Anti-Inflammatory Vegan Chili

A satisfying, stick-to-your-ribs, anti-inflammatory vegan chili. Made from wholesome ingredients, this chili is not only vegan but gluten-free and has a simple oil-free option as well. Perfect for families, meal prepping, or those looking for simple Veganuary recipes.

Anti-inflammatory vegan chili on a spoon with a bowl of chili and piece of bread in the background.

I had some requests back in December from two of my followers regarding recipes they would like to see on the blog. One asked for chili and the other for anti-inflammatory meals. So I decided to challenge myself my combining the two. What I came up with was a hearty, satisfying, wholesome meal that is a crowd pleaser for everyone in the family. It makes a ton of chili so it’s perfect for meal prepping. Plus, it’s simple so it’s perfect for those of you trying out Veganuary. Nothing like a simple, warm-you-to-the-bone meal on a cold winter evening.

Why you’ll love it

Here are just a few of the reasons why you are going to love this anti-inflammatory vegan chili.

  • Simple. All you need is one pot, 10 ingredients and 30 minutes to make this meal.
  • Wholesome. Made from whole foods. No crazy, brand-name ingredients required.
  • Filling. Everyone wants a satisfying meal.
  • Comforting. Chili is one of the ultimate comfort foods.
  • Fresh. The addition of rosemary keeps this dish from feeling stale and bland.
Close up of anti-inflammatory vegan chili- quinoa, butternut squash, and kale.

Making the Walnut Ginger Crumble

To make the walnut ginger crumble, heat a small pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add walnuts and lower the heat to medium. Toss the walnuts and watch closely to prevent burning. You’ll know the walnuts are done when they are fragrant but not burned. This should only take 3 or 4 minutes.

Place the walnuts in the bowl of a food processor. In the same pan, sauté the grated (or finely minced) ginger over medium low heat until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the ginger from the heat and add to the walnuts in the food processor bowl. Pulse until the walnuts are coarsely chopped.

Making the Chili

In the same large skillet, heat your avocado oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and toss in the sliced leeks and minced garlic. Allow them to sauté and soften a bit by cooking for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and burning. Add the cubed butternut squash, cooking for 5-8 minutes or until golden brown. Once golden, add the vegetable broth and minced fresh rosemary. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes or until the squash is tender. Once the squash is cooked, add torn kale and stir to combine. Turn the heat off and allow the kale to wilt inside the chili. Finally, add the cooked and cooled quinoa. Stir to combine and served topped with walnut ginger crumble.

I hope that you enjoy this simple, wholesome meal throughout the remainder of the winter season. Be sure to keep it in mind once fall squash season rolls around again as well. And don’t forget to let me know what you think of this simple vegan meal down in the comments.

Enjoy friends!

Anti-inflammatory vegan chili in a cast iron skillet next to a piece of bread and a sprig of rosemary.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Garlic- phytochemicals

Ginger- antioxidants

Quinoa- complete protein; rich in iron, potassium, riboflavin, B6, niacin, and thiamine; good source of magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese; anti-cancer & anti-inflammatory properties

Walnuts- Omega 3s, thaimine, B6, folic acid, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, Vitamin E, polyphenols

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Anti-Inflammatory Vegan Chili

A satisfying, stick-to-your-ribs, anti-inflammatory vegan chili made from wholesome ingredients. Perfect for meal prepping and is a simple Veganuary recipe.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegan
Keyword: anti-inflammatory, butternut squash, chili, easy, ginger, healthy, inflammation, kale, leeks, quick, quinoa, rosemary, simple, squash, vegan, vegan chili, walnuts, wholesome
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

Chili

  • 2 tsp avocado oil, divided
  • 2 leeks, sliced, white only
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large butternut squash, peel and diced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 4 cups kale, chopped
  • cups quinoa, cookied and cooled

Walnut Ginger Crumble

  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and grated or finely minced

Instructions

Walnut Ginger Crumble

  • In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp avocado oil. Once hot add walnuts and ginger, lower heat to medium. Stir walnuts and ginger cooking for 3-4 minutes until fragrent. Watch closely to prevent burning. Remove for pan and set aside.

