Vegan Butternut Squash and Tofu Chili Recipe

This tasty Vegan Butternut Squash and Tofu Chili is a perfect mix of hearty and healthy. The combination of tofu and butternut squash gives it a unique flavor that is sure to please. The added beans and corn provide a good source of protein and fiber, which makes this dish not just flavorful, but also balanced and nourishing.

Vegan Butternut Squash and Tofu Chili Recipe
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Most of the ingredients in this recipe are easily found in standard grocery stores. However, you might need to look for cannellini beans and serrano peppers in the canned foods and produce sections respectively. Besides, firm tofu is usually found in the refrigerated section near the produce. Butternut squash is a type of winter squash that might be unfamiliar to some; it has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin.

Butternut Squash and Tofu Chili Ingredients

Olive oil: Used to sauté the vegetables and tofu. It adds a rich flavor to the chili.

Green bell pepper: Adds a fresh, slightly sweet flavor.

Onion: Gives the chili a savory depth.

Garlic: Adds a robust flavor to the chili.

Tofu: Adds texture and protein to the dish.

Butternut squash: Adds a sweet, nutty flavor and hearty texture.

Kidney beans: Adds fiber and protein.

Cannellini beans: Adds a creamy texture and additional protein.

Corn: Adds sweetness and crunch to the chili.

Vegetable broth: Used as the liquid base of the chili.

Tomato paste: Adds thickness and a rich tomato flavor.

Serrano peppers: Adds heat to the chili.

Allspice: Gives a slightly sweet and peppery flavor.

Cumin: Adds a warm, earthy flavor.

Cayenne pepper: Adds a spicy kick to the chili.

Garlic salt: Enhances the overall flavor of the chili.

Hot sauce: Adds heat and tanginess to the chili.

Salt: Enhances all the other flavors in the chili.

One reader, Bjorn Cassidy says:

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This vegan butternut squash and tofu chili recipe is a game-changer! The combination of flavors is incredible, and the texture is so satisfying. It's a hearty and nutritious dish that's perfect for chilly nights. I love how versatile and filling it is. Definitely a new favorite in my recipe collection!

Bjorn Cassidy

Cooking Techniques for Vegan Butternut Squash and Tofu Chili Recipe

How to prepare the tofu: Crumble the tofu and cook it in a large pot until it is firm and crumbly.

How to prepare the butternut squash: Peel, seed, and dice the butternut squash before adding it to the pot with the other ingredients.

How to adjust the consistency: Add extra broth or water as needed to just cover the vegetable mixture to achieve the desired consistency.

How to simmer the chili: Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender.

How To Make Vegan Butternut Squash and Tofu Chili

Enjoy a bowl of spicy chili even without meat with this tofu chili recipe. This hearty dish is filled with squash, beans, corn, and various herbs.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes



  • 2tbspolive oil
  • 1green bell pepper,chopped
  • 1onion,chopped
  • 3clovesgarlic,minced
  • 16ozfirm tofu,drained
  • 1butternut squash,peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 15ozkidney beans,rinsed and drained
  • 15ozcannellini beans,drained and rinsed
  • 1cancorn,drained
  • 1cupvegetable broth,or more as needed
  • 8oztomato paste
  • 2serrano peppers,seeded and finely chopped
  • 1tbspground allspice
  • 1tbspground cumin
  • 1tbspcayenne pepper
  • 1tspgarlic salt
  • 2tbsphot sauce,or more to taste
  • salt,to taste


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add green bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes until onion is translucent. Add tofu; break up and stir for about 10 minutes until crumbly and firm.

  2. Combine butternut squash, kidney beans, cannellini beans, corn, broth, tomato paste, and serrano peppers in the pot with the tofu mixture. Add allspice, cumin, cayenne pepper, and garlic salt.

  3. Add extra broth or water as needed to just cover the vegetable mixture. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender. Add hot sauce and salt.


