This easy butternut squash chili recipe is made with squash, ground turkey, and veggies in a creamy broth that’s ready and on your table in 30 minutes!
I make a ton of chili, soups, and stews this time of year, including classic chili recipe and this white chicken chili recipe. Having lots of different recipe options means I can keep my family so happy with cold weather hits!
Table of contents
Hearty Fall Chili
This butternut squash chili is a delicious twist on a classic chili with the same warm and cozy vibes you’d expect during a chilly season. Or should I say chili season? We love them all….beef chili, turkey chili, or chicken chili. Variety is the spice of life after all!
This easy chili is so flavorful using simple wholesome ingredients. Chunks of tender-sweet butternut squash, ground turkey, loads of herbs, and spices for a robust flavor all simmered in a creamy broth. It is a hearty meal that comes together quickly!
Why we love this recipe
- So much flavor in this chili and a different way to use up your butternut squash.
- Versatile. It has a thinner creamy broth which can be enjoyed as chili, soup, or stew!
- Quick and easy, ready to enjoy in 30 minutes. Great for easy weeknight dinners!
- Cost-effective way to make a big pot of chili using humble ingredients.
- Kid-friendly. Your kids will love it just as much as you do, and it’s a delicious way to get all those added veggies in.
- Olive oil – For sautéing the veggies, which is the foundation of all of the wonderful flavors that get built on top.
- Veggies – Carrot, celery, onions, diced butternut squash, chopped fresh kale.
- Seasoning – Garlic and thyme.
- Beans – I like to use Great northern beans because they hold up nicely but are still soft and buttery when you bite them.
- Turkey – Lean ground turkey adds meat and protein to this veggie-loaded soup. Gives it the heartiness of traditional chili.
- Chicken broth & heavy cream – Using both chicken broth and heavy cream gives the base of a soup creamy rich consistency, but not overly thick.
How to Make this Recipe
This chili comes together so easily you’ll want to keep it in mind for potlucks and game day parties too!
Step 1: Brown the ground meat in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Drain into a colander to remove excess oil and set meat aside.
Step 2: In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, add olive oil and mirepoix (carrot, onion, and celery) and sauté over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes until the veggies soften.
Step 3: Add the garlic and thyme and sauté for another minute. Follow that with the butternut squash, beans, turkey, and chicken broth.
Step 4: Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low for a 15-minute simmer.
Step 5: Towards the end, add the cream and chopped kale and stir to combine. Simmer for an additional 4-5 minutes.
Step 6: Serve garnished with your favorite toppings.
I love diced avocados, cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips, a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt.
- Substitute bulk turkey sausage or ground beef instead of ground turkey. Either will give it a little more flavor, so you may find you need to adjust the seasoning.
- Substitute different types of beans of black beans, red kidney beans or pinto beans if preferred.
- Substitute fresh rosemary for the thyme, if desired. You could even use a combination of both.
- Use diced sweet potato as an alternative if you’d like. Similar texture and flavor profile.
- Make it a vegetarian chili by leaving out the meat, and a vegan chili by using a non-dairy milk and vegetable broth.
- Substitute spinach for the kale if desired. A slightly more bitter option, but just as nutrient-dense would be swiss chard or collard greens.
- Add chipotle peppers or red bell peppers if you’d like.
- Massage the kale first. It’s a fibrous leafy green that can be quite tough. Although it will wilt in the heat, it makes for an easier bite if it’s tenderized.
- For quicker prepping, use a store-bought mirepoix mixture of .
- Along the same lines you could use pre-diced butternut squash.
- For lower calories, use whole milk or other non-dairy milk of choice.
- Serve with a side of crusty bread and a simple salad when serving a hungrier crowd. Teenagers anyone?
Yes! Brown the meat first and drain excess oil. Then place it and all the other ingredients (except cream and kale) in a slow cooker and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5-6 hours. Then stir in cream and kale in and cook until kale has wilted.
This flexible soup recipe is great because you can work in another type of winter squash or root vegetable in place of the butternut squash. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, or acorn squash would be great.
When adding it to the chili, you want it to be peeled first. It’s inedible, unlike a potato skin, or like the skin of summer squash like zucchini. Carefully use a sharp knife, or vegetable peeler and peel the skin before dicing it.
This soup can stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4 days when stored in an airtight container.
If you’re reheating a large amount, simmer on the stovetop in a pot over medium heat until warmed through. Use the microwave for a single serving and enjoy it all over again!
Butternut Squash Chili
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large carrot diced
- 1 stalk celery diced
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon thyme minced
- 2 cups butternut squash diced
- 14 pounce great northern beans drained and rinsed
- 10 ounces ground turkey browned and crumbled
- 2 ½ cups chicken broth
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 cups fresh kale chopped and massaged
- Add the turkey meat to a saute pan and cook over medium high heat until cook completely and browned.
- Drain into a colander to drain any excess oil and set aside.
- In a dutch oven or stock pot, add the olive oil, carrot, onion, and celery.
- Saute over medium heat for approximately 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables become soft.
- Add the garlic and thyme and saute for an another minute.
- Add the butternut squash, beans, turkey meat, and chicken both.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the cream and chopped kale and stir to combine well.
- Simmer for an additional 4-5 minutes until the kale is wilted.
- Serve the topped with your favorite garnishes like avocado, cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, etc.