Butternut Squash Chili with White Beans

GFGluten FreeGRGrain FreeNFNut FreeOFOil FreeVVegan
4.89 from 35 votes
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This Butternut Squash Chili is cozy, hearty, and made from simple plant-based ingredients to keep you nourished during soup season. Serve with homemade cornbread and your favorite toppings. Gluten-free and Vegan.

This Butternut Squash Chili with White Beans is filled with fresh squash, creamy white beans, bold spices, and a savory broth that melds all of the flavors together. It’s creamy, smoky, and the perfect cozy bowl of chili to warm you up during the cold days of fall and winter.

Table of Contents
  1. White Bean Chili with a Fall Twist
  2. What You Need for this Butternut Squash Chili
  3. How to Make Butternut Squash Chili
  4. Serving Suggestions
  5. How to Store Butternut Squash Chili
  6. Substitutions and Variations
  7. Recipe FAQs
  8. Butternut Squash & White Bean Chili Recipe
butternut squash white bean chili served in a white bowl topped with slices of jalapeno and cilantro with a spoon dug in

White Bean Chili with a Fall Twist

In the past, I typically steered toward tomato-based chilis (see Classic Chili, Vegan Chorizo Chili, and Vegan Chipotle Black Bean Chili) for their thick, hearty, great depth of flavor. But when I first started experimenting with this Vegan White Bean Chili with Jackfruit, I realized that white bean chilis can be just as thick and creamy without the need for any cream at all. Now, don’t get me wrong. Classic chili is still a hearty meal I welcome year round, but white bean chili is an extra kind of special. This butternut squash chili ticks every box, and then some. It’s creamy from the combination of butternut squash and white beans, plus has amazing, deep, smoky flavor thanks to the toasted nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, and fresh cilantro stems. Whether you serve it for a quick and easy dinner, make it for meal prep, or prepare it for a crowd on game day, this vegetarian chili is sure to be a hit!

What You Need for this Butternut Squash Chili

This chili is the epitome of minimal ingredients and maximum ingredients. It’s made start to finish with just 10 nutritious ingredients and 10 minutes of hands-on time. Here’s the main components:

ingredients for the butternut squash white bean chili laid out on a marble kitchen countertop
  • Butternut squash: Unlike my Pumpkin Chili that’s made with pumpkin puree, this butternut squash chili is made with fresh, cubed butternut. This squash can be found year-round in large chain grocery stores, but is most abundant during fall and early winter. 
  • White beans: I prefer navy beans in this chili, but Great Northern beans or cannellini beans would also work well. In a pinch, you could also use pinto beans or black beans. 
  • Nutritional yeast: Toasted nutritional yeast adds a deep, smoky flavor that truly makes this recipe. It’s cheesy without the dairy and contributes to the creamy, dreamy flavor. 
  • Broth: Vegetable broth works, but I highly recommend vegan chicken broth if you have access to it. Vegan chicken broth is filled with natural umami-rich flavors that add additional depth and savoriness to the chili. My favorite is Better than Bouillon No Chicken Base. 
  • Jalapeños: Despite this chili being made with 2 diced jalapeños, it’s on the milder side as we are de-seeding the peppers. If you’d like your chili to have more of a kick, leave a few of the seeds in and cook them into the chili, then serve with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes for additional heat.

How to Make Butternut Squash Chili

side-by-side images of the butternut squash white bean chili in a pan before and after simmering
  1. In a large dutch oven or soup pot, toast the nutritional yeast until darkened and fragrant. Remove from the pot and set aside. 
  2. Next, warm the oil in the pot, then add the onion and cook for 3 minutes, or until beginning to brown. 
  3. Add the cilantro stems, bell pepper, jalapeños, cumin, smoked paprika, and toasted nutritional yeast. Sauté for an additional 3 minutes. 
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20-25 minutes. 
  5. Season with additional salt and pepper, then serve immediately while warm and creamy.

Caitlin’s Cooking Tips

  • Dried beans must be cooked beforehand. This chili is made with 4 cups of cooked white beans. If you are using dried beans, cook 1 1/3 cups of dried white beans separately before adding them to the chili. Cooking beans from scratch requires a significant amount of water and time and won’t cook through properly during the short simmer. 
  • Adjust the consistency, as needed. White bean chili is meant to be thick and creamy, but if you prefer a thinner recipe, add an additional tablespoon of broth at a time until your desired consistency is reached.
a zoomed in photo of butternut squash white bean chili

Serving Suggestions

Just like my Classic Vegan Chili, I love enjoying this white bean chili topped with fresh herbs like cilantro or green onions, jalapeño slices, and an additional sprinkle of nutritional yeast. It’s the perfect hearty chili for weeknights, wholesome lunches, rainy weekends, or any occasion that could use a cozy bowl of goodness. Enjoy it as a standalone meal, or pair with Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins or Classic Cornbread to take this hearty meal to the next level. 

