My two favorite things about fall: 1- It becomes acceptable to eat soup again and I don’t sweat just thinking about it, and 2- My favorite fall fruits and veggies return, like butternut squash, pomegranate, etc. So, I decided to combine those things I love about the cooler weather into one delicious and unique chili.
It’s spicy and hearty like you want in a chili but with a hint of sweetness from the squash. The swiss chard adds another fresh fall ingredient and makes this chili even healthier. Topped with some cheese and avocado, it’s so filling and comforting…almost makes you forget that we are beginning the slow descent into the dark cold abyss that is winter. I’m getting ahead of myself though.
Nutritional highlights: So many good things going on in this soup. Butternut squash has carotenoids, a pigment with antioxidant properties. The swiss chard is up there with spinach as one of the healthiest veggies out there and is packed with vitamin K, A, and C. Like beets, chards has the phytonutrient betalin (which gives the red color). Then we’ve got the main ingredient in the chili–black beans. Like most legumes, black beans are full of fiber, folate, and protein. Plus, leave off the cheese on top and it’s vegan. And also gluten free if that’s important to you. Making a pot of this gave me six healthy lunches to grab on my way out the door in the morning. Saves money and calories! Double win.
Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili
adapted from epicurious
Directions: Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic; sauté until tender and golden, about 9 minutes. Add squash; stir 2 minutes. Stir in chili powder and cumin. Stir in beans, broth, and tomatoes with juices; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in chard; simmer until chard is tender but still bright green, about 4 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle chili into bowls and serve.