Squashy Chili

Chili can be spicy, but this recipe is mild. If you really want to go for the burn, try adding fresh or dried chili peppers. 

Hands-on time:
40 minutes
Total time:
1 hour, 40 minutes
to 8 Servings

Kitchen Gear

Measuring spoons
Measuring cup
Cutting board
Sharp knife (adult needed)
Strainer or colander
Large heavy-bottomed soup pot with a lid
Large spoon
Oven mitts


2 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
3 cups diced* butternut squash
2 to 4 tablespoons chili powder
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 to 2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (if you like spicy)
1⁄4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (if you like spicy)
1⁄4 cup cold water
2 16-ounce cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed well
1 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed well
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes, including the juice
2 small or 1 large zucchini, diced*


Wash your hands with soap and water, then gather all your equipment and ingredients and put them on a counter.

  1. Put the pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium.
  2. Let the pot heat for a minute and when it is hot, add the oil.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, butternut squash, chili powder, oregano, and cumin (and red pepper flakes and cayenne if you like spicy). Cook on low heat until the onion is very soft, about 20 minutes. Stir from time to time. If it looks dry, add the water.
  4. Add the beans and tomatoes and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
  5. Add the zucchini and cook, uncovered, for 30 more minutes. Set aside to cool.
  6. After the chili cools, divide it into portions: you can refrigerate up to 5 days or freeze up to 2 months. Serve with cornbread. 

*Diced veggies are cut into small pieces about the size of dice. But let your adult cut the butternut squash. It's very hard! 

EXTRAS to add (if you like):

2 tablespoons plain low- or non-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 lemon, for squeezing