Fall Chickpea Squash Chili

Fall recipe time!  I would definitely consider this chili a fall recipe since it uses butternut squash (for some reason squash equates to fall and winter in my mind).  I waited to post this until fall for this reason because I actually made it this summer (breaking all the rules!).  We had leftover butternut squash from this mac & cheese recipe I made a few days earlier.  I originally followed the “seasonality rules” with this two falls ago when I was living in Boston and wanted to make a fall dish (which was a surprise to myself since I wasn’t big on complicated recipes).  Similar with baking, I was never super into cooking elaborate dishes, but for some reason I saw the squash at a farmer’s market and found this particular recipe for Chickpea Chili calling to me.  It turns out that I really enjoyed cooking it and suddenly cooking became a lot less scary and a lot more interesting.  The original recipe can be found from Cooking Light and requires a crock pot and around 9 hours of simmering, but it can definitely be made in a medium-large pot with 3-5 hours of simmering.  It’s a great dish to make on a Sunday afternoon when you don’t have any plans and it fills the entire house up with a lovely aroma of spices.  It also keeps well and tastes excellent heated up!  And the great part is that you WILL have leftovers from this recipe!

Chickpea & Squash Chili - cooking edit

 

Ingredients:
1 cup canned chickpeas
2 tbs olive oil (or cooking spray if you want to keep it very healthy)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground tumeric
2 1/2 cups fat-free lower-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (undrained)
4 cups chopped butternut squash
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
6 cups hot couscous
8 lime wedges
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan (or cooking spray). Add onion; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in tomato paste and next 5 ingredients (through turmeric); sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  2. Add onion mixture to slow cooker.  If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can use a large pot (which is what I used).   Add broth and next 4 ingredients (through tomatoes); cover and cook on HIGH 8 hours.  Or, if you are using a pot, 4-5 hours.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add squash and sauté 5 minutes. Add squash to slow cooker/pot. Cover and cook on HIGH 1 hour, or low-medium heat.  Stir in peas. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve over couscous with lime wedges!

Chickpea & Squash Chili - plate 2!Chickpea & Squash Chili - plate!

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How To Cook Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash could possibly be the most amazing vegetable on the planet.  I thought it would be beneficial to do a post on cooking spaghetti squash because I do cook a lot of recipes that involve it.  It’s pretty easy to cook and the hardest part is getting the squash open.  So, without further ado, here’s how you cook a spaghetti squash in 5 simple steps.

1. Buy spaghetti squash (that one’s pretty self explanatory).

How to cook spaghetti squash 4

2. Cut spaghetti squash open length-wise.  This can be a little tricky and involves some semi-dangerous knife-work, so be careful!

How to cook spaghetti squash 5

3. Scoop out the seeds/middle of the squash.

How to cook spaghetti squash 2

4. Place spaghetti squash flat side down on a plate and microwave for 10-12 minutes.

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5. Use a fork to scrape the squash part out of the skin and into a bowl.  Voila!  You have your “spaghetti!”

How to cook spaghetti squash 1

***Update – You can also cook it in the oven at 375 for 45-1 hour.  I have also read in the past that cutting the sides off (where the stem is) might make it easier to cut length-wise.  I have also read that microwaving the entire squash for a 2-3 minutes might soften it up and make it easier to cut in half.