By: Stacey Stormo

Fall is my favorite time of year. The leaves change, the weather cools, and all of a sudden we just want to cuddle up and take it easy for a while. We settle down from the excitement of summer and give ourselves a chance to catch our breath before the holidays. We gather with friends and family over cups of warm apple cider, relax and unwind next to a roaring fire, and take walks among the fallen leaves, enjoying the delicious autumn air. One of my favorite things about fall is the bounty of gorgeous vegetables available to us. Hearty pumpkin, nutty squashes, fresh greens, and nourishing root veggies. Fall food feels like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket for every meal. There’s just nothing better than autumn in a bowl.

I decided to share this recipe because it’s one that I keep tweaking and changing every time I make it. I feel like it’s grown and evolved with me over the past few years. No matter how I adjust it and try new things, it always seems to end up being the perfect fit for me in that moment. So I encourage you to make it your own. Toss in things you and your family love. Adjust it to your taste. You can take this recipe in many directions. You can go with a more Mexican flavor, highlight more of the roasted and caramelized vegetable notes, or maybe give it a Mediterranean or Indian spin. Keep it vegan, or add your favorite meat. You can make it spicy, keep it mild, or maybe find a happy medium. Embrace the autumn feel, or replace different ingredients to suit the season. Serve in a bowl for an entree, or in a cup as a side dish. The choice is yours. Enjoy!

  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 – 6


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder, or to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, start small
  • 1 small (1 1/2 – 2lb.) butternut squash (about 4 – 5 cups), peeled, seeded & diced
  • 1 small zucchini, cubed
  • red bell peppers, cored, seeded and diced (can use raw or roast ahead of time for added flavor)
  • 2 cans (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes + juice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (can substitute for water)
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons cocoa powder or 1 oz of dark chocolate, optional
  • salt, to taste

Garnish suggestions:

  • avocado
  • cilantro
  • diced raw onion
  • scallions
  • lime wedges
  • tortilla strips
  • vegan sour cream


Stovetop: In a large 5 – 6 quart pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Sauté the onion for 5 – 7 minutes. Add the spices, sauté for 1 minute longer. Add the butternut squash, zucchini, bell peppers, beans, tomatoes and vegetable broth and optional cocoa. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes. Will be done when the butternut squash is tender. Finish with a dash of salt and pepper. Chili will thick upon cooling. Garnish to your personal liking.

Slow Cooker: Place ingredients into your slow-cooker, finishing with the vegetable broth and give a good stir. Cover and cook on low for 6 – 8 hours. Finish with a dash of salt and pepper. Garnish to your personal liking. Enjoy your bowl full of autumn!

Original recipe source: The Simple Veganista