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How to incorporate fall veggies into chili

Lisa Ryan

Fall is here, and I’m stoked for the cooler weather, sweaters and boots (I am obsessed!) and the gorgeous bounty the season provides. It’s my absolute favorite time of year. Hands down. I like everything about this time of year: pumpkins on the doorsteps, crunching of leaves, spiced apple drinks, Halloween and football.

There’s also this buzz inside of me that shows up every fall. It’s actually a very productive time of year, even better than New Year’s for setting goals because we are able to follow through on our hearts’ desires. In winter, it’s too freaking cold to leave the house, so it’s not the best time to bust a move on resolutions. But fall, well, that’s the ideal time to make a plan and see a project to completion, especially with your health.

Can you feel the buzzing energy, too? It’s time. Time to dream big and follow through. Whatever health goal you want to accomplish, now is the time to get moving on it. And if it is eating healthier, I got your back.

While apples, pumpkin, squash, and sweet potatoes are full on this time of year, there are so many not-so-healthy foods you will encounter at tailgates, parties and let’s not forget trick-or-treating. My quick trick is to take your favorite food, like pizza, tacos or chili, and it them healthy by including fall veggies.

I like to make a big-ass pot of chili every Sunday afternoon. I’m a huge football fan (I’m in two fantasy football teams!), and there’s nothing like the smell that fills the house with a pot full of chili cooking. My favorite chili is this butternut squash chili. The nice thing about it is that nature provides butternut squash to get us ready for cold and flu season. The beta-carotene in the squash (which is also in lots of other fall foods, like pumpkin, carrots and sweet potatoes) boosts our immunity. How wonderful!

Fall veggie chili

Serves 1-2 


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, cubed (1 cup)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • Half of 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • Half of 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Half of 1 (15-ounce) can Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Image: Lisa Ryan


Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and chili pepper. Stir for 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients.

Cover the pot, lower the heat and keep the chili at a simmer, covered for 20 minutes.

Squeeze juice onto chili before serving. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Image: Lisa Ryan

Add a nice gluten-free cornbread and bam, your meal is ready!

What is your favorite fall activity? Share in the comments below! And don’t forget to set your fall goal!

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