Butternut squash chili

There's something about a nice, big, comforting pot of chili when it's cold out that's so satisfying. Not to mention you can make a huge a pot and have it all week long! It heats up great and is delicious topped with some avocado. Chili is so versatile and the recipe can be easily adapted. You could replace the butternut squash with sweet potato if you need some extra carbs in your diet. You could also use pumpkin when it's in season. Any large, firm squash works well, really.

There's a couple of options as far as cooking the squash. You could stick the whole thing in the oven and bake for an hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from the oven and let cool. Cut in half, scoop out seeds and remove skin. Then cut into 1'' pieces.

I like to cut it in half length-wise, remove seeds and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes, depending on size. Make sure to place the slices face down, and turn the pan half way through baking. Once cooled, remove skin with sharp knife and cut into 1'' pieces

The easiest method would be to buy butternut squash from the grocery store that's already cubed for you (but usually a bit pricier)

Ingredients:

1 large yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

coconut oil for cooking (about 2 T, divided)

2 T chili powder

1 T ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp oregano

1/2 T red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsps salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 large or 2 small butternut squash, cut into 1'' cubes

3 large carrots, peeled and diced

3 bell peppers (any color), seeded and diced

2 lbs mushrooms, cleaned and diced

2 large zucchinis, ends removed, diced

1 4oz can tomato paste

1 28oz can crushed tomatoes

Directions:

1. In a large pot, heat up 1 T coconut oil and add the onion and garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, salt and pepper and saute for a minute or two

2. Add in the carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms and zucchinis and saute until cooked through

3. In a separate small pan, heat additional coconut oil (1 T) and add the ground beef, and cook until no longer pink

4. Then, add the meat to the pot

5. Add canned crushed tomatoes as well as tomato paste

6. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 30 minutes

Optional: Serve and top with sliced avocado and/or chopped, fresh parsley

Enjoy!

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