This nutritious vegan Butternut Squash Chili is packed with flavor and filled to the brim with good-for-you ingredients including loads of veggies, soft bits of butternut squash, two types of beans and spices; all simmered in a rich, delicious tomato base. Bonus: this chili is made in one pot with very little effort. Top your bowl with your favorite chili toppings and dig in! Crockpot and pressure cooker instructions included.

butternut squash chili topped with sliced jalapeños, radishes and sour cream

BUTTERNUT SQUASH CHILI

It’s no secret, my family is obsessed with chili — it’s filling, hearty, loaded with great ingredients and typically fairly easy to prepare.

This particular chili is one of those recipes that may truly surprise you with just how easily it comes together, especially if you use pre-cubed butternut squash. Beyond the initial chopping of the onion and bell pepper, it comes together relatively quickly. After sautéing the veggies, all that’s left to do is open a bunch of canned ingredients and add them to the pot. The chili simmers until it’s slightly thickened and the flavors have melded into a totally irresistible meal!

Not only is this butternut squash chili recipe simple, it’s also packed with flavor, thanks to a tasty seasoning blend. The chili powder and crushed red pepper does add some heat, so if that’s not your thing or you’re cooking for smaller palates, feel free to reduce the chili powder and omit the crushed red pepper. Make sure you use fresh, fragrant spices for the best flavor and stock up on a few things to dress up this dish: sour cream, avocado and fresh cilantro are key.

butternut and bean chili served with tortilla chips

butternut squash chili ingredients

This butternut squash chili recipe is made with simple, wholesome ingredients that you might already have in your kitchen and pantry. Since there’s no meat or dairy in this recipe, this butternut squash bean chili is naturally vegan. Here’s what’s needed to make this plant-based chili:

  • Olive oil. For sautéing the veggies.
  • Bell Pepper. Adds a slightly spicy and aromatic flavor. Any color of bell pepper works!
  • Onion + garlic. A must for any flavorful chili recipe!
  • Butternut squash. You have 2 options here. You can peel and chop 1 medium-sized fresh butternut squash. Here’s a trusty “how-to cut a butternut squash video tutorial” for that. I personally, prefer to just buy pre-cut squash, either in the fresh or frozen vegetable section of the grocery store.
  • Beans. We’re using both black beans and kidney beans for plenty of plant-based protein in this chili recipe.
  • Tomatoes. Any diced tomatoes work, but I really love using fire-roasted tomatoes in soup and chili recipes. Fire-roasted tomatoes are charred over a flame before being diced and canned. Contact with the flame brings out the tomato’s sweetness and imparts a distinct, smoky flavor. So delicious!
  • Broth. I recommend using a low-sodium vegetable broth because then you can control the amount of salt in the chili.
  • Spices. The perfect chili spice blend! We’re using chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika and crushed red pepper. Feel free to use any preferred amounts!
  • Salt + pepper. To bring out all of the delicious flavors!
sautéing onion, bell pepper and garlic in a large pot

How to make butternut squash chili

You may have tried other vegan chili recipes, but this one’s definitely a winner! It’s so flavorful and super easy, especially if you use pre-cubed butternut squash! Here’s the simple process, but for the full, printable recipe, reference the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

  1. Sauté. The first step in making this chili is to sauté the onion, bell pepper and butternut squash in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Once the onion and bell pepper are soft, add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.
  2. Simmer. Now, add the rest of the ingredients – beans, tomatoes, broth and spices into the pot. It’s time to let everything simmer. The longer the chili simmers, the more flavorful it will become. Cover and let it simmer at least 45 minutes and until the butternut squash is tender.
  3. Serve. Once cooked to your liking, taste and add salt and pepper, as preferred. Ladle chili into bowls and top with your favorite chili toppings and enjoy!
adding spices, beans and tomatoes to large pot

Crockpot Vegetarian Chili

On the go? You can make this butternut squash chili in your slow cooker!

  1. Follow step 1 and sauté the onion, bell pepper, butternut squash and garlic on the stovetop. (Butternut squash does not need to be completely tender because it will finish cooking in the slow cooker.
  2. Add the cooked veggies and the other remaining ingredients into a large 6+ quart slow cooker.
  3. Cover and cook on high for 2-4 hours, or on low for 5-7 hours.

Vegetarian Chili in the Pressure Cooker

In a hurry? This chili is quick and easy to make in your Instant Pot!