If you’re looking for more cozy squash recipes, you’ll also love this Roasted Honeynut Squash, these Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells, and these Stuffed Acorn Squash with Mushrooms. You’ll also love these 20+ Vegan & Gluten-Free Pumpkin Recipes

How to Store Butternut Squash Chili

Leftover chili will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months in the freezer. 

Once chilled, this chili will thicken considerably. Add a splash of broth before reheating in the microwave or a pot over medium-low heat on the stovetop until warm.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Oil-free option: Sauté the onions and peppers in 1/4 cup of water or vegetable broth instead of avocado oil. Add more liquid to the pan as necessary if the aromatics begin to stick to the bottom of the pot. 
  • Milder option: Reduce the jalapeños, or replace with a milder pepper such as Anaheim peppers, roasted poblanos, or green bell pepper for a completely mild variation. 
  • Butternut squash substitution: Use another hard-skinned squash such as pumpkin, delicata squash, kabocha squash, or even acorn squash. The color of the soup will be slightly different, but it will be a similar creamy, nutrient-rich squash chili.
butternut squash white bean chili served in a white bowl topped with slices of jalapeno and cilantro with a spoon dug in

Recipe FAQs

Is this chili vegetarian?

This easy butternut squash chili recipe is not only vegetarian, but 100% vegan and gluten-free, too. It’s a great fall chili for all kinds of eaters.

Do I need to peel butternut squash?

Yes. Unlike sweet potatoes or acorn squash that don’t need to be peeled before eating, it is recommended to peel butternut squash before eating. If you’re new to cooking with fresh squash, check out this helpful tutorial: How to Peel and Cut Butternut Squash.

Can I make this chili in the Instant Pot or slow cooker?

 I haven’t tested this specific chili recipe in a pressure cooker or slow cooker, but readers have shared success making this chili in the Instant Pot under manual high pressure for 5 minutes. If you are interested in Instant Pot or slow cooker recipes, you’ll like this Instant Pot Black Bean Soup and Slow Cooker Bean Quinoa Chili.

Can I use frozen or pre-cut butternut squash in the chili?

Absolutely. Both frozen and pre-cubed butternut squash are great options when you’re short on time and need a quick and easy meal prep. If using frozen, your chili may be slightly thinner, as frozen produce contains excess water.

Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊

Butternut Squash & White Bean Chili

4.89 from 35 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 -5 Servings
This Butternut Squash & White Bean Chili is cozy, hearty, and made from only 10 plant-based ingredients! A yummy Vegan & Gluten-Free entree for chilly days.

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or other high-heat oil
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1/2 bunch chopped cilantro stems and leaves divided
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 large jalapeños deseeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 4 cups navy beans cooked and rinsed
  • 3 1/2 cups butternut squash diced into 1/2” cubes
  • 3 1/2 cups vegan “chicken” broth or sub vegetable broth
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Toast the Nutritional Yeast (Optional): For a deeper flavor I highly recommend toasting the nutritional yeast! Warm a large pot over medium heat and add the nutritional yeast. Stir frequently and toast for 3 to 5 minutes, until the yeast darkens in color and becomes fragrant. Remove from the pot and set aside; return the pot to the heat.
  • Aromatics: Warm the oil in the pot, then add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes, until translucent and beginning to brown. Add the cilantro stems, bell pepper, jalapeños, cumin, smoked paprika, and toasted nutritional yeast to the pot. Sauté for an additional 3 minutes.
  • Simmer: Add the beans, butternut squash, and broth to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to help break things down and reduce sticking.
  • Serve: Remove from the heat and season the chili with additional salt and pepper to taste, as necessary. Divide the chili into serving bowls and garnish with the chopped cilantro leaves, plus any additional toppings as desired. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, or can be frozen for up to two months.

Recipe Notes

  • Oil-Free: Sauté the onion and veggies in 1/4 cup water or vegetable broth instead of oil, adding more liquid to the pan as necessary if things start to stick

Nutrition

Calories: 416kcalCarbohydrates: 71gProtein: 18gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 956mgPotassium: 1329mgFiber: 24gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 14786IUVitamin C: 68mgCalcium: 198mgIron: 6mg
Keyword: Dairy-Free Chili, vegan chili, White Bean Chili, White Chili
Course: Main
Method: Stovetop
Cuisine: American

About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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Comments

  1. 4 stars
    My house smells amazing, and while waiting for my husband to get home and taste testing, I’m tempted to use my immersion blender a bit before serving. I also left out cilantro, but have some on the side for my side kick who loves it 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    I have several favorite recipes from you, but this one just leapt to the top of my list! It is SO delicious, warm, and cozy. I think it was even better as leftovers the next day because the flavors and spices had melded overnight!

