Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Eat to Live Cookbook: Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili

I prepared a double batch of the Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili this past weekend. I have made quite a few Vegan chilis in my lifetime, and they are usually quite delicious. This one did not disappoint, and it had the advantage of being very quick and easy, especially if you purchase the butternut squash already peeled and cut.

Many people find it daunting to deal with a whole raw butternut squash. They will either buy peeled and cut squash, which tends to be very expensive, or opt out of a recipe entirely. I chose to use a technique I have come to love for peeling and cutting butternut squash. It involves a microwave oven, so for you purists out there, cover your eyes quick! But I get the benefits of cheaper and much fresher butternut squash cubes. And I also get to keep my digits intact.

(1) With a small, sharp knife, poke holes all over a whole butternut squash.
(2) Microwave the entire squash for 5 minutes on high.
(3) Let the squash cool for a bit.
(4) With a large chef's knife, cut the butternut squash into 2 to 3 large sections. You should end up with cylinders of squash. Cut off the ends of the squash. The part with the seeds will require some creativity.
(5) One at a time, place each piece of squash on a cutting board  and cut off the skin in a vertical motion, roting the piece of squash as you go.
(6) Now you should have a large piece of peeled squash that you can cut into whatever size chunks are required for what you are making.
(7) Remove the seeds from the chunk with the seeds. Get creative about cutting off the skin and then cutting into chunks.

Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili
from The Eat to Live Cookbook by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, p. 175

Did I like it? Yes

Was it easy to make with readily available ingredients? Yes, see above re: butternut squash.

What specifically did I like about the recipe? It was very easy to make. Plus, I loved the addition of swiss chard to this chili. I've never added greens to a chili before and now I don't know if I will ever make another chili without them!

What specifically didn't I like about the recipe? It was a pretty generic chili flavor. I would have liked some more creativity with the spices, especially since we are not cooking with salt to amp up the flavors!

Did my husband like it? Yes

Did my teenage daughter like it?  Yes, but only after I added a bag of frozen corn to the chili at her request.

Did my eight or five year old try it? N/A

Would I make it again? I might not make this exact recipe, but I would definitely add greens to my future chilis and possibly even sweet potato or butternut squash.

Is there anything I would do to improve on it if I made it again? I would look to other chili recipes that I have made and loved and use the spices from those recipes.

Overall Grade (completely unscientific, I admit): A- (for sheer chili creativity!)

Have you made Dr. Fuhrman's Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili  What were your impressions? Leave a comment below.

Still don't have the book? What are you waiting for? These recipes are amazing.

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Bummed that you don't have the book but now you're in the mood for some Vegan chili? Try one of these recipes:

Easy Vegan Chili and Pumpkin Spiced Cornbread

HGK's Superbowl Sunday Chili and Kale Stuffed Cornbread

Chef Aj's Red Lentil Chili

Debby's (Happy Healthy Long Life) All-American Chili

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