I am in DIY heaven/hell. Pinterest is my best friend/worst enemy. Making our new house feel like a home is such fun/utterly exhausting.

I’m a little conflicted. Can you tell?

I really am thrilled we were able to make the leap into our new home, and we ended up in such a great place, too. Totally worth it. It’s just a little overwhelming and I want the entire place to feel like home NOW.

This vegetarian butternut squash and beer chili absolutely, 100% helps. Chili could not be more cozy and homey if it tried.

 Vegetarian butternut squash & beer chili with optional ground turkey add-in

So I’ve got the scent part of home down. As far as looks go, well, I’m learning to take it in bits and pieces. This weekend, we focused on making the breakfast nook feel cozy and homey. My two proudest budget-friendly (oh yes, we are on a budget) DIY moments these past couple of days were 1) using cheap white cotton tea towels from Target as cafe curtains in the bay window and 2) making a pendant chandelier out of a burlap lampshade, a Lowes pendant kit, and a vintage-style filament light bulb. (Naturally, I totally want to blog these projects here. Would that be weird? I mean, they are in the kitchen, right?!)

Anyway, as obsessed as I am over home decor, I need to talk a little more about this chili.

Even though we feel like we skipped summer with the all-consuming buying/selling houses thing, we’re still pretty ready for fall. I mean, I sort of wish that fall wasn’t followed by winter in all its dismal non-glory, but autumn itself is so wonderful. So is this chili – the epitome of fall.

 Vegetarian butternut squash & beer chili with optional ground turkey add-in

As far as chilis go, it’s pretty … unobtrusive. But in a good way. It’s mild heat-wise, but the butternut squash, spices, and the beer come together to create the most wonderful, complex flavor. No one-note chili here. I’d call it vegan, except I like to sprinkle lots of monterey jack cheese over the top. To please the  meat eaters, just brown some ground turkey and simmer it with their portion.

This is a nice, flexible recipe that’s great for mixed-diet kitchens. Vegan, vegetarian, or meaty – it’ll make everyone happy. Oh and plus: there’s beer! Now that’s a happy, homey meal, indeed.

Vegetarian butternut squash & beer chili with optional ground turkey add-in
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Vegetarian Butternut Squash & Beer Chili with Optional Ground Turkey

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Author: Kare
Yield: 6
This warm, comforting chili brings beer, butternut squash, and turkey - only if you like - together in an easy dish that's perfect for fall.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 1 tablespoon diced garlic (about 2 large cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (table salt is fine - just start with a little less and add more later on if you like)
  • 3 cups diced butternut squash
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper (about 1/2 large pepper)
  • 1 cup grated carrot (about 2 medium carrots)
  • 4 cups or 2 15-ounce cans cooked pinto beans, drained
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup American lager (blonde, or IPA beer)
  • More kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • If adding ground turkey to half
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • If adding ground turkey to all
  • 2 - 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • Pinch kosher salt


  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil and saute the onion until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and spices (chili powder, cumin, oregano, and smoked paprika) and stir for another minute. Add the remaining ingredients - butternut squash, red pepper, carrots, beans, tomatoes, and beer - and, keeping the pan on medium heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, partially covered, until squash is fork-tender, about 30 minutes.
  • If adding turkey, brown in a medium saucepan over medium heat with olive oil and pinch of salt until cooked through, about 10 minutes. If only including turkey in half, remove about 2 1/2 cups of the chili from the vegetarian batch and add it to the turkey. Stir and simmer for about 10 minutes. If including turkey in all, you can just pour the browned turkey in with the chili either at the end of the process, or you can add it when you add the squash and other ingredients.
  • Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
  • Serve with shredded monterey jack cheese, sour cream, and diced avocado for topping if you like. This chili is also great served over rice.

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