The weather has significantly cooled down in our part of the world. Those boiling hot, sultry summer days are over, allowing for lovely activities such as breezy and sunny beach walks with the Cubs. This is very definitely one of my favourite times of year, largely because I get back to making one pot family dishes that are filling, tasty and easy to prepare.
This chilli it is full of flavour but mild in heat thus allowing the kids to have some too. If your children are the sort of children that will eat a vegan chilli – that is.
Annoyingly, my little people Cubs are not adventurous enough to eat this sort of meal at this point in their young lives. My nearly-three year-old is a bizzarely fussy creature. For example, he dislikes hearty yet simple dishes like cottage pies in favour of plain pasta and butter but will happily munch away on marinated olives. Offer him a spaghetti bolognese – a dish nursery flavoured and textured enough that children universally tend to agree is acceptable – and he’ll run a mile. He will, however, scoff down the saltiest extra mature cheddar you can find over a Babybel.
My eight/nearly nine month-old girl is still weaning and was off to a promising start gleefully consuming most food laid out before her. Now, however, she is turning her nose up (by that I mean cementing her lips shut and spoon-dodging) at anything green and healthy-looking. So she has arrived at the developmental picky eating phase early but sadly it doesn’t extend to loo paper, sandy flip flops and cardboard cereal boxes which are, to my speedily crawling and standing baby girl, all edible items.
On to today’s recipe…As part of our veggie days (we are currently having three days a week that are solely vegan or vegetarian) I try and make sure we have beans and pulses as a protein source in our main meals on these days. I buy dried beans and soak them but for speed I suggest using canned beans. This recipe is quick, healthy and very tasty. Roasting the squash beforehand is key. The sweet caramelised butternut squash balances the spicy smoky elements to the dish. To save time, I buy a large butternut squash cut it into small cubes in advance and keep it in a zip lock bag in the fridge. This way it is ready to roast or steam when you need it.
Easy Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chilli
2 cups (300g or so) or so of butternut squash cut into cubes
1-2 tsp cumin
1-2 tsp smoked sweet Spanish paprika
3-4 cloves garlic crushed
2-3 cups (0r 300g ish) fresh mixed cherry tomatoes
4 cups or so (1 litre) vegetable stock
Olive oil or preferred coooking oil
Bunch of Fresh coriander and limes to serve
Preheat oven 200C Fan. Prepare the butternut squash, place in an oven dish, brush over oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 25 mins or so until soft and slightly caramelised. Meanwhile heat the oil and fry the spices and garlic on a low heat for a few minutes until garlic turns golden. Add beans, then tomatoes, stock and squash, cook for around 30 minutes if using canned beans and or an hour and 45 minutes if using soaked beans (check the pack instructions and cooking times).
Season to taste, serve with rice, or in a wrap with guacamole, sour cream or natural yoghurt, lime juice and sprinkle with plenty fresh coriander. I put some of my homemade almond butter on top as this adds a different but delicious flavour.