Two versions of butternut squash chili – both are gluten-free, a little spicy, and oh so tasty. Try the vegan version with kidney beans or the paleo version with ground beef.
Sunday we had a Super Bowl party, and after everyone left my husband said, “Soooo… despite having 20 people in this tiny living room eating meatballs and pulled pork, our apartment is cleaner than it was yesterday.” Um, ouch! But honestly, he’s not wrong. Having people over regularly is my #1 tip for keeping your home clean and organized. I’m not even kidding. There is nothing more motivating than the fear of being quietly judged by people who love you too much to say something about your messy home.
We wanted to set up an extra TV in our guest room (aka the You Should Craft studio) so friends who actually care about football could have a place to watch, but as of Friday the room was just a garbage pile of yarn, photography lights and props, half-finished projects, and worksheets from last semester. Now it’s beautiful! My props and dishes are organized neatly on the shelf, my extra yarn is back in color-coded hanging cubby holes, the lights are stored in the closet… I barely recognize the space.
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Speaking of organizing, I love organizing and planning a big party. Deciding on a menu, writing my grocery list, making a schedule of what needs to be chopped or taken out of the oven at certain times, having extra time to take pictures of a freshly crocheted cup cozy, figuring out how to fit all my slowcookers in my teeny, closet-like kitchen — it’s my very own Super Bowl!!
Sunday I was rocking four crock pots. FOUR. I told my friend I felt like I was fulfilling my destiny and she’s so sweet, she said, “But Alex, you’re good at lots of things, maybe those are part of your destiny too?” No Cat, it’s definitely the crock pot thing!
Anyway, I’ve been kind of obsessed with butternut squash chili this fall/winter, so it was a no-brainer to include it in our Super Bowl spread. We have a few vegan and vegetarian friends, but other than chips/guac and hummus/veggies, I didn’t have any food for them on my menu. Ta-da! My butternut squash chili with ground beef became vegan butternut squash chili with red kidney beans. I threw it all in the crock pot and a few hours later it was ready to go!
Whether you go with the paleo and Whole 30-friendly version of this slowcooker chili, or the vegan version, it’s gluten-free, a little spicy, and super amazingly delicious. So delicious, that not only am I eating the leftovers right now, but I have a ground beef version simmering in the crock pot as we speak. See? Told you I’m obsessed.
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (about 1-1.5 pounds)
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, diced (I use whatever color we have handy – they all taste great!)
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound of ground beef -OR- 2 15 ounce cans of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce (I usually buy the no-salt added varieties of canned tomatoes)
1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 4 ounce can of diced green chiles
1 tsp kosher salt
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
Optional: cayenne pepper for those looking for more spice
Vegan Version: Drain and rinse 2 cans of red kidney beans, then throw everything into a 6 quart crock pot and cook for 4-5 hours on low, or until the butternut squash is soft.
Paleo and Whole30 Version: Brown the ground beef (or ground turkey, whatever) in a frying pan over medium heat. Drain some of the fat (depending on what type of meat you’re using) and dump the meat into the crock pot. Add rest of the ingredients and cook for 4-5 hours on low. Honestly, you could probably skip the browning but I think it adds a little extra oomph.
This recipe makes almost exactly four quarts of chili, which I know because my biggest and most favorite slowcooker (this programmable bad boy — I highly recommend it!) was filled with six pounds of smoky, vinegar-y Carolina pulled pork (which was excellent, if I do say so myself), so I used my 4 quart Hamilton Beach model and it was literally filled to the brim with chili. Anyway, don’t be like me and use the wrong size of crock pot. BTW, if you do have to use a smaller one, your cooking time will be a bit longer because the heat distribution will be all weird and inefficient.
Soooo… that’s it! Can you tell why I’m so completely, head-over-heels in love with slowcookers?!
Serve your butternut squash chili warm and garnish with lime, avocado, and maybe a little dab of sour cream. A friend of mine stirred French onion dip into her chili and said it was amaze-balls, so I guess you can do that too?
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (about 1-1.5 pounds)
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, diced (I use whatever color we have handy - they all taste great!)
- 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
- 1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 1 4 ounce can of diced green chiles
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 3 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 pound of ground beef (for paleo/whole 30 version) -OR-
- 2 15 ounce cans of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (for vegan version)
- Optional: cayenne pepper for those looking for more spice
- Vegan Version: Put all of the ingredients into a 6 quart slowcooker (except ground beef) and cook on low for 4-5 hours.
- Paleo/Whole30 Version: Brown the ground beef in a frying pan over medium heat. Pour off some of the fat and add the beef to the crock pot with the rest of the ingredients. Cook on low for 4-5 hours.
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