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Black Bean, Sausage and Butternut Squash Chili

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.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: black beans, butternut squash, chia seeds, chilli, Italian sausage
Servings: 10


  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground *sweet Italian sausage or sausage with casings removed *substitute lean ground turkey for a low fat alternative
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 lb. butternut squash peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (look for already peeled and cut butternut squash in produce department for a short cut)
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and chopped
  • 2 14.5-oz. cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 15.5-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons apple 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.