  • Calories: 556.32kcal
  • Fat: 10.20g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.52g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 3.85g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.89g
  • Carbohydrates: 87.24g
  • Fiber: 26.71g
  • Sugar: 9.01g
  • Protein: 37.10g
  • Sodium: 815.94mg
  • Calcium: 653.99mg
  • Potassium: 2484.00mg
  • Iron: 13.56mg
  • Vitamin A: 373.64µg
  • Vitamin C: 39.85mg

Crucial Technique for Perfecting Vegan Butternut Squash and Tofu Chili

When preparing the butternut squash for this vegan butternut squash and tofu chili recipe, it's important to peel and cut the squash into small, even pieces. This ensures that the squash cooks evenly and becomes tender within the cooking time. Additionally, when breaking up the tofu, try to create crumbles that are similar in size to the beans. This will give the chili a more consistent texture and ensure every bite is packed with flavor.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing Vegan Chili

Prep ahead: Chop and prepare all the vegetables and tofu in advance to save time during the cooking process.

Use canned beans: Opt for canned beans instead of dried ones to skip the soaking and boiling process, saving time and effort.

One-pot wonder: Consider using a slow cooker or instant pot to simplify the cooking process and minimize hands-on time.

Frozen squash: Utilize pre-cut frozen butternut squash to eliminate the time-consuming task of peeling and dicing a whole squash.

Double batch: Make a larger quantity and freeze the extra portions for quick and convenient meals in the future.

Substitute Ingredients For Vegan Butternut Squash and Tofu Chili Recipe

  • olive oil - Substitute with avocado oil: Avocado oil has a similar smoke point and mild flavor, making it a suitable replacement for olive oil in this recipe.

  • firm tofu - Substitute with tempeh: Tempeh has a firmer texture and a nuttier flavor, which can work well as a substitute for tofu in this chili recipe.

  • vegetable broth - Substitute with mushroom broth: Mushroom broth adds a rich umami flavor that can enhance the depth of the chili, similar to vegetable broth.

  • tomato paste - Substitute with roasted red pepper paste: Roasted red pepper paste can provide a similar thickness and depth of flavor to the chili as tomato paste.

  • serrano peppers - Substitute with jalapeño peppers: Jalapeño peppers offer a similar level of heat and flavor profile to serrano peppers in the chili recipe.

  • cayenne pepper - Substitute with smoked paprika: Smoked paprika can add a mild heat and smoky flavor, complementing the other ingredients in the chili.

  • garlic salt - Substitute with garlic powder and salt: Mixing garlic powder and salt can replicate the flavor of garlic salt without the added moisture.

Presentation Ideas for Vegan Butternut Squash and Tofu Chili

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the vegan butternut squash and tofu chili, focus on creating an elegant and visually appealing presentation. Use a wide-rimmed bowl to showcase the vibrant colors and textures of the dish.

  2. Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle the chili with freshly chopped cilantro or parsley to add a pop of color and a burst of fresh flavor. The vibrant green hues will contrast beautifully with the rich, warm tones of the chili.

  3. Incorporate texture: Consider adding a crunchy element to the presentation, such as a small handful of toasted pumpkin seeds or crushed tortilla chips. This will provide a delightful textural contrast to the tender squash and creamy tofu.

  4. Artful drizzle: Before serving, drizzle a swirl of coconut cream or a touch of vibrant, spicy chili oil over the top of the chili. This not only adds a touch of elegance but also enhances the overall flavor profile.

  5. Use complementary serveware: Select serveware that complements the colors of the dish, such as earthy-toned pottery or sleek, modern dishes. The right serveware can enhance the visual appeal of the dish.

  6. Attention to detail: Pay attention to the placement of each element in the dish. Ensure that the components are thoughtfully arranged to create a visually striking presentation that reflects the care and artistry put into the dish.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Vegan Chili

  • Chef's knife: A versatile tool for chopping, slicing, and dicing ingredients with precision.
  • Cutting board: Provides a stable surface for cutting and preparing ingredients.
  • Large pot: Ideal for cooking the chili and accommodating all the ingredients.
  • Wooden spoon: Useful for stirring and mixing the chili while it simmers.
  • Can opener: Necessary for opening the cans of beans and corn.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: Essential for accurately measuring out the ingredients.
  • Vegetable peeler: Needed for peeling and preparing the butternut squash.
  • Garlic press: Useful for quickly and efficiently mincing the garlic cloves.
  • Skillet: Used for cooking the tofu and vegetables before adding them to the chili.

