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Butternut Squash Chili Mac

Posted by LoveandZest
November 13, 2016
Featured in: Athlete Eats
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This healthy Chili Mac recipe is made with butternut squash, making it nutrient-packed vegetarian dinner.

This healthy chili mac recipe is made with butternut squash, making it the perfect healthy vegetarian dinner.

by Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD

One of my favorite things about this time of year is the food! But just because Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner it doesn’t mean cooking has to be unhealthy. Not only do poor food choices over the holidays affect your overall health, it can cause undesired training results. There are tons of ways to enjoy seasonal foods and recipes without sacrificing your healthy lifestyle.

Enter this healthy chili mac recipe -- Butternut Squash Chili Mac ! Full of fiber, antioxidants and plant protein from the beans, this healthy vegetarian meal will satisfy your nutritional needs and accommodate your busy schedule, even when you’re pressed for time!

Butternut squash recipes are a must-have this holiday not only because butternut squash is seasonal, convenient, and tastes great, but also because it’s bursting with a whole-lotta healthy stuff. Butternut squash is one of the best sources of:

  • Carotenoids, which are important for preventing oxidative stress and protecting cells from damage.
  • Fiber, which keeping you fuller longer, reduces insulin spikes and significantly improves digestion. Say goodbye to holiday weight gain.
  • Antioxidants and vitamin C, which will reduce inflammation and promote growth and repair of tissues after your workouts.

This recipe is super easy to make and can be stored in the fridge or freezer for you to have the rest of the week. Depending on how many you are serving, you can even make a double batch to last even longer! Enjoy it the veggie way or add some simple shredded chicken for extra protein too.

In a time crunch? Here are some other ways to eat healthy this holiday season!

  • Make a double batch of chicken salad, casseroles, and homemade granola bars ahead of time to store in the fridge and grab when you’re in a hurry.
  • Frozen fruits, veggies and canned veggies without any added preservatives or sugars are also efficient ways to eat healthily.
  • Stock the fridge and pantry with clean, nutrient dense, convenience foods—they may not be your optimal food choice but it will be beneficial to your health and your wallet instead of eating fast food or skipping a meal altogether.

This healthy Chili Mac recipe is made with butternut squash, making it nutrient-packed vegetarian dinner.

This healthy Chili Mac recipe is made with butternut squash, making it nutrient-packed vegetarian dinner.

Serve this Butternut Squash Chili Mac for an easy vegetarian dinner option via @healthyaperture & @KristinaLaRueRD
This healthy Chili Mac recipe is made with butternut squash, making it nutrient-packed vegetarian dinner.

Butternut Squash Chili Mac


serves 8


  • 1 medium butternut squash, small diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 oz gluten-free rotini
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • ½ yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup pumpkin beer
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 can great northern beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F; line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Arrange butternut squash on baking sheet; season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Roast for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, boil large stock pot of water seasoned with salt; cook pasta al dente according to package directions, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  5. In stock pot, drizzle with olive oil and heat to medium high heat. Sauté peppers, onions, and garlic until translucent. 
  6. Stir in tomatoes, pumpkin beer, chili powder, cumin, beans, and butternut squash to combine.
  7. Toss in pasta, coat with sauce, and remove from heat.
  8. Pour chili mac into single serve bowls and top with cheese.

Note: For meal prep, place chili mac in 9X13 inch baking dish and top with cheese. Reheat in oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until cheese melts.

Click for nutritional information
Calories 445
Carbohydrates 77.6g
Fiber 11g
Sugar 5.8g
Fat 7.4g
Protein 13.5g
Sodium 478mg
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Kristina LaRue is the author of the ATHLETE EATS on HealthyAperture -- a feature that hopes to inspire creativity in the kitchen to fuel active lifestyles! As a board certified sports dietitian, Kristina cooks up healthy menus for collegiate and professional athletes in her day job. In authoring Athlete Eats, she shares simple, energizing recipes designed for the athlete and hopes readers will learn sports nutrition tips along the way so that they can be their best self and fuel for performance. Kristina is a Registered & Licensed Sports dietitian for the Orlando Magic and University of Central Florida Athletics. She provides nutrition services for Tara Gidus Nutrition Consulting and works in the treatment of eating disorders with Joyful Nutrition. She is a co-author of The Flat Belly Cookbook for Dummies and the blogger behind Love & Zest where she shares recipes, life, and nutrition. She graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics and completed her dietetic internship at Oakwood University in 2011. She loves running and training for marathons and triathlons, gardening, creating (mostly healthy) recipes, decorating, blogging, photography, and volunteering with the women’s recovery ministry at her church. On the weekends you can find her at the Farmer’s Market or a local coffee shop spending quality time with her husband, Eric.
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