Black Bean Butternut Squash Chili

Butternut Squash Vegetarian Chili Recipe | Super Bowl recipes, entertaining tips, Super Bowl party ideas, party themes and more from @cydconverse

Because I have chili on the brain this week with our Super Bowl chili cook-off going down on Sunday, I’ve got the second of two crazy yummy vegetarian chili recipes to share with you today. This one is a black bean butternut squash recipe that is really quite special. The addition of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce adds a bit of smokiness that really balances out the sweetness of the squash perfectly. Like my the four bean veggie chili that is a mainstay in our house, this chili stands on it’s own, no meat required. Skip the sour cream on top, and you’ve got a vegan dish that will please everyone at your table without a doubt. I’m pretty sure we are going to make both of these chili variations for the chili cook-off this weekend, because even though they’re both vegetarian, the flavor profiles are entirely different. Both of them are worthy of adding to your repertoire!

Butternut Squash Vegetarian Chili Recipe | Super Bowl recipes, entertaining tips, Super Bowl party ideas, party themes and more from @cydconverse

Butternut Squash Vegetarian Chili Recipe | Super Bowl recipes, entertaining tips, Super Bowl party ideas, party themes and more from @cydconverse

Butternut Squash Vegetarian Chili Recipe | Super Bowl recipes, entertaining tips, Super Bowl party ideas, party themes and more from @cydconverse

Butternut Squash Vegetarian Chili Recipe | Super Bowl recipes, entertaining tips, Super Bowl party ideas, party themes and more from @cydconverse

Black Bean Butternut Squash Chili

  • (3) 15 oz cans black beans
  • (1) 15 oz can garbanzo beans
  • (1) small butternut squash, cubed
  • 1-1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • (3) 15 oz cans of stewed tomatoes
  • (1) small red onion
  • (1) small orange bell pepper
  • 3 chipotle peppers (the canned kind in adobo sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 tablespoon chili powder

Drain and rinse beans very well until all the packing liquid is completely rinsed. Peel, deseed and chop up butternut squash into roughly 1″ cubes. Place beans and squash in the crock of a large slow cooker. Dice the bell pepper and onion, then add to the crock. Chop up the chipotle peppers finely then add them and all other ingredients to the crock Mix well to combine and cook on high heat for two hours. Reduce to low heat and allow to simmer for another hour. Serve warm.

Butternut Squash Vegetarian Chili Recipe | Super Bowl recipes, entertaining tips, Super Bowl party ideas, party themes and more from @cydconverse

Butternut Squash Vegetarian Chili Recipe | Super Bowl recipes, entertaining tips, Super Bowl party ideas, party themes and more from @cydconverse

Butternut Squash Vegetarian Chili Recipe | Super Bowl recipes, entertaining tips, Super Bowl party ideas, party themes and more from @cydconverse

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[Recipe + art direction by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

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Crunchy Veggie Taco Cups

Crunchy Veggie Taco Cups | Super Bowl recipes, party appetizers, entertaining ideas and more from @cydconverse

I’m pretty sure most people will agree that one of the best parts about the Super Bowl is the food! Now, I’ll be so bold as to say that these crunchy veggie taco cups are one of the best Super Bowl appetizers going. They’re a cinch to make and they are so so tasty. They’re made with wonton wraps (which I buy pre-made at the grocery store) and a vegetarian refried bean filling that is crazy delicious. You could definitely add a bit of ground beef or shredded seasoned chicken to these if you’d like, but I challenge you to keep them vegetarian. I promise you they’re not missing anything! Just make sure to buy vegetarian refried beans or look for fat free refried beans, which are almost always vegetarian since they don’t include the pork fat that comes in traditional refried beans. (Just double check the ingredients list!) Then you’ll have some seriously delicious game day snacks that are not only vegetarian but reasonably healthy, too, at least compared to many of the traditional Super Bowl dishes.

