Butternut Squash Chilli with Cheesy Coriander Cornbread

Cooking time
Serves2 people
Butternut Squash Chilli with Cheesy Coriander Cornbread

In this seasonal spin on chilli, tender shredded butternut squash takes the place of traditional mince, cooking down till it’s thick and rich, with plenty of spice and a pinch of cocoa powder for depth. And no chilli dish would be complete without wedges of warm, cheesy homemade cornbread on the side.

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layout 1 comment


  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 red chilli
  • A handful of coriander
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 200ml boiling water
  • 100g polenta
  • 100g cheddar
  • 150ml cold water
  • 1 lime

Prep: 25 mins | Cook: 30 mins

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1. Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel and crush or finely chop the garlic. Roughly chop the tomatoes. Halve the chilli, scraping out the seeds and white pith for less heat, and finely chop it. Set half the chilli aside for later. Separate the coriander leaves and stalks (keep the leaves for later in the recipe) and thinly chop the stalks.
2. Trim and peel the butternut squash. Cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Coarsely grate the flesh using a box grater. If you have a food processor, you can whizz the squash through the grating attachment to make this extra quick.
3. Pour 1 tbsp olive oil into a large pan and warm it on a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, half the chilli and half the coriander stalks. Add 1 tbsp each smoked paprika and ground cumin, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Fry for 5 mins, stirring occasionally.
4. Stir in the butternut squash, tomatoes, 1 tbsp cocoa powder and 200ml boiling water. Cover with a lid and simmer for 25 mins, stirring from time to time, till the chilli is thick and the squash mince is tender.
5. Meanwhile, warm your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/ Gas 5. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Pour the polenta into a bowl. Coarsely grate the cheddar and add half to the polenta (keep the rest for later). Stir in the reserved coriander stalks and chilli. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper and trickle in 150ml cold water. Mix to make a dough. Pat the dough into a 3-4cm high round and place on the lined baking tray. Slide into the oven and roast for 25 mins, till golden.
6. When the chilli is cooked, slide in the remaining half of the cheddar and stir till melted. Grate the lime zest and set aside. Squeeze the lime juice into the chilli and stir well. Taste the chilli and add more salt or pepper if needed.
7. Spoon the chilli into bowls and sprinkle with the reserved coriander leaves and lime zest. Serve with chunks of the cheesy cornbread on the side.
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Quite a tasty chilli, but next time I would only use 1tsp cumin and not a tablespoon - it was too much. I also added a stock cube. My OH was amazed when I told him it was mostly butternut squash as he is not a fan but it works really well in this recipe. I did add some kidney beans for protein and served it with rice. There was more than enough for two and it was very filling. The cornbread did not work quite as well, but that was because my polenta was too grainy. I will definitely make it again but with different polenta.