Chili just screams winter and cold weather, but this butternut squash chili is so good that you will crave it all year long.
I love butternut squash. Like, really love it. I am always looking for ways to use it. As a sauce for my cauliflower pizza, as a substitute for pumpkin in the best butternut squash pie, possibly even these best pie you have ever tasted, and in my deliciously moist butternut squash muffins. Don’t even get my started on the Butternut Squash Lasagna, the butternut squash dinner cakes or the butternut squash spread that I like to put on my sandwiches. I could really go on and on, but I really want to tell you about this chili.
I like to make mine in my crockpot, but you can totally make yours in your regular pot or even your pressure cooker. My chili starts with 5 cups of dry navy beans, but you can use less. I have a family of 7 and 5 cups of dry beans is the max I can cook in my crockpot so that’s what I go for. Generally I will cube the squash and throw it in right in the beginning and let it cook with the chili. If I do it this way, my husband and oldest son who don’t really care for squash barely notice it if they notice it at all because the juices and spices really seep into the squash and it blends in. I also like to puree the squash sometimes as well. However, my favorite way to add squash to this dish is to add it during the last hour cubed so that it retains most of its color and the flavor of the squash is really pronounced. Like I said, I really love butternut squash.
You can definitely jazz up this chili and add tomatoes if you like or even other color peppers. For me, I love the combination of red bell peppers and butternut squash. I have made this recipe with yellow, green, orange or a combination and it still tastes great. The addition of the non traditional pumpkin pie spices doesn’t make this chili sweet or give it an offensive flavor. Quite the opposite actually. You just have to try it.
Crockpot Butternut Squash Chili
I hearty chili full of flavor with a hint of something special
- 5 cups navy beans
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 TBS chili powder
- 1 TBS salt and pepper to taste or more
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika optional
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice optional
- 2 cups chopped butternut squash
Start by preparing your beans for cooking. Sort to remove any rocks, debris and other non navy beans. Rinse and then soak in filtered water for at least 4 hours. Rinse again and discard water.
To your crockpot, add beans, onion, pepper, butter, brown sugar, garlic and spices. Fill with water almost completely full. Cover and let cook for 8 hours on high. You can either add your butternut squash in the beginning or if you want to keep some of the color, add it for the last hour.
Pumpkin pie spice is optional, but it really adds a depth of flavor and something a little different to this chili that I think you will enjoy.
You can cube the squash or puree it. I like it both ways.