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An up close, overhead shot of smoky squash chili with pinto and black beans. The chili is photographed in a white Dutch oven and is deep red in colour. The chili is garnished with bright green chopped cilantro.

Smoky Squash Chili with Quinoa, Pinto & Black Beans

Smoky squash chili with quinoa, pinto and black beans is a hearty, healthy, and protein-rich recipe that is perfect for brisk days.
Cuisine American, Dairy-free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Plant-Based, Vegan, Vegetarian
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword black beans, butternut squash, chili, cilantro, cocoa powder, coriander, cumin, garlic, pinto beans, poblano, quinoa, squash, tomatoes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6


  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups small-diced butternut/honey nut squash (about one 1-lb squash)
  • ¼ cup quinoa
  • 3 tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 28- oz can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups cooked pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 ½ cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large poblano pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • chopped cilantro, for garnish


  • Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions to the pot and sauté until translucent and softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, coriander, and cocoa to the pot and stir. Once the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds, add the squash, quinoa, and some salt and pepper. Stir to coat everything in the cocoa and spices.
  • Once everything is starting to dry up/stick, add the adobo sauce and vegetable stock to the pot and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot to get any golden brown bits. Add the crushed tomatoes, pinto beans, black beans, poblano pepper, and a bit more salt and pepper to the pot. Stir to combine. Bring the smoky squash chili to a boil.
  • Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and place a lid on top of the pot. Let the chili simmer until the squash is soft all the way through, about 25-28 minutes. Check the smoky squash chili for seasoning one more time and adjust if necessary. Serve the chili hot with chopped cilantro on top.


  • Sweet potatoes would be great in place of the squash and would take about the same amount of time to cook.
  • If you can’t find poblano peppers, go for a bell pepper in whatever colour you like.
  • If you’re opening a can of chipotles to get the adobo sauce and you enjoy some extra spice, chop one of the actual chipotles up and add them to the chili along with the adobo sauce.
  • I served the chili with Love & Lemons' corn muffins (RECIPE HERE) and some cashew sour cream (RECIPE HERE)