Anti-Inflammatory Chili

  • In the same skillet, heat remaining 1 tsp avocado oil over medium high heat. Add sliced leeks and minced garlic cooking for 3-4 minutes until tender.
  • Add cubed butternut squash and cook 5-8 minutes until browned.
  • Pour in vegetable broth and add minced rosemary. Bring to a simmer then lower to medium. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the squash is tender. Add more broth if needed to keep the squash just covered.
  • Once squash is cooked, add chopped kale and simmer for additional 2-3 minutes until wilted. Turn off heat and add cooked and cooled quinoa. Stir to combine. Serve hot sprinkled with walnut ginger crumble.
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Quinoa & Chestnut Dressing Stuffed Squash

A quinoa and chestnut dressing stuffed into roasted butternut and kabocha squash. This hearty Thanksgiving entree is a great vegan alternative to turkey that even your non-vegan friends and family will love. All you need are 10 simple ingredients and 60 minutes to get this main dish from the cutting board to your serving platter.

Quinoa and chestnut dressing stuffed kabocha squash on a plate with roasted squash seeds in the background.

Does it seem odd to anyone else that this is my very first recipe using quinoa? I mean, considering this is Cashews & Quinoa…oh well…better late than never. Anyway, I’m actually glad that this is my first quinoa recipe! This meal is outrageously simple, incredibly flavorful, and oh so satisfying. That is, after all, what we want from our main course on Thanksgiving.

Butternut and Kabocha Squash

Roasted kabocha and butternut squash on a baking sheet.

To prepare the butternut and kabocha squash, preheat your oven to 400*F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Slice the kabocha squash around the middle and remove the seeds from both. Save the squash seeds for later use in this recipe.

Optional: brush or spray the cut-side of the squash with olive oil. I skipped this step and I didn’t miss the oil at all. There are so many other flavors going on that it’s no necessary. Do make sure, however, that you sprinkle the cut-side of the squash with dried sage, salt and pepper to taste. You can also add some coconut sugar as well, but I find that this squash gets a lightly sweet flavor from roasting so it’s not really necessary. Also, the kabocha squash has a slightly sweet taste on it’s own. So if you skip the coconut sugar you’ll still have a delicious piece of squash.

However you decide to season it, place the squash cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 40-60 minutes depending on the size of the squash. The squash is finished when it is soft and caramelized. Flip the squash over and allow to rest and cool slightly.

Quinoa and Chestnut Filling

Quinoa and chestnut dressing inside a cast iron skillet.

While the squash is roasting, prepare the quinoa and chestnut filling. If you haven’t already done so, rinse, drain, and cook your quinoa. Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil or vegan butter. Cook finely diced onion and celery over medium-high heat until the onion is translucent and soft. About 3-4 minutes. At this point your celery will have a bit of a crunch still. I enjoy the texture of celery this way, however, if you want softer celery just sauté it longer. About 6-7 minutes total.

Once your onions and celery are cooked, add the seasoning: sage, truffle salt, and pepper. Don’t worry, if you don’t have truffle salt, regular salt or sea salt is a fine substitute. Also add to the pan the cooked and cooled quinoa as well as the roasted and peeled chestnuts.

Once the dressing is heated through it’s time to stuff the squash. The kabocha squash is already going to have a good sized hole left from scooping out the seeds. Depending on the size of your butternut squash, you might need to remove some of the flesh to make more room for the quinoa and chestnut dressing. Any butternut or kabocha squash that you remove can be cubed and added to the dressing or removed and used in another recipe.

Top off the squash with roasted squash seeds, dried cranberries, pomegranate arils, pecans, walnuts or any other festive and seasonal items that you might have on hand.

As always, I hope that you love this simple vegan quinoa and chestnut dressing stuffed squash as much as I do. Be sure to let me know what you think of this Thanksgiving meal down in the comments below.

Enjoy friends!