Crunchy Veggie Taco Cups | Super Bowl recipes, party appetizers, entertaining ideas and more from @cydconverse

Crunchy Veggie Taco Cups | Super Bowl recipes, party appetizers, entertaining ideas and more from @cydconverse

Crunchy Veggie Taco Cups | Super Bowl recipes, party appetizers, entertaining ideas and more from @cydconverse

Crunchy Veggie Taco Cups | Super Bowl recipes, party appetizers, entertaining ideas and more from @cydconverse

Crunchy Veggie Taco Cups
Makes approximately 24 cups

  • (1) 15 oz can vegetarian refried beans
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 medium diced red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • Black pepper to taste
  • (2) cups shredded cheddar
  • 48 wonton wrappers
  • Toppings such as guacamole, tomatoes, sour cream, etc.

Preheat oven to 350° then lightly spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick spray. Line each cup with two wonton wrappers, layered over top of each other form a cup shape. In a mixing bowl, combine refried beans, thawed corn, black beans and bell pepper. Add in taco seasoning, then cracked black pepper to taste. Spoon approximately 2 tablespoons of the bean mixture into each muffin cup. Top with 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese then bake for 15 – 18 minutes until crispy and the wonton wrappers are cooked through. Serve with guacamole, diced tomatoes, sour cream, cilantro, diced scallions and other toppings as desired so guests can top their own taco cups to their liking.

Crunchy Veggie Taco Cups | Super Bowl recipes, party appetizers, entertaining ideas and more from @cydconverse

Crunchy Veggie Taco Cups | Super Bowl recipes, party appetizers, entertaining ideas and more from @cydconverse

Crunchy Veggie Taco Cups | Super Bowl recipes, party appetizers, entertaining ideas and more from @cydconverse

Crunchy Veggie Taco Cups | Super Bowl recipes, party appetizers, entertaining ideas and more from @cydconverse

You can serve your taco cups alongside a bunch of fun toppings so guests can mix and match their own toppings to their liking. People love interactive foods where they can self serve to their little heart’s content! Or, you can simply top them in a variety of ways and set them out on a tray so everyone can just grab, snack and go without having to fuss with dressing their own. Personally, I could eat these all night and skip everything else on the table, because they are sincerely that delicious. Also, maybe the leftover ones taste really really good pulled straight from the fridge when you’re trying to sneak in lunch while chasing a speed walking toddler back and forth across the house all day long. But I wouldn’t be speaking from personal experience, I swear.

Crunchy Veggie Taco Cups | Super Bowl recipes, party appetizers, entertaining ideas and more from @cydconverse

Crunchy Veggie Taco Cups | Super Bowl recipes, party appetizers, entertaining ideas and more from @cydconverse

Crunchy Veggie Taco Cups | Super Bowl recipes, party appetizers, entertaining ideas and more from @cydconverse

Crunchy Veggie Taco Cups | Super Bowl recipes, party appetizers, entertaining ideas and more from @cydconverse

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[Recipe + art direction by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

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Four Bean Veggie Chili

Best Vegan Chili Recipe | Vegetarian chili, Super Bowl recipes, party ideas, entertaining tips and more from @cydconverse

Happy Monday! It’s Super Bowl week and I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m completely excited. For one, we’re hosting the festivities this weekend and I always love throwing a party. For two, I really enjoy screaming at my television on occasion. (Uh, that’s true.) For three, I have a ton of Super Bowl recipes to share with you this week, starting with this awesome chili recipe. This year we decided to put a twist on the traditional Super Bowl party and we’re hosting ours as a chili cook-off. We invited guests to each bring a pot of chili at a buy-in of $10 a pot. Everyone in attendance will get a vote and the fan favorite chili will take the entire pot! Today I’m sharing the first of two chili recipes we’ll be submitting for consideration for the prize. This one is a four bean veggie chili recipe that is not only a vegetarian chili, but actually a vegan chili recipe, too! (Just skip the sour cream and cheese on top, of course.) This is our go-to chili. The meat eaters in the family love it just as much as I do and we’ve served it up at more than one party to universal approval. Most people don’t even miss the meat, plus you can’t go wrong with a big pot of beans, veggies and tomatoes when it comes to serving up a dish that is both hearty and healthy.