Storage and Freezing Instructions for Vegan Chili

  • Allow the chili to cool completely before storing or freezing.
  • For short-term storage, transfer the cooled chili to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • To freeze the chili:
    • Divide the cooled chili into portion-sized freezer-safe containers or resealable bags, leaving some space at the top for expansion during freezing.
    • Label the containers or bags with the date and contents.
    • Place the containers or bags in the freezer, laying them flat for even freezing and to save space.
    • Frozen vegan butternut squash and tofu chili can be stored for up to 3 months.
  • To reheat the chili:
    • If frozen, thaw the chili overnight in the refrigerator.
    • Transfer the thawed or refrigerated chili to a pot and heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
    • If the chili appears too thick, add a small amount of vegetable broth or water to achieve the desired consistency.
    • Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed before serving.

How to Reheat Leftover Vegan Butternut Squash and Tofu Chili

  • Stovetop method: transfer the leftover chili to a pot and reheat it over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until it's heated through. This method allows you to control the temperature and prevent the tofu from breaking apart too much. Add a splash of vegetable broth or water if the chili seems too thick.

  • Microwave method: place the desired portion of chili in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the chili is heated through. This is a quick and convenient method, but be careful not to overheat the chili, as it may cause the tofu to become rubbery.

  • Oven method: preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Transfer the leftover chili to an oven-safe dish and cover it with foil. Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the chili is heated through. This method is ideal if you're reheating a large portion of chili and want to ensure even heating throughout.

  • Slow cooker method: transfer the leftover chili to a slow cooker and heat it on low for 1-2 hours, or until it's heated through. This method is perfect if you want to reheat the chili while you're busy with other tasks. It also allows the flavors to meld together even more, resulting in a richer taste.

  • Regardless of the method you choose, be sure to stir the chili occasionally to ensure even heating and prevent scorching. Taste the chili before serving and adjust the seasoning if needed, as flavors may have mellowed during storage. If the chili seems too thick, add a small amount of vegetable broth or water to achieve the desired consistency.

Interesting Trivia About Vegan Butternut Squash and Tofu Chili

Butternut squash is a great source of fiber, potassium, and several other key nutrients. It's also rich in antioxidants and can help support healthy digestion.

Is Making Vegan Chili at Home Cost-Effective?

This vegan butternut squash and tofu chili recipe is highly cost-effective for a household. The combination of butternut squash, tofu, and beans makes it a budget-friendly option. The use of affordable ingredients like canned beans and vegetable broth keeps the cost low. The total cost for a household of 4 people is approximately $15. This hearty and nutritious dish is packed with protein and fiber, making it a satisfying and economical choice. Overall Verdict: 9.

Is This Vegan Chili Recipe Healthy?

This vegan butternut squash and tofu chili recipe is a nutritious and well-balanced meal. It contains a variety of healthy ingredients, such as:

  • Tofu, which is an excellent source of plant-based protein
  • Butternut squash, providing complex carbohydrates, fiber, and vitamins A and C
  • Kidney and cannellini beans, offering additional protein and fiber
  • Vegetables like bell pepper, onion, and garlic, which contribute vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants

The use of olive oil and vegetable broth keeps the dish low in saturated fat, while the absence of meat makes it cholesterol-free. The spices and hot sauce add flavor without relying on excessive salt or unhealthy additives.