Quinoa and chestnut dressing inside a roasted butternut squash with more stuffed squash in the background.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Celery- vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium

Quinoa- complete protein; rich in iron, potassium, riboflavin, B6, niacin, and thiamine; good source of magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese; anti-cancer & anti-inflammatory properties

Olive oil- monounsaturated fats

Onion- antioxidants; fiber; vitamin C; folate

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Quinoa and Chestnut Stuffed Squash

A quinoa and chestnut dressing stuffed into roasted squash. This hearty Thanksgiving entree is a great vegan alternative to turkey. All you need are 10 simple ingredients and 60 minutes to get this main dish from the cutting board to your serving platter.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Roasting Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Holiday, Vegan
Keyword: 10-ingredients, butternut squash, chestnuts, easy, holiday recipes, holiday sides, kabocha, kabocha squash, sage, simple, squash, squash seeds, Thanksgiving recipe, Thanksgiving side, truffle salt
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • 1 small-medum butternut squash, cut lengthwise and de-seeded
  • 1 large kabocha squash, halfed and de-seeded
  • 1-2 tsp coconut sugar optional for butternut squash
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or vegan butter use water if oil-free
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 stalks celery, finely diced
  • ½ tsp sage, plus more for sprinkling on squash
  • truffle salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 6.5 oz chestnuts, cooked and peeled
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • roasted squash seeds, for topping

Instructions

Roasted Squash

  • Preheat oven to 400°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Sprinkle cut-side of squash with dried sage, salt, and pepper to taste (optional: spray squash with olive oil and top with 1-2 tsp of coconut sugar for sweetness). Place cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 40-60 minutes depending on size of the squash. When fork tender, remove from the oven and allow to cool. While squash is cooking prepare the quinoa and chestnut dressing.

Quinoa and Chestnut Dressing

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil (or water if oil-free) or vegan butter. Once hot, add diced onion and celery. Cook for 3-4 minutes until soft.
  • To the onion and celery, add sage, truffle salt, pepper, chestnuts, and cooked quinoa. Cook just long enough to warm up the quinoa and chestnuts. Once warmed fill squash with dressing. Top with roasted squash seeds.

Notes

*Total preparation time does not include time to cook quinoa.
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Butternut Squash and Sage Pasta

A cozy bowl of butternut squash and fried sage pasta is just what you need on a crisp autumn evening. This dish can be ready in 30 minutes and only requires 10 simple, wholesome ingredients. As an added bonus, this pasta sauce is easily turned into a soup. Grab a fork (or a spoon) and dig in.

Fried sage and butternut squash pasta topped with cranberries and walnuts on a grey plate with another plate of pasta in the background.

Can we all just take a second to appreciate pasta? What about another second to appreciate the sauces that we serve them with? Ok. Now that we’ve taken care of that…you can start appreciating this amazing homage to autumn. My incredibly flavorful, insanely easy butternut squash and sage pasta. Oh, and did I mention this squash pasta sauce can double as a soup? Yeah. Two dinner options in one. You’re welcome.

Fried Sage

This is the real secret, behind the scenes, star of the show. Fried, fresh sage is one of the most amazing little additions you could make to any squash dish. It’s so easy and it adds such a subtle sweetness to this sauce. So how exactly do we do this?

Add enough olive oil to thinly coat the bottom of a small pan. Heat the oil over high heat to get it extremely hot. Test the oil by adding a small piece of torn sage leaf to the oil. If the leaf sizzles the temperature is perfect. If it doesn’t continue testing every 30 seconds or so until it’s hot enough.

Once the oil is hot enough, add the sage leaves to the oil and allow to cook about 2-3 minutes per side until crispy and fragrant. Watch the sage closely, making sure that it doesn’t burn. Remove the leaves from the oil and place on a towel to absorb the excess oil. Set the leaves aside until later and begin working on the sauce.

Fried sage and butternut squash pasta topped with cranberries and walnuts on a grey plate with fried sage on the side.

Butternut Squash Sauce

Now that the sage portion of the dish is ready, it’s time to start the sauce (or soup). To the heated oil that you used to fry the sage, add the diced onion and sauté until translucent. Add the butternut squash, herbs, and garlic. Cook on medium-high heat for 5 minutes stirring to prevent burning but allowing the butternut squash to get a bit of a char. Add the vegetable broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the butternut squash is tender.

