One bite of this thick and rich No Bean Butternut Squash Chili will transport you to a cozy fall day. This chili could be put together in the morning and left to gently simmer all day in the slow cooker. This hearty and delicious chili is Whole30, Paleo, low-carb and gluten-free. You’ll find such comfort coming home after a long day to the aroma of this chili ready for you.
It is truly easy to make this no bean Whole30 chili in your slow cooker a Dutch oven (or a large sauce pan, if you don’t have a Dutch oven). I like to make it in my slow cooker in the fall and winter time. All it takes is prepping the veggies in the morning and brown the meat a little. Put it all together and let your Crock Pot do the hard work for you.
If you plan to be home, you could cook the chili on the high setting of your slow cooker. If you’ll be out of the house all day, you could cook it on a low setting. I will cook the veggies and the ground meat (I usually make this with turkey or chicken, but grass fed beef will do fine)in my skillet.
If you are on a Whole30 cycle, this will be just the recipe you need in your life! Even if you're not following Whole30 or Paleo, you'll be obsessed with this chili. Not only am I obsessed with this chili, I ADORE butternut squash! I could eat it every day!
Mom just loves this chili! She can't get over how filling it is. Mom likes her soups or chilies STEAMING hot. And let me tell you, one hot bowl of this chili will leave you filled with comfort not matter what is happening.
- why you will love this turkey butternut squash chili
- How do I make a no bean crockpot chili?
- Does slow cooked meat need to be browned?
- Variations and Substitutions:
- Tips for making this no bean turkey Chili
- What do I serve with this Whole30 Butternut Squash Chili?
- Is this Whole30 chili freezer friendly?
- Some other squash recipes to try:
- No Bean Butternut Squash Chili
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why you will love this turkey butternut squash chili
- It is a healthy and balanced meal that provides lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and nutritious vegetables.
- The combination of spices and vegetables creates a flavorful and hearty chili that will satisfy your taste buds and fill you up.
- With the use of turkey or chicken instead of beef, this recipe is lower in saturated fat and cholesterol.
- The addition of butternut squash adds a subtle sweetness and boosts the nutritional value of the chili.
- This butternut squash turkey chili is easy to make and can be prepared in one pot, making cleanup a breeze.
- It is a versatile recipe that can be made ahead of time and reheated for busy weeknights or used as meal prep for lunches throughout the week.
- The leftovers also freeze well for future meals
How do I make a no bean crockpot chili?
The first thing to do is gather your ingredients. This is what you'll need.
- Extra virgin olive oil - Used for sautéing the vegetables and browning the meat, adding a rich flavor to the dish.
- Celery and red onions - These vegetables form the base of the chili, providing a hearty texture and savory taste.
- Garlic - Adds depth of flavor and aromatic essence to the chili.
- Ground turkey, chicken or grass-fed beef - This is the primary protein source in the chili, making it a satisfying and filling meal.
- Ground cumin, paprika, chili pepper, ground coriander, salt and pepper - These spices add heat and complexity to the chili's flavor profile.
- Red bell peppers and butternut squash - These add color, texture, and a subtly sweet note to balance the heat from the spices.
- Diced tomatoes - Adds a tangy flavor and contributes to the chili's hearty texture.
- Tomato sauce (no sugar) - Provides the rich, tomato base for the chili.
- Broth (vegetable, beef or chicken) - This liquid helps to meld the flavors together and gives the chili its distinctive soupy consistency.
- Fresh cilantro - An optional garnish that adds a refreshing, herbaceous note, which can help to balance out the spiciness of the chili.
If you are roasting your own squash, do that first. I did roast my squash. I cut it and placed on a baking sheet. Drizzled on some extra-virgin olive oil and add some of my rosemary and sage...a sprinkle of salt. But you could add the squash uncooked to the chili.
It doesn't take that long to roast up...about 30 minutes. You could use the squash roasted like this for some many different recipes.
Next step is to prep the base of the chili. I did saute' first in a skillet my celery and onions with the ground meat. And this is why...
Does slow cooked meat need to be browned?
Yes, it does. This will avoid the meat clumping together as it cooks. Ground turkey and chicken do not have any grease, but if you use grass feed beef, there may be some extra grease and you could drain that extra fat before adding to the slow cooker.
It’s meaty and rich.
PIN for later!
Variations and Substitutions:
- Vegetarian Chili: Substitute the meat with extra beans, lentils, or a meat alternative such as tofu or tempeh. You could also add hearty vegetables like sweet potatoes and mushrooms.
