You're busy. I get it. The holiday season can turn a normally organized "I've got my act together" type of person into a frazzled bundle of stress. Pity the family member who dares to ask, "What's for dinner?"

Fortunately, the answer doesn't have to include a food delivery app or a quick detour to a drive-thru window. This week's Black Bean, Poblano and Butternut Squash Chili is here to save the day — or at least a meal or two.

While chili can sometimes be a time-consuming adventure, this version manages to be packed with flavorful, good-for-you ingredients in addition to being quick and easy to make. Even better, you're likely to have many of the ingredients on hand already.

Canned black beans and tomatoes are combined with cubed butternut squash, sautéed onions, poblano chiles and a chipotle chile or two and simmered just until the squash is tender. This meal in a bowl is done in less than 30 minutes.

The result is a hearty, vegetarian chili with a craveable combination of flavors — sweet butternut squash, earthy beans and smoky chipotles — that will have you actually looking forward to sitting down for a quiet moment and a home-cooked meal in the midst of the holiday rush.

Like most chili, this is even better the next day and freezes beautifully. When I have the time, which is not likely in the next few weeks, I serve it with a warm slice of cornbread, slathered with honey butter, or a crusty baguette.

Black Bean, Poblano and Butternut Squash Chili

Serves 4 to 6.

Fast, healthy-ish and delicious, this pantry-friendly chili is the perfect thing to have on hand during the busy holiday season. Leftovers (without toppings) freeze beautifully, so don't hesitate to make it, even if you're cooking for 1 or 2 people. Note: Canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce can be found in the global aisle of most grocery stores. Each can contains several chiles. While this recipe calls for 1 to 2 (they can be hot, so adjust to your own taste), the remaining chiles can be frozen for future use. From Meredith Deeds.

For the chili:

• 1 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 medium onion, chopped

• 2 medium poblanos, seeded and chopped

• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

• 1 tbsp. cumin seeds

• 2 (15-oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

• 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes

• 1 small butternut squash (about 1 1/2 lb.), peeled and cut into 1/2-in. cubes

• 2 c. vegetable or chicken stock

• 1 to 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped (see Note)

• 1/2 tsp. salt

Toppings, as desired:

• Sour cream

• Avocado

• Chopped cilantro

• Chopped red onion

• Shredded cheese

• Jalapeño slices, fresh or pickled


Heat oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, poblanos and garlic and cook, stirring, for about 6 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Add the cumin seeds and continue to cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, butternut squash, stock, chipotle chiles and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and re-season, if necessary.

Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with toppings, as desired.

Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at Follow her on Instagram ­at @meredithdeeds.