Allow the squash to cool a bit before adding to a high speed blender. Puree the squash with some plant-based milk and vegan parmesan cheese until smooth. At this point your pasta sauce is ready to go! Cook your favorite pasta according to package directions and toss the al dente pasta with this sauce. Top with the crumbled fried sage, dried cranberries, and chopped walnuts.

Butternut Squash Soup

If you want to turn this sauce into a soup that’s totally doable and incredibly easy. When you’re blending the sauce simply add more vegetable broth to the blender and continue to blend until the sauce turns into your desired soup consistency. Top the soup with crumbled fried sage, dried cranberries, and chopped walnuts. If you really want to go over the top, serve this soup in a sour dough bread bowl. Totally drool-worthy.

I hope that you will try this recipe and that you love it as much as I do. Let me know what you think of this dish and if you prepare it as a pasta sauce or a soup.

Enjoy friends.

Fried sage and butternut squash pasta topped with cranberries and walnuts on a grey plate with fried sage leaves on the side.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Garlic-phytochemicals

Onion-antioxidants; fiber; vitamin C; folate

Rosemary-polyphenolic compounds

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Fried Sage and Butternut Squash Pasta

A cozy bowl of butternut squash and fried sage pasta is just what you need on a crisp autumn evening. This dish can be ready in 30 minutes and only requires 10 simple, wholesome ingredients.
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: 10-ingredients, butternut squash, dried cranberries, entree, fried sage, pasta, sage, vegan, vegan entree, vegan parmesan, vegan soup, walnuts
Servings: 6 people
Author: Erin

Equipment

  • Blender

Ingredients

  • 10-15 sage leaves
  • ½ cup yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 butternut squash, cubed about 8 cups
  • ¼ tsp dried sage
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 2-3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup plant-based milk
  • ¼ cup vegan parmesan cheese

Additional Toppings

  • dried cranberries
  • chopped walnuts

Instructions

  • To a large pan, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of oil. heat over high heat. Once hot, lower to medium-high and fry the fresh sage leaves. Fry for 2-3 minutes flipping half way watching closely to prevent burning. Remove sage from the oil and place on paper towels to remove excess oil. Reserve sage leaves for later.
  • In the sage olive oil, saute onions until translucent. Add garlic, butternut squash, sage, thyme, and nutmeg. Cook for 5-10 minutes until crispy.
  • Add 2 cups of vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until vegetable broth has cooked off and the butternut squash is tender. Continue to add vegetable broth as needed in order to cook and soften squash.
  • Allow to cool slightly and blend in a high-speed blender with plant-based milk & vegan parmesan cheese*.
  • Serve over your favorite al dente pasta and top with crumbled fried sage, dried cranberries, chopped walnuts and more vegan parmesan cheese**.

Notes

*If making a soup instead of a sauce, add more vegetable broth 1 cup at a time to thin the mixture to your preferred soup consistency.
**This is my absolute favorite vegan parmesan cheese recipe.
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Roasted Apple and Butternut Squash

with caramelized onions

This roasted apple and butternut squash side is vegan, gluten-free, and has an oil-free option. Topped with caramelized onions, it’s a sweet and creamy dish that’s a perfect make-ahead side for the holidays. It requires fewer than 10 ingredients and less than 15 minutes of prep. All the best of autumn in a comforting side.

Roasted apple and butternut squash with caramelized onions on a wooden platter with plate, rosemary, and butternut squash in the background.

With the holiday season quickly approaching I have begun planning my Thanksgiving menu. Anyone else? Ok, I guess that perhaps it is a tad early. But just in case you’re a planner like I am here is a recipe that I would highly recommend considering as a side for the big day. It’s simple. It’s quick. And it can be prepared ahead of time. Oh, and it’s totally delicious. What more could you want out of a holiday side dish?