To further enhance the nutritional value of this chili, consider the following suggestions:

  • Increase the variety of vegetables by adding diced carrots, celery, or leafy greens like spinach or kale
  • Use low-sodium vegetable broth and beans to reduce the overall sodium content
  • Opt for whole grain cornbread or brown rice as a side dish to increase the fiber intake
  • Garnish with fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley to add extra flavor and nutrients
  • Serve with a side salad or steamed vegetables to make it an even more well-rounded meal

Editor's Opinion on This Vegan Butternut Squash and Tofu Chili Recipe

This vegan butternut squash and tofu chili recipe is a delightful blend of flavors and textures. The combination of butternut squash, tofu, and a variety of beans creates a hearty and satisfying dish. The use of allspice, cumin, and cayenne pepper adds a depth of warmth and spice, while the addition of hot sauce provides a nice kick. The dish is well-balanced and offers a wonderful array of nutrients. It's a perfect choice for a cozy, flavorful meal that will please both vegans and non-vegans alike.

Enhance Your Vegan Butternut Squash and Tofu Chili Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Roasted Asparagus: Toss asparagus with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Roast until tender and slightly crispy.
Quinoa and Black Bean Salad: Mix cooked quinoa with black beans, diced tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, and a lime vinaigrette.
Sweet Potato Fries: Cut sweet potatoes into fries, toss with olive oil and seasonings, then bake until crispy and golden brown.

Similar Vegan Chili Recipes to Try

Spicy Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos: These tacos are a delicious and filling option for a meatless meal. The combination of black beans and sweet potatoes creates a hearty and flavorful filling that is perfect for taco night.
Mango Avocado Salsa: This refreshing salsa is the perfect accompaniment to any Mexican-inspired meal. The combination of sweet mango and creamy avocado creates a delicious and vibrant salsa that is sure to be a hit at any gathering.
Coconut Curry Lentil Soup: This creamy and flavorful soup is a comforting option for a cozy night in. The combination of lentils and coconut milk creates a rich and satisfying soup that is perfect for a chilly evening.

Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for Vegan Butternut Squash and Tofu Chili

Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a savory and indulgent appetizer by stuffing large mushrooms with a mixture of herbs, breadcrumbs, and vegan cheese. Bake until golden and crispy on the outside, and tender on the inside. Serve hot and watch them disappear in minutes!
Crispy Tofu Bites: Coat bite-sized tofu pieces in a seasoned cornstarch mixture and fry until golden and crispy. Serve with a tangy dipping sauce for a crowd-pleasing appetizer that will leave your guests wanting more.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder for an elegant and decadent dessert experience.
Berry Parfait: Layer juicy mixed berries with creamy coconut yogurt and crunchy granola for a refreshing and satisfying parfait that's perfect for a light and healthy dessert option.

Why trust this Vegan Butternut Squash and Tofu Chili Recipe:

This recipe offers a delightful fusion of flavors and textures, combining the wholesome goodness of butternut squash and tofu with the hearty richness of kidney beans and cannellini beans. The aromatic blend of allspice, cumin, and cayenne pepper infuses the dish with warmth and depth. The addition of serrano peppers and hot sauce provides a tantalizing kick, while the use of vegetable broth and tomato paste ensures a robust base. This recipe promises a satisfying and nourishing vegan chili experience that's both comforting and invigorating.

Want to share your own vegan chili recipes or discuss this hearty Vegan Butternut Squash and Tofu Chili? Head over to the Recipe Sharing forum and join the conversation!
Can I use a different type of squash for this recipe?
Yes, you can substitute butternut squash with other types of squash such as acorn squash or kabocha squash. Just be mindful that different squashes may have varying cooking times and textures.
Is there a substitute for tofu in this recipe?
Absolutely! If you're not a fan of tofu, you can use cooked lentils, tempeh, or even textured vegetable protein (TVP) as a substitute. Each option will bring its own unique texture and flavor to the chili.
How can I adjust the spiciness of the chili?
To adjust the spiciness, simply reduce or increase the amount of cayenne pepper, serrano peppers, or hot sauce according to your preference. You can also remove the seeds and membranes from the serrano peppers to lessen the heat.
Can I make this chili ahead of time?
Yes, this chili actually tastes even better the next day as the flavors have more time to meld together. You can make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Just reheat it gently on the stovetop when you're ready to enjoy.
Can I freeze the leftovers?
Absolutely! This chili freezes beautifully. Once it has cooled completely, transfer it to airtight containers or freezer bags, leaving some room for expansion, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

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