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Butternut Squash Vegetarian Chili

Butternut Squash Vegetarian Chili

Jan 9, 2024 | Recipes

Some call this recipe “The Three Sisters Chili” and the title is derived from an old tale about Mexican and Navajo gardening culture. Corn, beans, and squash grow best when planted together. The corn stalks offer support for the other crops. The beans pull in nitrogen from the air to benefit the soil. The big squash leaves protect the soil to keep it moist and prevent weeds. The

Mexicans and Navajos believe that because these vegetables grow well together, they pair well together in recipes as well. We agree!


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 dry chipotle pepper
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 whole butternut squash: peeled, seeded, and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 – 15oz cans of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 – 15oz can black beans
  • 28-ounce can of crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 5-ounce canned chopped green chiles, mild or medium
  • 10 ounces of frozen corn, or fresh
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper



  • Chop all the produce. Cut the butternut squash in half, then peel with a vegetable peeler. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Chop into half-inch cubes.
  • Set a large 7-8 quart saucepot over medium heat. Add the onions, dry chipotle peppers, and minced garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes to soften.
  • Add in the cubed butternut squash, rinsed beans, tomatoes, broth, green chiles in juices, frozen corn, and all spices. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Save the cilantro for later.
  • Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then uncover and simmer for another 5 minutes to thicken. Once the squash is fork-tender, remove the bay leaf. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed. Stir in the cilantro and serve.
  • You can also make it in a slow cooker. Sauté the onions, poblano peppers, and garlic on the stovetop. Then dump the veggies into a large 6+ quart slow cooker and add all remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 2-4 hours, or on low for 5-7 hours.


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