Beanless Butternut Squash Chili

Love chili but can’t handle the beans? Then this recipe is for you. It’s also recently been dubbed the perfect date night chili recipe because not only is it delicious and “man friendly,” but it also won’t leave you feeling gross and bloated so the evening can still be steamy + spicy long after the meal is over…too much? BEAR WITH ME. This chili also pairs nicely with a good red wine — so if you’re me, then that means a great biodynamic pinot — if you’re not me, then insert your favorite red here.

I made this last week for a boy and let’s just say it was a hit. Not only did I go for seconds (this lady can eat)…but so did he…without me offering. That’s how you know it’s good.

Now since I know you’re wondering, we’re going to talk about dating life as NWL. Truthfully, 95% of the time, I prefer eating at home. Not only do because I have control over the quality of the food (type A virgo lady problems) and can completely negate any possibility of cross-contamination (making the evening totally low stress), but honestly because unless it’s a really fab restaurant or sushi, I think my food tastes better. The problem is, there is no chance you can have a first date at home…that just sounds like a bad comedy horror film in the making. Don’t get me wrong, some people love to eat out all the time, but for this lady, it makes dating rougher then it needs to be. As it stands, dates completely mess up my schedule. Then, pile a bad date or bad food or BOTH on top of that and it just feels like a waste of time, schedule disorder, and a gut flare.

HOWEVER, let’s say you have a good first date (I always just do drinks the first time around to avoid any awkward food conversation // added stress). Then, you know * most of the time * that the second date won’t be a complete drag. Fast forward to a third or more date, you know they won’t kill you, you know you can hold a stimulating conversation, and you may also know that they’re good in bed…so when all that comes together, I’m not opposed to fitting the date into a normal evening — aka cooking dinner at home and just having the date over. It’s not only killing two birds with one stone, but the outcome is usually better than bending over backwards and completely rearranging your evening. Think about it. There is no transportation time, you get to stay in comfier clothing, the dog stays on schedule, and you usually end up getting to bed at a more reasonable hour. Win, win, win yes? Bonus tip, you have the authority to kick them out (or not!) whenever your bedtime approaches.

Point of this long dating story…I’m not sure if there is one! Navigating dating life is a beast, but happy to share more tips and stories just tell me…but the point of the blog post is, if you’re single and dating or partnered and just want a cozy date night in, MAKE THIS RECIPE. Direct quote from my date: double meat is pretty neat. Needless to say, anything with bison PLUS bacon is a crowd pleaser, so get on it.

Ingredients // Pantry items:

  • 1 small butternut squash

  • 1 jar of diced tomatoes (I like jovial brand)

  • 1 head of cauliflower

  • 1/2 large red onion

  • 2 cloves of garlic (I omitted so the chili would be easier on my tum tum)

  • 4 slices of bacon

  • 3 jalapeños

  • 1/4c apple cider vinegar

  • 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne

  • Pepper to taste

  • Avocado oil


  • Preheat oven to 400F

  • Chop butternut squash and coat with avocado oil

  • Throw squash in the oven for 30 mins

  • Cut cauliflower into florets (add to roasting pan when there is 15 mins on the clock)

  • Cook bacon in stock pot

  • Remove bacon and chop it up

  • Add diced onion and pepper to the stock pot with bacon fat

  • Cook until translucent (approx 5 mins)

  • Add bison and cook through

  • Add spices

  • Add ACV, tomatoes, and bacon

  • Add roasted veggies

  • Give it a good stir - bring to a boil - throw a lid on it - turn the heat down - and simmer for 30 mins

Enjoy this cozy meal with extra chopped peppers, avocado, cilantro and someone you like (or love!).