  1. Set your pressure cooker to sauté mode and sauté the onion, bell pepper, butternut squash and garlic with a little olive oil (or avocado oil) for about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and place the lid on the pressure cooker, lock the lid and close the pressure release valve. Press cancel to cancel sauté mode and then press the soup/stew button. The timer should be set to 15-20 minutes.
  3. When the timer reaches 0, quick release the steam by carefully switching the pressure release valve open (I like to use tongs or kitchen towel for this). Once the steam is released, remove the lid and serve.
combine beans with veggies and broth and simmer

shortcut TIPS FOR making VEGAN BUTTERNUT SQUASH chili

  • Pre-cubed butternut squash. I HIGHLY recommend purchasing pre-cut butternut squash either from the produce department or from the frozen foods aisle. Butternut squash is quite a pain to peel, slice and dice. I always buy mine pre-cut and it makes the recipe so much easier and quicker. If you are using frozen butternut squash, you don’t even have to worry about letting it thaw before throwing it in the pot to sauté.
  • Pre-diced onion + bell pepper. Most grocery stores sell diced onions and peppers in the produce section of the store. Alternatively, frozen diced onions and/or bell peppers are often found by the other frozen vegetables and can be used in this recipe. You don’t even have to worry about thawing. Or, use a food processor to quickly dice the onion and bell pepper.
  • Garlic. There are two options here. You can use Dorot® cubes of crushed garlic that you can keep handy in the freezer and pop into this (and other) recipes when needed. (Check if your local store carries them; they’re typically found with frozen veggies in the grocery store.) Another option is to use refrigerated minced garlic.

Follow all of my tips and this one-pot wonder comes together in a flash! It’s mostly just a matter of sautéing your veggies, throwing everything else into the pot and letting this deliciousness simmer for just under an hour and until the squash is tender to a fork prick.

Pro tip. If you plan to cut your butternut squash, pop it in the microwave for a couple of minutes to soften it slightly. This will make it easier to peel and cut. Alternatively, you can use sweet potato and I wouldn’t even worry about peeling it.

Just get ready guys – the aroma in your house will be incredible and make your tummy VERY anxious.

vegan chili made with veggies and beans served in a white bowl with tortilla chips

Chili FAQs:

bowls of vegan butternut squash chili served with lime and avocado

MORE EASY CHILI RECIPES to try:

Looking for more chili recipes? Try our other favs!

If you try this butternut squash chili recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.

butternut squash chili topped with sliced jalapeños, radishes and sour cream
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Vegan Butternut Squash Chili

This nutritious vegan Butternut Squash Chili is packed with flavor and filled to the brim with good-for-you ingredients including loads of veggies, soft bits of butternut squash, two types of beans and spices; all simmered in a rich, delicious tomato base. Bonus: this chili is made in one pot with very little effort. Top your bowl with your favorite chili toppings and dig in!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or a generous amount of cooking spray
  • 1 large red or green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small yellow or white onion, diced
  • 4-6 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt + more to taste, as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper + more to taste, as needed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, not drained (fire-roasted is a great variety for chili)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or water , (more or less, depending on how thick you like your chili)
  • Optional for garnish: diced avocado, guacamole, thinly sliced scallions, freshly chopped cilantro, tortilla strips, shredded cheese, or crumbled cojita or feta cheese

Instructions 

  • Heat olive oil (or using cooking spray) over med-high heat in a large stock pot. Sauté onion, bell pepper and butternut squash for about several minutes and until onion and bell pepper are soft. Add garlic and sauté another couple of minutes.
    sautéing onion, bell pepper and garlic in a large pot
  • Stir in seasonings and add beans, tomatoes and broth. Combine all ingredients and bring chili to a boil.
    adding spices, beans and tomatoes to large pot
  • Cover and reduce heat to just above a simmer. Cook for 45-60 minutes and until squash is tender.
    combine beans with veggies and broth and simmer
  • Taste and add more salt, pepper and/or any other seasonings needed. Garnish, if desired and enjoy!!! Store chili for up to 1 week in an airtight container in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer.
    butternut squash chili garnished with radishes, jalapeños and cheese

Notes

Crockpot 
  1. Follow step 1 and sauté the onion, bell pepper, butternut squash and garlic on the stovetop. (Butternut squash does not need to be completely tender because it will finish cooking in the slow cooker.
  2. Add the cooked veggies and the other remaining ingredients into a large 6+ quart slow cooker.
  3. Cover and cook on high for 2-4 hours, or on low for 5-7 hours.
Pressure Cooker
  1. Set your pressure cooker to sauté mode and sauté the onion, bell pepper, butternut squash and garlic with a little olive oil (or avocado oil) for about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and place the lid on the pressure cooker, lock the lid and close the pressure release valve. Press cancel to cancel sauté mode and then press the soup/stew button. The timer should be set to 15-20 minutes.
  3. When the timer reaches 0, quick release the steam by carefully switching the pressure release valve open (I like to use a tongs or kitchen towel for this). Once the steam is released, remove the lid and serve.
Serving: 1.5cups, Calories: 234kcal, Carbohydrates: 46.5g, Protein: 12.6g, Fat: 0.3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Sodium: 467.2mg, Potassium: 457.9mg, Fiber: 11g, Sugar: 9.5g, Vitamin A: 1570IU, Vitamin C: 50.2mg, Calcium: 167mg, Iron: 4mg

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