Butternut Black Bean Chili

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I cannot believe I made it all the way to January without cooking a single pot of chili. Normally, that’s one of my cold-weather staples. To be fair, the weather in New York has been a little mild for winter this year, last weekend’s snowfall aside. Anyway, I’ve been meaning to get around to making black bean chili for weeks now, and finally did the other day. About damn time.


  • 1-2 tbsp canola or olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 large orange pepper, diced finely
  • 1 jalepeno, diced
  • 1 small can diced green chili peppers, drained
  • 1 28-oz can tomatoes
  • 2 15-oz cans (or 2 cups cooked) black beans, drained
  • 3-4 cups peeled & diced butternut squash
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp paprika (optional)
  • 3-4 drops liquid smoke (optional)


  1. Heat oil in large stockpot.
  2. Sautee garlic, onion, and pepper until soft.
  3. Add rest of ingredients. Stir well and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cover.
  4. Cook on low 2-3 hours.

Do you like chili? Have a favorite recipe? 

7 thoughts on “Butternut Black Bean Chili

    Kelly said:
    January 26, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    mmm, I’ve been making something simialr with sweet potatoes instead of butternut squash – it’s so addicting! I may try to add some cocoa powder in it and see how that tastes – great idea! I use a little bit of honey right now and it adds some great flavor.

      Jess responded:
      January 26, 2012 at 8:45 pm

      Honey sounds wonderful. Sometimes I use molasses, but I’ll have to try that. The cocoa powder was something I tried on a whim one day and just loved—it adds a subtle yet complex flavor that works really well with the acidity and spice. Haha wow, that description makes me sound like a total food snob or something. It’s really good, though!

    Lauren said:
    January 27, 2012 at 10:59 am

    First, didn’t know you were a shorty like me (5’2″) still angry an your ex from the comment you left on my post. I have a fave chili but try others, I think cinnamon with heat is the key. I don’t use liquid smoke, should I?

      Jess responded:
      January 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm

      Haha I sure am. It’s taken me a long time to make peace with my height but the only time I really even think about it now is when I either can’t reach something at the store or am surrounded by tall people with swinging elbows.

      I love the idea of adding cinnamon to chili—I’ll have to give that a try next time. While liquid smoke is not essential, it adds a subtle flavor that’s just so good.

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