314-oz cansbeans ideally a mixturedrained and rinsed
1 28-ozcan diced tomatoes
5stalks celery finely diced
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Sliced green onions
Finely diced red onions
Crumbled cotija cheese
Cornbread for servingoptional
In a slow cooker (or a Dutch oven or other large pot), heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions, garlic, and squash and season with soy sauce. Cook until the onions, have wilted, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the cumin, oregano, paprika, and cayenne pepper and stir for 30 seconds to coat the squash and give the spices a chance to become fragrant.
Stir in the beans, diced tomatoes, vegetable stock, celery, sugar, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce. Increase the heat to high, bring to a boil, and then lower the heat to a simmer. The longer the chili cooks, the better it tastes (and I do believe it tastes better the next day). If using a slow cooker, transfer the chili to a slow cooker and let it bubble for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Otherwise, cover and cook for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. Regardless of cooking method, taste the chili often, adjusting the seasoning as necessary with salt and pepper.
Use an immersion blender to blend some (not all) of the chili for a thicker texture.
Serve with the toppings of your choice and a side of cornbread, if desired.
This recipe for Kabocha Squash Chili was first published in my cookbook, Meat to the Side: A Plant-Forward Guide to Bringing Balance to Your Plate (Victory Belt, 2021).CHILI TIPS
Rinse and drain the beans well before using to de-gas the beans. This helps prevent any uncomfortable bloat.
Since there is no meat in this chili, it cooks rather quickly, but like any good chili, time is its friend. You can certainly serve this 30 minutes into cooking, but giving it more time to simmer helps the flavors really come together.
Kabocha squash rind is edible, so to save time, feel free to leave the rind on.
Don't have an immersion blender? Blend about a cup of the chili in a blender or food processor, or simply use a potato masher or forks to mash.