This butternut squash and back bean chili has been keeping our slow cooker very busy this winter. It started as a combination of two different recipes with some additional tweaking over time, and now I think it is pretty darn perfect! One telltale sign: my 2 year old twins can’t get enough of it. This recipe is extremely versatile; add ground chicken or turkey to make it even more hearty, and if you see a vegetable on the ingredient list that your family isn’t crazy about, replace it or leave it out. And, as fast as your family will gobble it up, there will still be plenty leftover to freeze for a future (and easier) dinner.
Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili
3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 small zucchini, halved
2 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2, 28-oz. cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
Salt and pepper
Ground chicken, turkey or beef (optional)
Warm oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Sauté onions until tender, about 3 minutes. Add bell peppers; sauté until tender, about 3 minutes.
Transfer onion/bell pepper mixture to a 4-to 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in beans, tomatoes, chili powder, and oregano. Arrange squash and zucchini on top. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Side note: My crock pot cooks really quickly, so the last few times I have made this I cooked the chili for 3 hours without the squash and zucchini so they wouldn’t over cook. After it cooks for 3 hours I would arrange the squash and zucchini on top and then cook until they are tender.