It’s the first week of October here…FALL! YAY! Oh, wait…we’ve had 90+ days of over 90 degrees. Today’s weather forecast said a cold-front was approaching and we would have cooler temperatures. Finally…oh, wait. Today’s high will be 84. I guess that’s a cold-front now? Whatever the temperature, it’s time for fall foods and this recipe is a perfect choice, especially for a vegetarian, gluten-free, Meatless Monday meal.
This vegetarian chili is made with roasted butternut squash, lentils, and black beans. It’s packed with protein and flavor and you won’t miss the meat, I promise. You can easily adjust the heat factor as it’s cooking. I’ll suggest how and when as we go along.
The hardest part of this recipe is preparing the butternut squash. This is the one part of preparing this squash that I loathe, but it is so worth the effort. Peel the squash using a vegetable peeler. Slice the squash down the center, top to bottom, and scoop out all the seeds. Slice into one-inch slices, then chop into one-inch pieces. Place into a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread out on a small baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake in a preheated 425-degree oven for 30 minutes or until lightly toasted and tender, but not mushy. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and burning.
*Pour a glass of wine and relax while the squash is cooking.* You’ve earned it at this point!
Remove the squash from the oven and set aside.
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven or stockpot. Add the carrots, celery, and onions. Saute for approximately 5 minutes until the onions are translucent but not browned.
Add the garlic and cook for 30-45 seconds until the aroma of the garlic begins to exude. Sprinkle the seasonings over the mixture and stir well. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the smell of the spices makes you say, “Oh, WOW!” (Someone really, really needs to invent “Smell-A-Vision”.)
Add the tomatoes, vegetable stock, salt, and the lentils. Bring to a low boil, cover, and reduce the heat. Allow this to simmer for 30 minutes until the lentils are cooked. Depending on the type of lentils you used, this could take more or less time. Check as it simmers. Also, check your seasonings. Add more salt and pepper as needed. If you prefer a spicier chili you can add red pepper flakes, more chili powder, or even diced jalapenos at this point.
Add the black beans and cook for 2-3 minutes. Gently stir in the roasted butternut squash and heat thoroughly.
To serve, you can top with sour cream or yogurt, cheese, avocado, sliced scallions, cilantro, jalapenos, or corn chips. This could also be a vegan dish if some of these toppings were omitted.
- 1-1.5 pound butternut squash peeled, cut into one-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 cups red lentils rinsed
- 16 ounces black beans rinsed
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 16 ounces tomatoes crushed or chopped
- 14 ounces diced tomatoes with Hatch chilis or diced with green chilis
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 3 stalks celery diced
- 1/2 medium onion diced
- 2 small carrots sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 3 large garlic cloves minced
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- red pepper flakes optional, to taste
- Peel and chop the butternut squash into one-inch cubes. Roast in a 425-degree oven for 30 minutes until lightly browned and tender, but not mushy. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot. Add the carrots, celery, and onion. Saute for about 5 minutes until the onions become translucent.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30-45 seconds until you can smell the garlic.
- Add the spices and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, vegetable stock, salt, and lentils. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked. Check for seasonings and adjust as needed.
- Add the black beans. Stir and bring to a simmer.
- Gently, stir in the butternut squash and heat thoroughly.
Thanks for stopping by! I know you will enjoy this meal!