Best Vegan Chili Recipe | Vegetarian chili, Super Bowl recipes, party ideas, entertaining tips and more from @cydconverse

Best Vegan Chili Recipe | Vegetarian chili, Super Bowl recipes, party ideas, entertaining tips and more from @cydconverse

Best Vegan Chili Recipe | Vegetarian chili, Super Bowl recipes, party ideas, entertaining tips and more from @cydconverse

We generally like our chili about a medium on the heat scale, but I intentionally scaled it back here for those of you who aren’t into overly spicy things. This ratio of seasoning will give you a nicely flavored chili that falls decidedly on the mild end of the heat index. I’d suggest starting here and then increasing the spiciness to your tasting if you like things with more of a kick. I personally would increase the chili powder, cayenne and paprika if you want to take things up a notch or a few. With chili, the flavor really builds over time so add a bit, check it a while later, then add more as necessary to suit your personal preferences. Also, don’t skip the mix of the four types of beans! It adds a lot of flavor and great texture.

Best Vegan Chili Recipe | Vegetarian chili, Super Bowl recipes, party ideas, entertaining tips and more from @cydconverse

Best Vegan Chili Recipe | Vegetarian chili, Super Bowl recipes, party ideas, entertaining tips and more from @cydconverse

Best Vegan Chili Recipe | Vegetarian chili, Super Bowl recipes, party ideas, entertaining tips and more from @cydconverse

Four Bean Veggie Chili

  • (1) 15 oz can black beans
  • (1) 15 oz can garbanzo beans
  • (1) 15 oz can great northern beans
  • (1) 15 oz can kidney beans
  • (4) 15 oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper
  • 1 medium orange bell pepper
  • 1 medium green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine

Drain and rinse beans very well until all the packing liquid is completely rinsed off. Place beans in the crock of a large slow cooker. Dice the bell peppers, add to the crock. Add all other ingredients, then mix well and cook on high heat for two hours. Reduce to low heat and allow to simmer for another hour. Serve warm and and top to your liking with sliced avocado, fresh chopped cilantro, cheese, sour cream and/or diced scallions or white onion. Remember to skip the sour cream and cheese if you’ll be serving this to your favorite vegan friend!

Best Vegan Chili Recipe | Vegetarian chili, Super Bowl recipes, party ideas, entertaining tips and more from @cydconverse

Best Vegan Chili Recipe | Vegetarian chili, Super Bowl recipes, party ideas, entertaining tips and more from @cydconverse

Best Vegan Chili Recipe | Vegetarian chili, Super Bowl recipes, party ideas, entertaining tips and more from @cydconverse

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[Recipe + art direction by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

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The 2017 Reader Survey + Win a $100 Gift Card!

The Sweetest Occasion Reader Survey 2017 | Party ideas, entertaining tips, recipes, party appetizers, cocktail recipes and more from @cydconverse

At long last, after much ado for the last couple of years, an all new, all beautiful The Sweetest Occasion will be launching in the next month or so! (Stay tuned in late February or early March. Hooray!) Everything will be fresh and updated, marking the largest update to the site by far in it’s nearly nine year existence. The branding has been overhauled, the site is going to look really clean and sleek with all the focus on big, beautiful images, and the function of the site is going to be vastly improved. Behind the scenes this has been a huge, drawn out process and I’ve been spending a lot of time over the last couple of weeks getting things organized on the back end of the site to make all of these changes really come to life. With all of these exciting things happening, I’ve also been sitting with notebook in hand brainstorming content ideas for the year. I made a lot of changes to the content I produced in 2016, subtly and without fanfare, such that if you look back through 2016’s archives you’ll really see a big change from beginning to end. I love how things have evolved and plan to keep moving in that direction, but I wanted to check in with you, too. I want to know what you want! What posts do you love? Are there new things you’d like me to try? What’s missing? What posts and content would be most helpful or inspiring to you in your world? That’s where the 2017 reader survey comes into play! (Scroll down to take it!)

