In this vegan chili recipe, butternut squash, chipotles & poblanos make a delicious sweet & smoky flavor combination. It's quick, easy & so darn good.
Are you as excited as I am that it’s soup season? I love making a big batch of a soup or stew on Sunday and eating it all week. This butternut squash vegan chili recipe is my current Sunday soup obsession. It’s hearty and healthy, warming and slightly spicy. Plus, it’s one of those soups that gets a little better every day, so unlike most leftovers, I loved eating this chili for lunch just about every afternoon last week.
Best Vegan Chili Recipe Ingredients
To make this vegan chili recipe hearty & flavorful, I added butternut squash. It gives the chili bulk without making it overly bean-y, and it adds a mild sweetness to contrast with the other spicy, smoky flavors. When I made this chili, I had 3 tiny butternut squashes on hand, but you won’t need 3 to make it. Just cube up enough squash to equal about two cups. If you don’t have squash, sweet potato would work well in its place.
Along with the butternut squash, I used poblanos in this vegan chili recipe. If you prefer, or if you’re sensitive to spice, green bell peppers would work equally well. Aside from these veggies, here’s what you need to make a show-stopping vegan chili:
- Onion, garlic & carrot are the aromatic base.
- Chili powder & chipotle powder give it essential spicy, smoky flavor.
- Fresh cherry tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes add a tangy contrast to the sweet squash and spicy chili powder.
- Apple cider vinegar adds brightness and tones down the heat.
- Black beans bulk it up. Pinto beans, kidney beans, or a mix would be good too!
- Vegetable broth thins it out.
- And lime gives it a bright finish.
Vegan Chili Serving Suggestions
I topped my bowls of veggie chili with leftover cashew sour cream, crispy tortilla chips, and cilantro. Feel free to top yours with whatever you like – fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels, diced avocado, green onion, or hot sauce would also be delicious.
If you love this vegan chili recipe…
Best Vegan Chili
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced, about 1½ cups
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash
- 1 poblano pepper, stem and seeds removed, and diced*
- 1 teaspoon chili powder*
- ½ teaspoon chipotle paste or powder*
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, or 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 to 3 cups vegetable broth
- Juice of ½ to 1 lime
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Grilled corn kernels
- Handful of cilantro
- Baked tortilla strips (or crumbled chips)
- Lime slices
- Dollops of poblano cashew cream
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, carrots, poblano, butternut squash, and another pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables just start to become tender and the onion is lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat if necessary.
- Add the chili powder, chipotle powder, and tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the apple cider vinegar and black beans and then add 2 cups of vegetable broth (or enough to cover everything). Simmer until the butternut squash and carrots are tender, 20 to 30 minutes, adding more broth as needed.
- Add a big squeeze of lime. Season to taste with more salt, pepper, and spices to your liking. If your chili is too spicy, stir in a small splash of apple cider vinegar. If it's too thick, add another cup of broth.
- Serve with grilled corn, cilantro, tortilla strips, lime slices, and poblano cashew cream.