Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach Chili #SecretRecipeClub

OK, so it might be a tad bit early for a hearty chili recipe, but come on Fall. I know you're out there. It's not that I don't love you, Summer, but this year has been a bit unusual, as I spent more time in the kitchen cooking, than laying on the beach soaking up the sunshine.

And so here we are in September (I know!), at another Secret Recipe Club reveal time.  And this month I was assigned to Tracy over at Pale Yellow.  Tracy has such a fun blog.  Science teacher by day, blogger by night, and she even has two turtles. Seriously, how cute it that.

So, as I perused her recipe index, I was drawn in by many, including her Irish Cream, Key Lime Cheesecakes, and Onion Jam Pizza (and did I mention these are all vegan recipes!)  But, I opted for this delicious looking (and sounding) chili.  And it was a huge hit in our home, tonight.

It was actually perfect, as it was a bit dreary and dark, and our day needed some livening up, and this chili did the trick.  But, I did make a few adjustments, because I had some things that needed to be used up, and I thought they'd work perfectly with Tracy's recipe (see her original recipe here).

First, I substituted roasted butternut squash for the pumpkin, which didn't quite add the creaminess that her original recipe offered.  But, it added a nice, deep, rich flavor, so I was happy. Then, I added a bit of berbere seasoning that I got from a Penzeys trip as a free sample, instead of the chili powder.  This offered a nice complex heat (more like a serious heat) to it all.  I also added in some fresh spinach to add some color and sneak in a bit more vegetables.

And finally, I had a free package of Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles (beef-free) in the freezer (from a coupon giveaway), that I used instead of ground turkey,  And you know what?  It was amazing.  Neither of us could tell the difference in this chili (and I love that it's soy-free).  My man even asked for seconds and asked me to "put it up," at the end of dinner... which in our house means he's wanting some leftovers.

Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach Chili

1/2 butternut squash
1-2 Tblsp. olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1- 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1- 15 oz. can white beans, rinsed and drained
1- 15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz. crushed tomatoes, not drained
10 oz. frozen corn, defrosted
2 oz. green chiles (I only used half the can, and was glad since I used the below berbere seasoning)
16 oz. vegetable broth (or more as needed for desired thickness)
2 tsp. dried oregano,
1/2 tsp. berbere seasoning from Penzeys (I used this instead of the chili powder, and man, was it hot, hot, hot!)
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
Generous pinch of salt
2 c. fresh spinach leaves
1 pkg. beef substitute (I used Beyond Meat Beef Crumbles microwaved to warm according to the package directions)

First, prepare the butternut squash for roasting by peeling the outer skin with a vegetable peeler.  Then cut in half and remove any seeds with a spoon.  Cut into small cubes and place on a rimmed cookie sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, until caramelized and lightly browned.

While the squash is roasting, in a large dutch oven or stockpot, warm some olive oil and then add in the diced onion.  Cook until translucent.  Then add all the beans, tomatoes, corn, chiles, seasonings, vegetable broth, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, and then simmer, adding in the spinach, the roasted squash and the prepared meat substitute, if desired (I microwaved to warm according to the package direction).  Simmer for about 20 minutes to allow flavors to blend and salt and pepper as needed. I added a bit of avocado to help cut the heat, and some chia seed crackers on the side to add a bit of crunch.

*Note- I am not working with Beyond Meat of Penzeys in any way... I simply enjoy their products and thought they complimented the dish nicely.

And please visit my fellow bloggers' pages to see what recipes they decided to make this month!


  1. Hi Diana,
    It is never to early for Chili and this is an outstanding recipe that I am trying right away! So glad to get this recipe, what a great choice for the SRC!
    Miz Helen

    1. Thank you Miz Helen! I hope you enjoy it as much as we have! :-)

  2. This sounds wonderful! Chili is eaten year round at our house. I love the idea of butternut squash. Great SRC selection.

  3. Chili is good year round! My husband is very impatiently waiting for me to make the first batch of the fall season. Great choice for the SRC!

    1. Thanks Heather! Mine greatly enjoyed the leftover today... he said he was looking forward to it all day :-)

  4. First of all, your photos are gorgeous. Secondly, I love the substitutions you made. Third of all, now I am totally craving some chili! :) Great choice.

    1. Thank you so much, Shelley! I appreciate you stopping by, and hope you give it a try!

  5. Thanks for the sweet words! No joke I clicked on this because it sounded like a great recipe, love the adaptations, I'll be making this version soon!

    1. LOL! That's awesome! Thanks so much for the amazing recipe, Tracy. And it was so much fun reading over your blog... can't wait to try more recipes! :-)

  6. I've made a butternut squash chili before but didn't think to roast it first. Great idea!

    1. Thanks Colleen! It adds a nice texture, and it almost tastes like candy! I also left out several pieces to sprinkle on top, and they got eaten up immediately :-)


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