- Poultry Chili: Try making your chili with ground turkey or chicken for a lighter, leaner variation.
- Spicy Chili: If you prefer a kick to your chili, add in some jalapeños, habaneros, or increase the amount of chili powder.
- Mild Chili: For those with a milder palate, decrease the amount of chili powder or opt for a milder chili pepper.
- Low-Carb Chili: To make your chili low-carb, replace the beans with low-carb vegetables such as zucchini or bell peppers.
- Beer Chili: Adding a stout or dark beer can deepen the flavor of the chili. Be sure to adjust the spices accordingly to balance the flavors.
- Chocolate Chili: Add a square of dark chocolate or a spoonful of cocoa powder to your chili. This will enrich the color and deepen the flavors, adding a slight sweetness to balance the heat.
Tips for making this no bean turkey Chili
- Slow cooker or Stove Top: Make this in your Crock Pot (or whatever slow cooker you have)or stove top. I really like to make it in the slow cooker and let it simmer away. But it will cook up quickly stove top, in case you want to make it for a comforting dinner and you forgot to start it in the AM.
- Spices: you could spice this up as much or little as you want! I added a dash of chili pepper and then added more spice at the end for mom and I. My kids do not like the spice, so I keep it less hot! So remember, do make it your own spice preference.
- Squash: I was roasting butternut squash chunks and ended up adding the roasted pieces towards end. You could use uncooked chunks of butternut squash. I just liked the flavor of my squash roasted with rosemary and sage from my herb garden. Add less squash than I did to keep it even more low carb.
- Beans: there are no beans, but mom heated up some white beans with some homemade garlic oil and added it to her bowl. So if you want to add beans, go ahead and add some cannellini beans or whatever beans you have on hand. You may need to add more broth if you are adding it to the entire pot of the stew. Keep in mind that the beans will really thicken up the stew.
- Tomatoes: I happened to have canned Italian cherry tomatoes. But you could use diced tomatoes or even plum. If you use plum, be sure to break them up with the wooden spoon. Or you could use your clean hands to break them into smaller pieces before it starts cooking. As for the sauce, I used a tomato sauce that has NO sugar. You could use something like Pomi’ (I see that brand in every market)or even your own homemade sugar-free sauce if you have any made up.
- Broth: I used my own homemade chicken broth. Feel free to use vegetable broth or beef broth.
- Leftovers: Best thing is, you will love this chili leftover. You can enjoy the chili for lunch or reheat again for dinner (that's what I did!)the next day. Share some with a neighbor.
What do I serve with this Whole30 Butternut Squash Chili?
There are various serving options for this healthy chili. You could serve it with:
- Low carb ideas: veggie noodles – zoodles (zucchini noodles), swoodles (sweet potato noodles), spaghetti squash, etc.
- Cauliflower: Make your own cauliflower pearls (or you may call it "rice")or buy them even in frozen veggie section. Cauliflower pearls, my personal favorite.
- For the carb lovers: steamed rice or even a favorite small pasta, like ditalini.
Is this Whole30 chili freezer friendly?
It is really easy to freeze this chili. Just spoon any extra sauce into a freezer bag (once it has cooled down). Remove any extra air, seal and then place in the freezer (mark the date on the bag).
When you need to reheat, you could let the bag defrost overnight in the fridge and heat up next day or leave it out on counter for a little bit, and then add the chili to a sauce pan to heat up. If you need it quicker, you could also place the frozen bag of chili n a bowl of warm water to help it defrost quicker and then heat up in the sauce pan.
It is really easy to make this No Bean Whole30 Butternut Squash Chili in a sauce pan or Dutch oven, but I usually make this in the slow cooker as soon as it is fall. It's a cinch to prep your veggies first thing in the morning. You could set to LOW on your Crock Pot and let your slow cooker do the work for you all day.
Top with some freshly chopped herbs (cilantro or parsley), some slices of avocado and some jalapeno...no-fuss and packed with flavor, you'll be making this all winter long!
Cozy up on a chilly evening with a hot bowl of this hearty and delicious No Bean (totally Whole30 compliant) Butternut Squash Chili.
There are several alternatives to beans that you can use in chili. These include butternut squash, bell peppers, and corn for a flavorful and hearty texture. You can also add extra meat or try using lentils or quinoa as a protein substitute.
Texas-style chili, also known as 'Chili con Carne', is a type of chili that traditionally does not include beans. It primarily consists of meat and chili peppers.
