• Southern Style Squash Chili


This chili has the basic chili formula—tomato base and beans, and then some unusual ingredients—squash or yams, and spinach, to amp up the color, the nutritional value and the texture. A kiss of maple syrup cuts the acid and pulls the flavors together. The creaminess of the squash adds a new dimension to a familiar food, bringing a novel twist just when things are getting old. It still works with all the sides—guacamole, chips, sour cream or cheese—or it can be delicious with hearty whole grain bread, corn chips or served over brown rice.

Southern Style Squash Chili

By Jenny Breen

Serves 8-12.


  • 2 cups dried black-eyed peas cooked in 5 cups water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 yams or 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 8 cups water or stock
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup fresh or 2 tablespoons dry thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 4 cups spinach or other seasonal greens, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh or 2 tablespoons dried cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Optional: 1 pound chicken breast, cooked ground meat or sausage


  1. Cook beans and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in stock pot over medium heat. Sauté onion and squash with garlic, herbs and salt, and add 4 cups water or stock. Cover and simmer until squash is soft, about 10-12 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, corn, cilantro, greens, tomato paste and maple syrup.
  4. Add some, or all, remaining water or stock to desired consistency and simmer uncovered for another 15-20 minutes.
  5. Add salt as needed. Serve with guacamole, sour cream, and/or cheese (Jenny recommends quark from Cosmic Wheel Creamery).

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