When it comes to warming comfort food, this Vegan Butternut Squash Quinoa Chili is always a must-make. It's naturally gluten-free, easy to make in one pot, a pantry friendly recipe, and is magically one of those recipes that tastes even BETTER as leftovers!
As soon as the weather turns cold, comfort food is on the brain. While some of this involves endless amounts of baking, I like to balance that with healthier protein packed dinner recipes that are easy, made with simple ingredients, and usually require minimal dishes.
I've already made a few epic one pot meals including my Vegan Mushroom Wild Rice Soup and Vegan Butternut Squash Risotto, but a really solid chili recipe was missing from the mix! This vegetarian chili is high in protein, nutrients, and does NOT disappoint for those times you are craving a warming & hearty meal.
While the full list of ingredients with quantities is in the recipe card, here is a quick recap of the ingredients you need to make this easy homemade vegan chili recipe!
- Onions, chopped
- Garlic, minced
- Avocado Oil
- Butternut Squash, skin removed and cubed (here's a great tutorial on how to cut butternut squash)
- Jalapeño (for spice, we don't use a ton so I would not skip it!)
- Veggie broth ( I make my own or use Pacific Foods because the flavor is SO good)
- Beans (I used a mix of canned & rinsed kidney beans and black beans for the best flavor)
- Dried Quinoa (I buy the bulk Kirkland Organic bag because I eat quinoa often)
- Canned diced tomatoes (for the best flavor, use fire roasted tomatoes, though any works)
- Tomato paste
- Lime Juice
- Vegan Worcestershire Sauce (I used Annie's Worcestershire Sauce which is GF & Vegan)
- Spices- garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, salt, and pepper
How to make vegan chili
Since this is a one-pot vegan & gluten-free chili recipe, it's fairly easy to make! (PS- Here's the Le Creuset Dutch Oven I used to make this chili!)
First, prep ingredients
My biggest tip for making homemade vegan chili? Prep all the ingredients before you start cooking! That means opening all the cans, rinsing beans, chopping veggies, and measuring out all the spices. Believe me, it will make cooking this dish WAY more enjoyable since there is a decent amount of ingredients involved.
Sauté onions, garlic, butternut squash, & jalapeño
The first step in cooking this chili is sautéing the chopped onions & garlic in a little bit of oil. This helps them caramelize, soften, and develop a really nice flavor.
After about 3-5 minutes of cooking, we add in the butternut squash and jalapeño. It's really crucial to cook the butternut squash for at least 5-8 minutes so it ends up fully cooked in the chili.
Add everything else to the pot
After the veggies have been sautéed, add everything else to the pot! This includes the spices (garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, salt, pepper), veggie broth, cooked beans, dried quinoa, tomato paste, canned diced tomatoes, lime juice, and vegan worcestershire sauce.
P.S- the vegan worcestershire sauce & lime juice are actually my two secret ingredients to a truly delicious chili, so don't skip them!
Bring to boil, then simmer to cook
Once all the ingredients have been added, stir and bring the pot to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook everything for 20 minutes covered. This time is needed to fully cook the quinoa and allow it to soak up all the liquid.
While the butternut squash chili will look pretty soupy at first, as the quinoa cooks it absorbs a ton of the water and leads to a truly delicious and THICK chili.
Season to finish & let sit before serving
While we are adding spices to the mix, your chili may still need a little extra salt & pepper at the end! I like to leave this open ended as I know everyone's salt preference varies, but make sure to taste & season until the chili is exactly as you like it.
After the chili is done cooking, let it sit for 5-10 minutes to cool a bit and thicken before serving. Believe me, as soon as it has some time to sit it will thicken right up!
FAQ & Substitutions:
What are the best toppings for vegan chili?
- Cilantro (a must for this chili!)
- Vegan cheese
- Extra jalapeño slices (for an extra spicy kick)
- Lime wedge (to squeeze some extra lime on top)
- Tortilla chips- for extra crunch!
