This hearty Chickpea Chili is prepared in the slow cooker and perfect for cool fall weather. There are squash, chickpeas and lentils to bring unique flavor and texture to this meal.
Happy (belated) Thanksgiving to all my friends from the US. I hope you had a wonderful time spent with family, turkey + pie, and a heart filled with gratitude. It's always so great to bring loved ones together, no matter the occasion. Food, holiday, and family all go beautifully hand in hand.
Maybe you are more in the mood for a light salad, a detox smoothie, or ideas for left-over turkey, but things have been a little crazy here this week. So all I have is this slow cooked chili (I know I just shared a slow cooker recipe) as well as my story of learning to love chili again.
My beloved chili, after a long year we finally meet again!
Chickpeas and Lentils Save the Day!
At about this time last year I was going through my worst bouts of morning sickness. It was so bad that I started to dislike food in general and had to go on a little hiatus from food blogging. Unfortunate, but necessary to ensure my health and well-being while carrying my first baby to term.
Certain foods I ate that were followed by being sick make me queasy to this day. One of those foods are beans - black beans and kidney beans specifically. Why, you ask? Well, I had made a big portion of my sweet potato chili with those 2 bean varieties. That same day, I got the stomach flu. Paired with morning sickness it was pure misery... times 10!!
And to this day, the sight of black and kidney beans brings me back to those awful days. So, beans are the reason I have avoided making chili for the last year. Then I came across a chili recipe using chickpeas and lentils and I knew chili was going to happen again!
Bringing Squash Into This Dish Is Delish
I made changes to my slow cooker chili recipe to include chickpeas and lentils - and also some squash. There is a BIIIG arrangement of squashes decorating our dining table (thanks to our CSA box from the summer and my mom's gardening skills).
And while I like the look of it, I know I have to start using them. After the spaghetti squash success, now it was the acorn squash's turn.
Other squash varieties like kabocha, delicata, butternut squash or even pumpkin might work as well. Although do note that some (like butternut squash) can be quite sweet when cooked. So keep that and your tolerance for sweetness in savory dishes in mind.
The chickpeas I use were canned, and the lentils you can just throw in uncooked. The time in the slow cooker will soften them enough while still leaving them with a hearty bite.
Pre-Brown the Meat and Slow Cook
I like to use ground meat (beef usually) for chili. After trying it both ways, I realized that pre-browning the meat is a step you shouldn't skip. It adds wonderful flavor and I prefer the meat in little chunks rather than completely blended in.
You can just combine all ingredients in the slow cooker base, but once the chili is cooking, resist the urge to stir too much. Otherwise the squash cubes will turn into complete mush.
Serve the chili with your favorite toppings. I like mine with sour cream, green onions and a little grated cheese. Enjoy!
Slow Cooked Chili with Chickpeas Lentils + Squash
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef or other ground meat
- ½ - 1 pound acorn squash cut into ½ cubes
- 1 can chickpeas 15 oz. can, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup green lentils uncooked
- 1 can tomatoes 28 oz. can, diced
- 2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
- 1 cup broth any kind
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoons paprika powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Heat oil in a pan and add chopped onions. Cook on medium until lightly browned, then add ground meat. Continue cooking until the meat has nicely browned.
- Add to the slow cooker base with all other ingredients. Stir to combine everything. Resist stirring while cooking (to keep the squash cubes whole).
- Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours. Serve with toppings like sour cream, green onions and cheese.
- Leftovers might dry out a little. Add water or broth as needed while reheating.
Other Recipes You Might Enjoy
Check out these similar recipes!
- Chicken Chickpea Curry
- Chocolate Roasted Butternut Squash Soup & Chili Cocoa Roasted Chickpeas
- Thai Buddha Bowl with Peanut Sauce - Video
Yes, you can replace kidney beans with black beans in chili if you prefer their flavor and texture.
While chickpeas have a different texture and taste compared to black beans, you can certainly use them as a substitute if you enjoy their flavor.
Absolutely, you can substitute chickpeas for traditional beans like kidney or black beans in chili for a unique twist.
Yes, you can substitute chickpeas for other beans in chili to create a delicious variation.
Yes, chickpeas can be used instead of kidney beans in chili, offering a distinctive taste and texture.
The number of calories in chickpea chili can vary depending on the specific ingredients and portion size, but it's generally a nutritious and filling meal.
Yes, canned chickpeas are cooked and ready to use, making them a convenient option for chili and other dishes.
Slow cookers are a great way to make chili as they allow the flavors to meld and develop over time, resulting in a rich and hearty dish.
You can replace beans in chili with alternatives like chickpeas, lentils, or even vegetables if you prefer or have dietary restrictions.
Slow cooker chili can become watery if there's excess liquid or if the lid is removed too often during cooking. To thicken it, you can leave the lid off for the last part of the cooking time or use a thickening agent like cornstarch.