This black bean acorn squash chili is the ultimate plant-based winter meal that will swoon even meat lovers (including myself): savory black beans, juicy tomatoes, sweet acorn squash, salty broth, and warming spices such as cumin and chili powder.
If you’re looking for a healthy meal to serve on Superbowl Sunday, look no further! Because the best part of this chili? You can prepare it in the crockpot! Which means you will have more time for watching the game, or, if you’re like me, more time for browsing Pinterest and eating all the food.
Admittedly, I’m not a football fan and have not watched in the Superbowl in years. Ryan doesn’t follow professional sports either, so often the Superbowl passes without us noticing until the next morning’s headlines. Meanwhile, we live in a city where Seahawks jersey are an integral part of the West Coast casual dress code. Ryan and I stick out as transplants at Mass every week when we’re wearing regular clothes, not Seahawks jerseys and regalia.
As far as we are both concerned, the big sporting event of February is not the Superbowl, but the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon.
Whether you’re watching the Superbowl or cheering on Desi, Shalane, and Deena, this vegetarian and gluten free black bean acorn squash chili will satisfy your hunger, warm you on a cold winter’s day, and fill you body with enough vegetables to balance out those chips and guac and beer.
Actually, you should definitely have beer. There’s something so balanced about a cold beer with a spicy and healthy chili, don’t you agree? Plus, beer may have some health benefits for runners (or, it may just be what I tell myself to justify my daily treat).
Of course, this black bean acorn squash chili boasts a high nutritional profile on its own accord. In fact, it’s an ideal winter meal to keep you healthy during the time of year when winter colds spread rapidly. Let’s break it down:
A 1 cup serving of black beans contains 15 grams of plant-based protein, 15 grams of fiber, 30% of your daily magnesium, 20% of your daily iron, and 17% of your daily potassium. Potassium and magnesium are key electrolytes for runners, and female runners in particular benefit from a high-iron diet.
Acorn squash offers a significant dosage of vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin B6, which means that it will boost your immune system during the cold-spreading months of winter. It’s also full of complex carbohydrates and fiber, which makes this an ideal food for runners.
Tomatoes provide you with Vitamin C and several phytonutrients including lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant (carotenoid, to be specific) that research suggests promotes good cardiovascular health and bone health.
Carrots, in addition to providing a satisfying crunch, contain almost too many vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients to list! From vitamin A to biotin to vitamin K, the carrot is a simple yet extraordinary vegetable.
Oooh, and let’s not forget garlic and shallots! Garlic is naturally anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory, which is good news for staying healthy when everyone else is coughing and sneezing. Shallots, the flavorful little cousin of garlic, will lower your cholesterol, fight both bacterial and viral infections, and elevate the depth and flavor of your meal to the next level.
While some nutritionally-packed vegetarian meals can taste like a plate of grass, this black bean acorn squash chili has a spicy and savory flavor, a satisfying combination of textures, and a heartiness to satiate even a meat eater’s appetite. This chili is gluten free and vegetarian as well!
You can serve it as is, dollop some plain Greek yogurt on top, or spoon it over a bed of brown rice or kamut.
Most of all, this is a simple meal. Healthy eating does not need to be complicated, fancy, or even overly creative: all you need is a few high quality whole food ingredients and a simple method of preparation.
- 1 large acorn squash, peeled and chopped
- 2 15-oz cans of black bean (or 3 cups of black beans)
- 2 15-oz cans of diced tomatoes (or 3 cups of roma tomatoes, finely chopped)
- 4-5 large carrots, chopped
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 cups of vegetable stock (or chicken stock if not vegetarian)
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- Salt, to taste
- Peel and chop all of the vegetables according to the ingredients list.
- In a crockpot, combine all of the ingredients. Let cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
- Serve and enjoy!
- As with many chilis, this tastes better on the second day, so consider making it in advance.
- You can store leftovers in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to three months.
- If you don't own a crockpot, you can prepare this on the stove by cooking the vegetables and then simmering the ingredients for 30 minutes.
Linking up for Foodie Friday!
Like this recipe? Then you may also enjoy:
Coconut Pumpkin Chickpea Curry
Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
Warm Acorn Squash and Wild Rice Salad
Are you watching the Superbowl this weekend?
Who are your favorites for the US Olympic Marathon Trials?
What ingredients do you enjoy in chili?