Ancho, Black Bean & Squash Chili

We are now back in North America for the winter, and I’m busy filling up my freezer with nutritious soups and stews that I freeze in individual containers for quick and easy lunches. Chili is one of my husband’s favorite lunches, and I like to add lots of vegetables for texture and added nutritional value. Since we like our chili on the spicy side, I used dried ancho chiles for this recipe which added a nice smokey heat. If you prefer, you could use less of the ancho variety, or use another type of chili you prefer. This is a meatless chili, but again, if you’d like to add in some meat, I’d suggest ground turkey or chicken would work really well and keep the dish nice and lean. Since I am presently enjoying cooking with all the winter squash available to us here in North America, I added an entire butternut squash to this chili, and loved how the sweetness of the squash combined with the smokey hint of the ancho chili peppers.

 Why Healthy
  • Black beans provide and excellent source of fiber and are nutrient rich.
  • Tomatoes and peppers are a source of vitamin A, vitamin C, dietary fiber and a great source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant.
  • Butternut squash is an excellent source of vitamin A.  But that’s not all; there are significant amounts of vitamin C, E, K, B6, folate and thiamin.


Ancho, Black Bean & Squash Chili

Yield: Serves 12

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 1 hr


4 Dried Ancho Chiles
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Cups Finely Chopped Onions
3 Cups Finely Chopped Carrots
3 Cups Finely Chopped Celery
2 Red Sweet Peppers, Cored, Seeded & Finely Chopped
4 Cloves, Garlic, Peeled & Minced
3 (14 Ounce) Cans Chopped Tomatoes
10 Cups Cooked or Canned Black Beans, Drained & Rinsed
1 Small Butternut Squash, Peeled, Seeded, & Cut Into 3/4 Inch Dice
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano
2 Tablespoons Smoked Paprika
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
Salt & Pepper
2 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
Garnish Options:
Chopped Green Onion
Shredded Jack or Cheddar Cheese
Fat Free Greek Yogurt
Chopped Sweet Pepper
Lime Wedges


Place the chiles in a bowl and cover with boiling water and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
Strain the liquid and place in a saucepan and cook until the liquid has reduced to 1 cup.
Finely chop the chiles and mix into the ancho liquid.
In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil and cook the onions, celery, and carrots for 5 minutes, stirring often.
Add the next 11 ingredients along with ancho chiles, reserving just the cilantro for later and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the squash is tender, and the chili has thickened.
Stir in the chopped cilantro and taste, adjusting seasonings as needed.
Serve in individual bowls, with garnishes as desired.


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