How long will leftovers keep? Can I freeze vegan chili?
Leftover chili can be stored in a closed container in the fridge for 3-5 days. In fact, I actually think chili tastes even BETTER the next day as more of the liquid gets soaked up.
Leftovers can also be store in a closed container in the freezer for 1-2 months. I recommend storing it in individual servings/ smaller containers so it's easy to eat as leftovers. To defrost either cook at a low heat in a pan on the stove or defrost in the microwave until warmed throughout.
What about making it oil-free?
Totally! We only use 1 Tbsp of oil in the entire recipe, but if you need to stick to an oil-free diet just sauté the vegetables with a few tablespoons (3-4) of veggie broth instead, The veggies won't get that caramelized look, but they will still taste beyond delicious!
Is there a sub for quinoa in this recipe? Can I make the chili grain-free?
I haven't tried one, but using rice may work. Basically, you need to use a grain to soak up all the liquid or else you will be left with a thin soup vs. a thick chili. If you have to make this chili grain-free, reduce the vegetable broth to just 1 cup and simmer everything uncovered for 10 minutes total vs. 20 minutes covered.
I truly hope you all love this absolutely INCREDIBLE Vegan Butternut Squash Quinoa Chili. It's perfect for any chilly Fall day, for Football season, and would even make a great vegan option for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas this year. Enjoy!
Looking for more warming vegan comfort food recipes? Check out these SGTO favorites!
- 1 Tbsp avocado oil (13 grams)
- 1 onion (finely chopped, about 1 ½ cups or 180 grams)
- 5 cloves garlic, minced (10 grams)
- 2 cups peeled & chopped butternut squash (about ½ squash cut into 1-inch cubes or 220 grams)
- 1 Tbsp diced jalapeño (8 grams, about ½ jalapeño)
- 4 cups vegetable broth (946 ml)
- 1 15 oz can cooked black beans (strained and rinsed, about 1 ½ cups cooked beans)
- 1 15 oz can cooked kidney beans (strained and rinsed, about 1 ½ cups cooked beans)
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (411 grams, juice included)
- ¾ cup dried uncooked quinoa (135 grams)
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste (36 grams)
- 1.5 Tbsp lime juice (30 grams, about 1 ½ limes)
- 1 Tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce (11 grams)
- 2 tsp ground cumin (4 grams)
- 2 tsp chili powder ( 2 grams)
- 1 tap garlic powder (2 grams)
- 1 tsp onion powder (2 grams)
- 1 tsp salt (minimum to add, at end of cooking taste & add more if needed)
- ½ tsp black pepper (minimum to add, at end of cooking taste & add more if needed)
- Diced avocado
- Fresh cilantro
- Extra Jalapeño slices
- Before starting to cook, prep all the ingredients. Chop and mince the vegetables, measure and set aside the spices in a small bowl, open all canned products and strain and rinse beans.
- Add the avocado oil to a large pot or dutch oven and heat over medium heat. Once hot, add in the chopped onions and minced garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes until translucent.
- Next add in the chopped butternut squash and diced jalapeño. Sauté with the onion & garlic for an about 5 minutes until the butternut squash has started to soften.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients including the vegetable broth, black beans, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, dried quinoa, tomato paste, lime juice, worcestershire sauce, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, & pepper. Stir together and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat, cover with a lid, and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. After 20 minutes, remove the lid, stir, and cook an additional 5 minutes uncovered.
- Remove the pot of chili from the heat, stir once more, and let sit 5 minutes to cool and thicken before serving.
- Serve with your choice of toppings while warm & enjoy!
- Chili can be stored in a closed container in the fridge for 3-5 days or in the freezer up to 2 months. It is best to store in individual containers if freezing so it is easy to defrost & reheat a single serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1 bowl (without toppings)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 494Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 0mgCarbohydrates: 80gFiber: 23gSugar: 8gProtein: 22g
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