  3. 5 stars
    I made this recipe as written except for the beans. I couldn’t find navy beans so i used two cans of black beans. It was absolutely delicious!! I froze some for later too. 10/10 recommend.

  4. 5 stars
    Very tasty recipe. Mine came out more souplike than chili like because I used 2 cans of beans (about 3 cups) instead of 4 cups of beans as the recipe called for. So next time I’ll decrease the broth by a half cup.

  5. I haven’t made this yet, however I plan to. I know you may not be able to answer through this rating concept. I am new to your blog. New to vegan also. I really like your site and your comments, they are so personal. I was looking at your cookbook, and was wondering if you use tofu in your recipes?

    1. Hi Kir! Welcome to the FromMyBowl blog and to being vegan. To answer your question, Yes, tofu is used in a lot of the recipes posted here because it is a great source of protein.

  6. 5 stars
    Made this over a campfire and it turned out amazing! We added some corn as well which we really enjoyed. Even my selective toddler was asking for another bowl 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    Fabulous soup. To promote Zero Waste living, I’ll add that it’s super easy to cook dry beans in advance, in the same pot, put aside, do steps 1-3, and voilà: It’s vegan, Zero Waste, and minimal clean-up!
    My boys love bacon (who doesn’t…) so I added some fried lard on top at the end, and served with garlic bread.

  8. 5 stars
    WOW. This was incredible and so easy to make! I left out the cilantro (because it tastes like soap to me lol) and it was absolutely perfect. Thank you!!

  9. 5 stars
    yummy!!! i added some more veggie broth, some carrots, celery & onion and fresh thyme & rosemary. it had more of a soupy vibe- really really good!

  10. 5 stars
    My supermarket didn’t have butternut squash today so I used sweet potato instead. If someone doesn’t like squash or, like me, just don’t have it, it was totally delicious!! I look forward to trying it with the squash, too 🙂

  11. I loved this chili and will be making it often! It was a hit with friends and family. Thank you for another delicious recipe!

  12. 5 stars
    A new favorite! Love that there are minimal ingredients and maximum flavor and that it wasn’t difficult at all to prepare. Paired with corn bread. Perfect for this cold weather.

  13. 5 stars
    This chili was so yummy! I made it for dinner last night – I blended half the soup with an immersion blender at the end & topped it with diced avocado + cilantro. This is a new favorite & will definitely make again. Thank you for another delicious dinner!

  14. 5 stars
    This recipe is AMAZING! It has a nice almost cheesy texture and there is such a nice depth of flavor built up in such a short time. I didn’t have smoked paprika or a red pepper, but I added about a tablespoon or two of harissa paste I had in my fridge. I also added some tomato paste because… well, why not? In any case, a wonderful recipe that I’ll for sure save and remake for my family.

    1. 5 stars
      Very tasty soup! Perfect for this fall day. My only suggestion is to be more specific about how much cilantro stems to put in. I didn’t buy a bunch, I got it from my garden, so I had to guess on the amount. I will use only 3 cups of beans next time because that’s how many are in two cans and I think the 3 cans I used this time was too much. Thanks for another great recipe!

      1. We appreciate the suggestion and will take note of it for future recipes, Jessica!

  15. 5 stars
    This was delicious! I followed the recipe exactly except I made it in my instant pot. Sautéed nootch and veggies and then pressure cooked on high for 5 minutes. Came out perfect!

  16. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! I had never toasted nutritional yeast before & the smell made me anxious when I started cooking it. It turned out wonderfully though! My parents loved it as their anniversary dinner & it couldn’t have been easier. Definitely add the cilantro & jalapeños???? Thank you for the great recipe, I will be adding it to my cookbook ❤️❤️❤️

    1. Toasted nutritional yeast does seem like it’s going the wrong way but it actually works really well! So happy you tried it and that your parents liked it as well; happy anniversary to them!

      1. I made this mistake the hard way, but it would definitely have helped to have “cook the beans” as a listed step.
        We tend to eyeball ingredients instead of scroll back up to read the ingredient list, so when it just said “add the beans” I just dumped them in dry.

        We’ll have to wait a while for them to cook in the soup, so hopefully it turns out ok.😅