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One-Pot Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Chili

One-Pot Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Chili

After a week of less-than-perfect diet, I wanted something that was hearty and filling, but without the heaviness of meat. It was time for some vegan chili.

Chili is one of those dishes that means different things to different people. Some have strict rules around whether or not beans are included and what can and can’t go in or on a chili. The spice level can also vary considerably. No matter how you make it chili is downright delicious.

The chili is chunky and the flavours are wonderful. There is a little heat from the spices, but it’s easy to ramp according to your preferences. Scott always puts hot sauce on everything (just like how I put cheese on everything). Of course, he hasn’t quite learned how to pour slowly and his face was red in no time.

Lentil and butternut squash chili in a bowl; chili in a large pot.

When picking out the vegetables for this vegan chili, I had an unexplained desire to experiment with red lentils. Maybe it was because we don’t eat a lot of lentils in our house, but I felt they would be right at home in this dish.

I’m glad I followed my instinct on this one because the lentils really fill out the bowl, making it nice and chunky. Plus, red lentils are full of fibre, iron, and protein. Together with the black beans, this recipe has no shortage of fibre.

Butternut squash brings that sweet and nutty flavour to balance out the acidity of the tomato while also adding bulk to the chili. It brings it’s own health benefits as well, being a good source of fibre, potassium, and vitamins C, A, and E.

Butternut squash, black beans, red lentils, jalapeno, bell pepper, spices, crushed tomatoes, garlic, onions, and vegetable broth.

All the ingredients gathered together. Exact amounts listed below in the “ingredients” list.

Chopped vegetables, vegetable broth,with bowls of black bean, lentils, crushed tomatoes, and spices.

All the vegetables are chopped and diced up and ready to be cooked up into a yummy meatless chili.

Sautéed peppers, onions, and garlic with spices in a metal pot.

The peppers and onions are sautéed with olive oil before the spices and garlic are stirred in. It smells so fragrant!

Red lentil and butternut squash chili in a large metal pot.

Then all the other ingredients are added, brought to a boil and then simmered for 25-30 minutes.

Overhead view of red lentil and butternut squash chili with green onions on top in a wooden bowl and in a pot.

When you add it all up, you get a healthy and hearty one-pot meal that you can make ahead of time and keep for days or freeze for months. Perfect for bring some warmth to those crisp autumn days and cold winter evenings.

Bowl up as much chili as you want and then top the chili with toppings of your choice. I added green onions and after the pictures were taken, I added some feta cheese too. What do you like to add?

One-Pot Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Chili

One-Pot Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Chili

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Flavourful, hearty, and ready in one hour! Try this delicious and healthy one-pot vegan chili featuring red lentils and butternut squash. Perfect for chilly days!


For the chili:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, de-seeded and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups dry red split lentils, rinsed
  • 1.5 lb. (24 oz.) butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 540 ml (19 fl. oz) canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2½ cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1½ cups vegetable broth

For the chili seasoning:

  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked (or sweet) paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional topping ideas:

  • green onions, cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, avocado, tortilla chips


  1. Using a large pot on medium-high heat, add olive oil and saute the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and the peppers begin to soften (about 3-4 minutes).
  2. Then stir in the garlic and chili seasoning, allowing the spices become to become fragrant (about 1-2 minutes).
  3. Add the red lentil, butternut squash, black beans, crushed tomatoes, and vegetable broth and stir until well-combined.
  4. Bring the chili to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and let it simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the butternut squash and lentils are tender and cooked through. Top with optional ingredients of your choice. Best served warm.


  • Makes about 12 cups of chili.
  • Store cooled leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Re-heat on the stove-top or microwave.
  • When keeping for longer than 4 days, place the leftovers in an airtight container or freezer bag (with air-pressed out) and store in the freezer for up to 4 months. Let the frozen chili thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating on the stove (add a shallow layer of water to prevent the chili from scorching the pot) or heat it up in the microwave.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 323Total Fat: 4gCarbohydrates: 55.4gProtein: 16.6g

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Let me know if you make it with a comment down below or through my social media.

Red lentil butternut squash chili in a wooden bowl with chili in a pot in the background.

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Annette Dubreuil

Saturday 16th of December 2017

I make a similar dish with sweet potatoes and kidney bean rather than butternut squash and black beans. Can just use tomato paste too, rather than crushed tomatoes. So good!

Marie | Yay! For Food

Monday 18th of December 2017

Sounds terrific! Thanks for stopping by, Annette!

heather (delicious not gorgeous)

Friday 22nd of September 2017

oof, i feel you. i just came back from a 2.5 day getaway, where we ate at 17 restaurants. (my friend told me i wasn't allowed to say how many restaurants we ate at because it's such an obscene number). so this sounds perfect! i love how chunky and thick and flavorful this sounds and looks (:

Marie | Yay! For Food

Friday 22nd of September 2017

17 restaurants is quite the feat! I don't know how you found the time or the room in your stomach for all the food! Sounds fun. Thanks for stopping by, Heather!

pam brand

Thursday 21st of September 2017

We are definitely chili lovers at our house and that one sounds great. The addition of the butternut squash sounds like the perfect way to welcome fall.

Marie | Yay! For Food

Friday 22nd of September 2017

Thanks Pam! The butternut squash adds a great flavour to this chili!

Maggie Unzueta

Thursday 21st of September 2017

We're on a meatless 5-day challenge at my house. I was going to make lentils tonight, but didn't know what I was going to do with them. Must check out this recipe.

Marie | Yay! For Food

Thursday 21st of September 2017

What a fun challenge! I hope this recipe makes it into your rotation.

Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens

Thursday 21st of September 2017

So true that some people have very strict notions about exactly what chili can be - but I'm definitely not one of them! In fact, I especially love unique chilis with creative flavor twists and ingredients, so this recipe is just perfect! It's really pretty, too - like autumn in a bowl! And loaded with great nutrition - absolute win, all around! So excited to pin this to share - thank you!

Marie | Yay! For Food

Thursday 21st of September 2017

Thank you so much Shelley!

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