The inclusion of beans in chili is a matter of regional preference. In Texas, for example, the traditional chili recipe does not call for beans. The focus is on the meat and chili spices. However, in other regions and home recipes, beans are a common ingredient due to their nutritional value and texture they add to the dish.
Chili can safely be left in a crockpot on low for 6 to 8 hours. If you need to extend the cooking time, it is safe to leave it on the 'warm' setting for an additional 2-3 hours. Always remember to ensure that the meat is cooked thoroughly and the chili reaches a temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) to ensure food safety.
Some other squash recipes to try:
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- Cacio e Pepe Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas
- Israeli Couscous with Butternut Squash
Originally published September 5, 2019 and republished September 13, 2021.
No Bean Butternut Squash Chili
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups butternut squash — diced
- fresh sage leaves
- fresh rosemary
- ½ cup celery — diced
- ½ cup red onions — chopped
- 2 cloves garlic — minced
- 1 pound ground turkey -or ground chicken or grass fed beef
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 tsp chili pepper optional for those that like it spicy (ground chili pepper is VERY spicy so start with less and add more if you like more heat)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- salt and pepper
- ½ cup red bell peppers — chopped optional, if you like peppers
- 2 cups diced tomato with juice if you are using diced tomatoes from a can
- 1 cup any tomato sauce that doesn't contain sugar
- 1 cup broth — vegetable beef or chicken (I used my own homemade chicken broth)
- fresh cilantro — for garnishing
- SLOW COOKER
- If you are roasting your own squash like I did, heat the oven to 425F.
- Line a baking sheet with foil paper.
- Add the diced squash. Drizzle on some extra-virgin olive oil (1 Tablespoon). Sprinkle on a little salt. Add your fresh herbs (I added rosemary and sage from my herb garden). You could use dried rosemary and sage.
- Cover and seal it tightly with a top layer of foil paper.
- Bake for about 30 minutes.
- When it is ready, remove the top sheet of paper, place the squash in a bowl; set aside.
- In a large skillet heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat.
- When heated up, add the celery and onions. Sauté until the onions get a bit translucent (3-4 minutes). Add in the minced garlic. Stir to combine it all together (you don’t want the garlic to brown).
- Add in the ground turkey (or ground chicken or ground beef), and break it into small pieces using your wooden spoon. Cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add in the spices. Stir it all together and combine. Season with salt and pepper.
- Turn your slow cooker to HIGH. Add the meat and spice mixture to the slow cooker.
- Add in the red peppers (if using), butternut squash (uncooked), diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and broth. Stir it all together. If you are using plum tomatoes instead of cherry or diced tomatoes, break them up before adding to the slow cooker.
- Set heat to HIGH and cook for 5-6 hours.
- Or you could set heat to LOW and cook 7-8 hours.
- IF you roasted squash in the oven, like I did, add it to the stew during the last 30 minutes of cooking. You just want to heat the squash up, as it is already cooked. It will really break up, so try not to stir it too much. Just give it a gentle stir to combine and let it heat up with the stew.
- Ladle out to bowls and garnish with desired topping. A serving idea is with more cilantro (if you like it, or parsley), jalapeño slices, and lime wedges (optional).
- STOVE TOP
- Place a large saucepan with lid (or Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add the olive oil (or you could use coconut oil or even ghee). When it has heated up, add in the onions and peppers (if using.
- Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring and the onion should be translucent and peppers should start to soften.
- Add in spices, salt and pepper. Stir all together and sauté about another minute.
- Add in the minced garlic and ground turkey (ground chicken or ground beef will also work). Cook for about 5 minutes, breaking up the meat with your wooden spoon.
- Add in spices, salt and pepper. Stir all together and sauté about another minute.
- Add the peppers, butternut squash, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat and let it simmer, with the lid partially on, for about 30-40 minutes. Check on it after about 15 minutes and give it a stir. Check the seasoning. Adjust and add any extra salt and pepper. Put the lid partially back on and let it continue to simmer.
- When it is ready at about 30-40 minutes, adjust the seasoning (if needed)with more salt, pepper and spice, to your taste.
- Ladle out to bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro (or fresh Italian parsley). Add on avocado and jalapeno slices, if you like.
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information presented below is an approximation and may vary depending on the exact ingredients used.
As always, I appreciate all your support! If you try this fabulous for fall No Bean Butternut Squash Chili, do share it with your favorite people. Let me know how you make it your own!