Roasted apple and butternut squash

Preparing a butternut squash for roasting can be intimidating if you’ve never skinned one before. But let me reassure you, that it actually is quite simple. First, using a fork, poke holes all over your squash. And I mean ALL OVER IT. I usually jab mine about 30 times. Next place it in your microwave for 3-5 minutes depending on the strength (wattage) of your microwave. Turn it over and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. It should be soft but not mushy or burned. Allow it to cool completely before handling. Finally, using a knife, or better yet a potato peeler, remove the skin from your squash. Cut it in half, remove the seeds, and cut into bit-sized cubes.

As for the apple…I recommend using a hearty apple for this recipe. I used a Fuji apple because they’re sturdy and sweet. A Sweet Tango would probably work too. If you would prefer a tart apple you could use a Honeycrisp or a Granny Smith. Once you’ve chosen your perfect apple, simply core, peel, and cut into bit-sized pieces. Make sure that both the apples and butternut squash pieces are similar in size so that they cook evenly.

Spray the apple and butternut squash with avocado oil and top with spices and herbs. Toss to coat and spread evenly on a prepared rimmed baking sheet. Bake them for roughly 30 minutes until they are fragrant, soft, and slightly browned around the edges. Perfection!

Roasted apple and butternut squash with caramelized onions on a wooden platter with plate, rosemary, and butternut squash in the background.
Caramelized onions

While the apples and butternut squash are roasting, prepare the caramelized onions. Begin my dicing or thinly slicing the yellow onions. You can even slice some while dicing the others just to add more visual interest and texture to your dish.

Heat a large skillet over high heat and add 1 tbsp of avocado oil. Once the oil is hot add the onions and reduce heat to medium-high. Now, the trick to perfectly caramelizing onions is TIME. You have to be patient. But trust me, your patience will pay off.

The onions will go from white, to clear, to brown, to caramelized. As they cook you will need to add water to the pan, a little at a time. Do not add more water to the pan until all the other liquid has cooked off.

Stir the onions occasionally. This gives them time to brown on the pan.

Resist the urge to pull the onions off the heat early. They are not done when they’re brown. They’re done when they are a deep, dark brown, caramelized color. You will know they’re done when they smell sweet.

Roasted apple and butternut squash with caramelized onions on a wooden platter with plate surrounded by rosemary and a blue napkin.

Suggested Pairings

This side would be excellent served with a vegan meat alternative such as “ham” or “turkey”. To fancy up this side even more top it with toasted walnuts for added crunch, pomegranate arils for tartness, or drizzle with a cashew cream sauce for creaminess.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Apple-vitamin C, soluble and insoluble fiber

Cinnamon- manganese, iron, calcium, and fiber

Onion-antioxidants; fiber; vitamin C; folate

Rosemary- polyphenolic compounds

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Roasted Apple and Butternut Squash

This roasted apple and butternut squash side is vegan, gluten-free, and has an oil-free option. Topped with caramelized onions, it's a sweet and creamy dish that's a perfect make-ahead side for the holidays. It requires fewer than 10 ingredients and less than 15 minutes of prep.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Vegan
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

Baked Apple and Butternut Squash

  • 4 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 apple, peeled, cubed I used fuji
  • avocado spray omit if oil-free
  • ½ tsp sage
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary, removed from stem

Caramalized Onions

  • 1 tbsp avocado oil sub water if oil-free
  • 4-5 medium yellow onions, diced or thinly sliced
  • ½ cup cold water*

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Evenly spread cubed apples and butternut squash and spray with avocado oil (omit if oil-free). Sprinkle with sage, cinnamin, and rosemary and evenly spread over baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring half way.
  • While apples and squash are baking, heat a large pan over high heat. Add avocado oil. When oil is hot, add diced or thinly sliced onions and stir to coat. Lower heat to medium-high and cook onions for about 40 minutes stirring occasionally*.
  • Assemble roasted apples and butternut squash on a plater and top with caramelized onions. Additionally, top wtih walnuts for crunch, pomegranate arils for tartness, or raisins for sweetness.

Notes

*Add cold water occasionally, 1 tbsp at a time, to onions to prevent sticking and to de-glaze the pan.  Allow water to completely cook off before adding more water.  Be patient with this process.  The onions will go from white, to clear, to brown, to caramelized.  
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