Keep reading…

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Tomato + Farro Mozzarella Salad

Tomato + Farro Mozzarella Salad Recipe | Healthy vegetarian recipes, weeknight dinner ideas and more from @cydconverse

I made this salad a couple of weeks ago for the first time in a long time, and couldn’t believe that it ever fell out of my regular rotation of solid, delicious, healthy dishes that I generally go to again and again. I’m really trying to get back to the basics over here, cleaning the junk out of my diet and starting to focus in on some of my personal goals of weight loss and just generally taking better care of myself this year. This tomato and farro mozzarella salad easily ticks all the boxes. It’s an amazing side dish or can stand alone as an entire meal unto itself. It’s good served warm. It’s good served cold. It’s easy to make, the ingredients are limited and it’s a really hearty, vegetarian dish that will leave you feeling really satisfied. Plus, quite notably, it’s delicious. If you can’t find farro, feel free to substitute barley! It has many of the same nutritional benefits and the texture is similar so it’s pretty interchangeable in this particular recipe. I love bringing this salad to potlucks, because it always gets eaten right up, but I also love a big bowl of it for dinner or leftover the next day for lunch. All in all, this is a must try that I’m confident you’ll love!

Tomato + Farro Mozzarella Salad Recipe | Healthy vegetarian recipes, weeknight dinner ideas and more from @cydconverse

Tomato + Farro Mozzarella Salad Recipe | Healthy vegetarian recipes, weeknight dinner ideas and more from @cydconverse

My favorite tip when it comes to cooking and preparing grains is to always use veggie stock instead of water, whether it be farro, barley, quinoa, etc. No matter the grain, there is just so much extra flavor when you use a good veggie stock. Homemade is honestly always best, but when that’s not possible (which is often the case for me), using a good quality organic stock will get the job done. It makes such a huge difference, you’ll be a total believer for life. For this salad, I also like to toss in a couple veggie bouillon cubes to really boost up that flavor.

Tomato + Farro Mozzarella Salad Recipe | Healthy vegetarian recipes, weeknight dinner ideas and more from @cydconverse

Tomato + Farro Mozzarella Salad Recipe | Healthy vegetarian recipes, weeknight dinner ideas and more from @cydconverse

Tomato + Farro Mozzarella Salad Recipe | Healthy vegetarian recipes, weeknight dinner ideas and more from @cydconverse Tomato + Farro Mozzarella Salad Recipe | Healthy vegetarian recipes, weeknight dinner ideas and more from @cydconverse

Tomato + Farro Mozzarella Salad Recipe | Healthy vegetarian recipes, weeknight dinner ideas and more from @cydconverse

Tomato + Farro Mozzarella Salad Recipe | Healthy vegetarian recipes, weeknight dinner ideas and more from @cydconverse Tomato + Farro Mozzarella Salad Recipe | Healthy vegetarian recipes, weeknight dinner ideas and more from @cydconverse

Tomato + Farro Mozzarella Salad Recipe | Healthy vegetarian recipes, weeknight dinner ideas and more from @cydconverse

Tomato + Farro Mozzarella Salad

  • 1 cup uncooked farro
  • 2-1/2 cups veggie stock
  • 2 veggie boullion cubes
  • 8 oz of fresh mozzarella
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 6 – 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Pinch of coarse sea salt

Rinse farro in a sieve or strainer. Bring veggie stock to a boil, add the farro and then return to a boil. Reduce to a simmer as soon as it comes to a boil, cover and allow to simmer for 20 – 30 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. While the farro is cooking, cut mozzarella into bite-size chunks and slice tomatoes in half. When the farro is cooked, combine everything in a large mixing bowl, adding the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and stirring just until combined. Add more vinegar if you’d like as some will absorb into the barley as it cools. Add sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste and chop up your basil and parsley to add right at the end. Serve immediately and eat warm or chill and serve cold. Either way is delicious!

Tomato + Farro Mozzarella Salad Recipe | Healthy vegetarian recipes, weeknight dinner ideas and more from @cydconverse

Tomato + Farro Mozzarella Salad Recipe | Healthy vegetarian recipes, weeknight dinner ideas and more from @cydconverse Tomato + Farro Mozzarella Salad Recipe | Healthy vegetarian recipes, weeknight dinner ideas and more from @cydconverse

Tomato + Farro Mozzarella Salad Recipe | Healthy vegetarian recipes, weeknight dinner ideas and more from @cydconverse

post-line-before-credits

[Recipe, styling + art direction by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

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