While I'm not yet officially declaring myself a future vegetarian or vegan, I am presently working really hard on reducing my meat intake and increasing my vegetable intake. We will see where things go, but for now things are going quite well! I think it's going well because I've been able to find so many really easy and great vegetarian/vegan recipes where the flavor totally compensates for the lack of meat. I recently found this butternut squash chili recipe via Love & Lemons (such a fave blog) and it is now probably my favorite chili recipe - meat recipes included. It's just that good... The flavors of this soup are absolutely amazing! It's not cooked for hours (and doesn't need to be), so you can taste the freshness of every single thing in the soup. The flavors are highlighted even more by a blast of lime juice that is added in at the end, which takes the soup to another level. I felt totally full after eating a serving and didn't miss the meat at all. I highly recommend it!
Here is what you need and what to do (serves 4):
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium or large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, chopped
2 cups butternut squash, cubed into about 1 inch cubes
1 poblano pepper, seeds removed, chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes (I used these to add a little more spice)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup frozen corn (non-GMO is best, doesn't have to be thawed)
1 14.5 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
3-4 cups good-quality vegetable stock
Juice of 1/2 to 1 lime (This ingredient is so important! Fresh is best here!)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and a dash of salt and pepper and cook until they are soft and translucent - 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, poblano pepper, butternut squash, a dash more of salt and pepper, and stir. Cook until those vegetables are slightly soft - about 15 minutes or so.
2. Add the chili powder, chipotle powder, and tomatoes. Stir and cook for about a minute. Add the apple cider vinegar, beans, corn, and 3 cups of the vegetable stock. Simmer and cook until the butternut squash is tender - about 20-25 minutes. THEN- my favorite part - squeeze in the juice of 1/2 a lime. Stir and then taste. Add the juice of the other half of the lime if you want to elevate the flavor even more. Just 1/2 the lime worked for me. Season with more salt and pepper to taste and add more broth if it's too thick...
That's it! Serve with grated fresh sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, cilantro, and/or a side of your favorite tortilla chips!
Image by me