Roasted Butternut Squash Chili

October 27, 2014
With its chunks of roasted butternut squash, spicy-sweet flavor, and veggie-only base, this Roasted Butternut Squash Chili is a perfect-for-fall vegetarian chili.  But is it really  a chili?

Roasted Butternut Squash Chili

I absolutely adore this delicious Roasted Butternut Squash Chili.  With yummy chunks of butternut squash, spicy-sweet flavor, and veggies only, it's a fabulous fall vegetarian chili-with-a-twist.

But it got me thinking ... what makes a chili a chili?  Have you ever wondered that?

I mean, some are loaded with meat.  Some are not.  Some are super spicy, some mildly spicy, and some just totally mild.  Some thick.  Some soupy.  Beans.  No beans.  The variations seem endless.

Do they all qualify as 'chili??'  Inquiring minds want to know.  {Well, at least my inquiring mind wants to know.}

So I decided to do some digging and see what I could figure out ...

Well it seems that traditionally, in its most basic form, chili is a slow-simmered concoction of chile peppers and meat ... with the spelling chili  with an i  meaning the concoction, and chile  with an e  meaning the pepper pod.  Hmmm ... I never really thought about the spellings before.  Or even thought about the fact that the two words are only one letter different.  Shows how observant I am!  Or aren't.

Anyway, the chiles bring the chili-required heat, whether it's in chopped chiles, chili powder, or hot sauce form.

From there, the variations become endless ... as there seem to be as many versions of chili as there are people who cook it.

Apparently, I learned, beans were added as an ingredient when meat was expensive or scarce.  And some would say chili is, in its most basic form, a concoction of chile peppers, meat, and beans.  While I'm a lover of beans in my chili, I know not all agree.

So then what about this Roasted Butternut Squash Chili?  With its chunks of butternut squash and absence of meat, does it count as a chili?

Roasted Butternut Squash Chili

Well, technically I guess by a true chili traditionalist, a chili without meat is, well, ... not a chili.  But vegetarian chili has become to generally be considered a chili.  With a 'replacement' for the meat.  Like tofu.  Or potatoes.  Or mushrooms.

Or, in this case, squash.

So we're going to go with yes, this is  a chili.  You cool with that?

Well whether or not it's agreed this version 'counts' as a chili, I can promise you this ... this is indeed one totally yummy  chili.

Or non-chili.

However  you look at it!

Roasted Butternut Squash Chili

Roasted Butternut Squash Chili
Source:  An original by my Mom
(Printable recipe)

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled & seeds removed
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 (15.5 oz.) can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 (15.5 oz.) can dark red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • chopped green onions or chives
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash into 1/2-inch cubes. Place squash cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet; toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring once with a large spatula. Set aside.
  2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot. Add onions, peppers, and garlic; cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add tomatoes, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, sugar, and water. Simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in cooked squash cubes and beans. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Top each serving with grated cheddar cheese and chopped green onions or chives.

Enjoy these other hearty chili concoctions from The Kitchen is My Playground ...

Bowl of Chili

Chili Bites in Mini Cornbread Cups

Chili Cheese Mac

Tamale Pie Casserole


  1. Look so delicious! It makes me hungry while I'm looking at it.. Thanks for sharing. I will try it. I love chili.
    Domestic cleaning London

  2. it really does look like chili - and SO delicious, I love using squash

    1. I'm a huge fan of winter squash, too, Heather. It's one of the things I'm always excited for when Fall rolls around!

  3. I live squash and that chili looks so yummy! I'm going to make it tonight.

    Domestic cleaners Islington

  4. This chili looks worthy to be called chili :) Looks so good!!

  5. Love this variation on regular old chili!! Thank you so much for linking up at Tasty Tuesday! Your recipe has been pinned to the Tasty Tuesday Pinterest board! Please join us again this week!

  6. This looks like a fabulous Chili. Hope you are having a great day and thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  7. Tracey this looks delicious! I love warm, comforting meals like this! I can't wait to try it! Thanks so much for sharing this at the Project Parade! Hope to see you again there this week:)

    1. Thank you so much, Shannon! This chili is indeed warm and comforting ... and delicious, too. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. I believe there are many other people who are interested in them just like me! How long does it take to complete this article? I hope you continue to have such quality articles to share with everyone! I believe a lot of people will be surprised to read this article! Thanks for your post!
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  9. One of the best cooking "revelations"! I wish i knew it before. What a great recipe! Thank you :)


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