squash.
  • Use different colored bell peppers to add some color to this dish.
  • Feel free to switch out the vegetables for any you like or have on hand
  • For kids, feel free to adjust the spices as needed!
Adapted from The Kitchn

Nutrition

Calories: 207kcal | Carbohydrates: 39.3g | Protein: 9.7g | Fat: 2.9g | Saturated Fat: 1.1g | Sodium: 355.8mg | Fiber: 10.4g | Sugar: 4.8g

Posted In…

Soups ·

Soups can be hearty enough for a cozy winter meal, or fresh and light like my summery cucumber gazpacho. My family’s favorite option is the best vegetarian chili ever!

Whether you like your soups smooth or full of healthy chunks, my recipes will help you combine fresh, flavorful ingredients into a filling, balanced meal.

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