Vegetarian chili with butternut squash and wheat berries

I’m a little late to the party with February’s  Food Revolution Ambassador Monthly Challenges  but I’m here!  One of the tasks we were given this month was:

Embrace wonky veg! Jamie has been on a mission to cut food waste and get wonky veg back into our shopping basket. This month, we want you to embrace all leftover, wonky veg out there and try to reduce your food waste. Find out more here.

I’m not sure where in Toronto I can buy officially wonky veg but I do know that the fruits and veg that come in my Front Door Organics box every fortnight look real. You know, like fruits and veg used to look years ago before everything on display had to be perfect.  They’re gorgeous in their imperfection – it’s the best kind of mail day when the box is delivered!  In the winter, I always make sure there is some kind of squash in my box because it’s such a versatile vegetable but quite often, I end up with more than I can use…

Butternut squash on eatlivetravelwrite.comRecently, instead of just using my squash for soups (admittedly my favourite use of squash), I’ve been adding it to stews and chilis with great success.  It gives dishes like these some substance – adding both taste and making for a more substantial dish.  I’ve been a fan of sweet potatoes in chili for a while now (Jamie has an awesome recipe too!) and butternut squash works a treat too! I’ve added some wheat berries for some extra chew – this is a very substantial meal (passes the “playground duty” test (aka: does it keep me warm when it’s -40ËšC out!?) with flying colours!

Vegetarian chilli with wheatberries and pumpkin seeds on

Yield: 6

Vegetarian chili with butternut squash and wheat berries

Vegetarian chilli on

Vegetarian chili with roasted butterbut squash and wheatberries.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 450g (1lb) butternut squash
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 (540 ml) can red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 (540 ml) can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 (796 ml) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup cooked wheat berries
  • pepitas (pumpkin seeds), to serve
  • fresh cilantro, to serve
  • sour cream, to serve


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375˚F.
  2. Peel the squash and cut it into small cubes and place in a bowl.
  3. Coat the squash in olive oil, cumin and red pepper flakes and spread evenly on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  4. Roast for about 40 minutes – the cubes will still be a little firm.
  5. Remove from the oven and drain on a paper towel until you are ready to use them in the chill.
  6. Meanwhile heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  7. Satué the onion and garlic for a few minutes until they begin to soften, but not colour.
  8. Add the cumin, coriander and red pepper flakes and sauté until fragrant.
  9. Add the beans and tomatoes and stir to combine.
  10. Decrease the heat, cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  11. Remove the lid and add the butternut squash.
  12. Cook for another 10 minutes.
  13. Add the cooked wheat berries and stir to warm them through.
  14. Serve topped with sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro and pepitas.

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The squash is a beautiful bright addition to a chili which is especially welcome in the dark days of the #neverendingwinter too!

Vegetarian chilli with wheatberries and pepitas on eatlivetravelwrite.comSo there you go, next time you have a glut of squash, don’t just think “soup”  – the possibilities are endless. Roasting the various squash that come my way is a great way to cut back on food waste, make our meals go further and add some brightness to our winter days.

Vegetarian chilli on eatlivetravelwrite.comI think Jamie would approve, don’t you?

8 thoughts on “Vegetarian chili with butternut squash and wheat berries”

  1. Needless to say, I’m a fan. And once again, it’s all about the garnish. I didn’t get to my veggie chilli this weekend so tonight it’s on. You can bet there will be pepitas!

  2. This was really nice, hearty, and flavourful. For a carnivore such as Mr. Neil to not miss the meat, is high compliment indeed. 🙂

    And indeed Geoff, paired this with a heart red. We went with a Syrah from the south of France…but not the Rhone. I went west, to Languedoc. The earthy (in this case) and peppery notes were a wonderful match, and it was bold enough to match the flavours…even with a bit of added heat.


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