Butternut Squash, Black Bean and Turkey Chili with Avocado Crema

Up until about a year ago, I hated black beans, loathed them actually. I wouldn’t go near them. NOW, I’ve neverbeenso obsessed. I don’t know what changed with my taste buds, but I regret all those meals that I asked “no black beans please.” I’ve been trying to incorporate them everywhere. This meal does just that, along with a million of my other favorite ingredients: turkey, butternut squash, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, oh my.

The prep/cook time for this meal is longer than normal, but I was off so I didn’t mind the hour and a half; and it was well worth it! This chili would have been just fine on it’s own, but the avocado crema adds that zing and creates a flavor explosion. The heat from the chili and the coolness from the avocado is a beautiful combination.

Not to mention this is a health food power house!

Butternut Squash, Black Bean and Turkey Chili with Avocado Crema

Butternut Squash, Black Bean and Turkey Chili with Avocado Crema

Let that turkey simmer and it starts to smell deliciousss!

Butternut Squash, Black Bean and Turkey Chili with Avocado Crema

All the looks and feels of FALL!

Butternut Squash, Black Bean and Turkey Chili with Avocado Crema

Now, we’re cookin! And I’m waitin..patiently! I usually fill this time with wedding planning, reality TV watching, wine drinking etc.

Butternut Squash, Black Bean and Turkey Chili with Avocado Crema

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Butternut Squash, Black Bean and Turkey Chili
3 teaspoons olive oil
1 lb 99% fat-free ground turkey
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
4 tablespoons tomato paste
Kosher salt
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2inch cubes (about 4 cups)
4 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped
Two 14-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chia seeds
Freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Avocado Crema to drizzle

Avocado Crema
1 large ripe avocado
½ cup Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons half & half
2 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 1.5 medium limes)
1 teaspoon honey
1 medium clove garlic
½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt


Butternut Squash, Black Bean and Turkey Chili
1. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven.
2. Add the turkey and cook, breaking up chunks with the side of a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes.
3. Push the turkey to the edges of the pan, leaving the middle empty. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, then the onion and garlic to the center of the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the chili powder and cumin and stir about 30 seconds.
5. Add the tomato paste and 1 teaspoon salt and stir until the paste begins to darken in color, about 30 seconds.
6. Add the squash, tomatoes and 4 cups water. Bring mixture to a boil, then adjust heat and reduce to simmer. Let simmer, uncovered, until the chili has thickened and the squash is tender, 40 to 50 minutes.

[While the chili is simmering, I made the avocado crema (recipe below). But you’re not done with the chili just yet, so make sure to go on to step 7!]

7. Once the chili is thickened and the squash is tender, stir the beans and chia seeds into the chili and heat through, about 5 minutes.
8. Season with an additional 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper, then taste the chili and stir in up to 2 tablespoons of vinegar.
9. Spoon the chili into bowls and top each bowl with a few drizzles of avocado crema!

Avocado Crema
[steps continued from above]
1. Combine avocado and Greek yogurt in the bowl of a food processor. Process for 1 minute until smooth and creamy.
2. Add remaining ingredients and process again for 2 minutes until very smooth and only tiny bits of the cilantro are visible.
3. Transfer to a jar [for this recipe I used a squeeze bottle to drizzle] and refrigerate until the chili is ready. Can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
*If you like the crema a bit thinner, add more half and half to the processor until you reach desired consistency*

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