A hearty and colorful chili with the nutrition and flavor bumped up with butternut squash, fire roasted tomatoes and protein-rich black beans. Chia seeds add some unexpected crunch, thickening power and beneficial omega-3s.
Keyword: black beans, butternut squash, chia seeds, chilli, Italian sausage
1poundground *sweet Italian sausage or sausage with casings removed*substitute lean ground turkey for a low fat alternative
2lb.butternut squashpeeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (look for already peeled and cut butternut squash in produce department for a short cut)
1red bell pepperseeded and chopped
214.5-oz. cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes
215.5-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
4cupslow sodium chicken stock
Freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2tablespoonsapple cider vinegar
Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up chunks with the side of a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes.
Push sausage to the edges of the pan, leaving the middle empty. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, then the onion and garlic to the center of the pan.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to soften, about 3 minutes.
Add the chili powder, cumin and coriander and stir about 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and 1 teaspoon salt and stir until the paste begins to darken in color, about 30 seconds.
Add squash, red pepper, tomatoes and 4 cups chicken stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any stuck bits.
Bring to a simmer, adjust the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the chili has thickened and the squash is tender, about 45 minutes.
Stir the beans and chia seeds into the chili and heat through, about 5 minutes.
Season with an additional 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper, then taste the chili and stir in up to 2 tablespoons of vinegar.
To serve chili, top with cilantro leaves, shredded cheese, jalapenos, chopped green onion and/or sour cream if desired.
Most grocery stores now sell butternut squash already peeled and cubed in the produce department which is a big time saver. You can also find it in the freezer section if fresh is not available.