Spicy Fall Veggie Chili with Jalapeño Fontina Croutons

Fall is my favorite favorite season by far. The crisp cool air blows through my window, the leaves are changing and I start wanting warm comfort food. I decided to go through my pantry and work with what I had and the result was mighty tasty, I must say. This chili has a unique flavor because of the butternut squash and the cinnamon. Of course I couldn’t make chili without cornbread. But not just any cornbread….jalapeño cornbread croutons with creamy fontina cheese speckled throughout. You are in for a treat!


Spicy Fall Veggie Chili
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, diced
2 TB tomato paste
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained
1 15 oz. can cannelini beans, drained
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (not drained)
Juice of 1 lime
2 tsp brown sugar
2 TB fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Heat 1 TB olive oil over medium high heat in a large saucepan and add garlic. Cook 1 minute (until fragrant) then add jalapeno, celery and butternut squash and cook 3-4 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Add tomato paste and the spices as well as 2 cups water and bring to a boil.
3. Once boiling, add the beans and diced tomatoes and reduce to a simmer.
4. Add the lime juice and brown sugar and adjust seasonings as needed.
5. Simmer at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry. Finish with fresh cilantro.
Serve with low fat sour cream or plain greek yogurt and the cornbread croutons (see below).

Jalapeno Fontina Cornbread Croutons
1 8.5 oz box cornbread mix
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 oz fontina cheese, shredded
1. Preheat oven to 400. 
2. Blend ingredients and let sit 3-4 minutes.
3. Pour batter into a greased 8×8 baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes. 
4. Let cool and cut into 1″ cubes.
5. Lay on a cookie sheet and cook 5 minutes (or until crisp).
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