Vegetarian Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili


I’m always looking for funky chili recipes.  Don’t get me wrong, I like a good standard chili.  But chili can be downright interesting.  I’ve made it with peanut butter and cinnamon.  Squash is another ingredient I like to use in chili.  It provides a sweetness that tastes amazing.  When I found this recipe from Cookie + Kate for Vegetarian Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili with Avocado, I was interested.  Squash, chipotle and avocado?  I’m in.  I scrolled down to the bottom for the nutritional info and WHOA!  The calorie count is pretty high and the sodium is the same as two tablespoons of regular soy sauce.  There’s no reason a chili with all of these healthy ingredients should be so unhealthy.

To be fair, not everyone works so hard to make sure that every recipe fits their macros and doesn’t include stuff it shouldn’t.  However, I think a lot of people skip good recipes because they have stats that don’t suit them.  My hope with sharing how I adapt recipes is simple.  No recipe is off limits.  I love to challenge myself to make a recipe fit.  I believe you can too.

Here are the original stats:

  • 544 calories
  • 19g Fat
  • 0 mg Cholesterol
  • 2484 mg Sodium
  • 1170 mg Potassium
  • 74g Carbohydrate
  • 18g Protein
  • 385% Vitamin A
  • 106% Vitamin C
  • 19% Calcium
  • 34% Iron

If you ignore the sodium and the calories, the stats aren’t bad.  So let’s fix this recipe so all the stats are in good shape.  Here’s what I changed:

  • Replaced the canned black beans with low sodium canned black beans to lower the sodium.
  • I deleted the tortilla chips to lower the sodium.
  • I deleted the 1 tablespoon of salt for obvious reasons
  • I deleted the tomatoes.
  • I replace the vegetable broth with low sodium chicken broth and increased the amount to 4 cups to accommodate the lentils.
  • I deleted the avocado.  Not because there is anything wrong with it, but it doesn’t freeze well.
  • I increased the servings from 4 to 7 to lower the calories.
  • I added 1.5 cups of brown lentils to add protein.

Here are the updated stats:

  • 295 calories
  • 4g Fat
  • 0 mg Cholesterol
  • 231 mg Sodium
  • 387 mg Potassium
  • 56g Carbohydrate
  • 18g Protein
  • 241% Vitamin A
  • 130% Vitamin C
  • 10% Calcium
  • 34% Iron


Vegetarian Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili

Serves 7

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 ½ pounds butternut squash, peeled and chopped into ½-inch cubes
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½+ tablespoon chopped chipotle pepper in adobo
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1.5 cups brown lentils
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  1. In a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, bell pepper and butternut squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are turning translucent.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the garlic, chili powder, chopped chipotle peppers, cumin and cinnamon. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the bay leaf, black beans, lentils and broth. Stir to combine and cover for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  3. The chili is done when the butternut squash is tender and the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce. Remove the bay leaf and serve.

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