NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS – Butternut Squash & Black Bean Chili (aka Jack Skellington’s Bone-Chilling Chili)


My kids LOVE Halloween!! We play dress up almost every day. They would go all out in full costume & make up every day if I would let them… And I admit, we have had those days! We have an awesome costume collection that we just keep with the dress-up clothes. Not to mention my son is also really into bats, pumpkins and zombies right now… It’s all he asked for from Santa this year! But no matter WHAT time of year it is, we always love to watch Tim Burton’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas!’

I know many of you just probably had your fair share of chili during the last SuperBowl Game party – well, this is one to tuck away for your next chili night… or if you are just feeling like having something a little different! I love my go-to chili, but when I’m short on time, or if its Halloween, this chili cant be beat with its orange and black colors! Another reason to love this recipe is because its SO easy!! Oh yeah – did I mention you can make it from start to finish in an hour?! That makes this a version of chili that I could actually make after I get home from work in the evening! I love that! The most time consuming part for me was preparing the butternut squash.

It was REALLY HARD to decide what to call this!! We knew what we wanted to make to eat, so first, we had to pick our flick. For us, it was between these 2:

  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: “Jack Skellington’s Bone-Chilling Chili” / “Halloween-Town Chili” (Note: the kids also liked the name “Boogie-Oogey’s Boogie Chili”, which I thought was great!)
  • Hotel Transylvania : “Dracula’s House Special” (Note: the kids thought ‘Bat Poop Chili’ was hilarious, but clearly it was not the most appetizing of names!!)

Whatever you decide on, it would be AMAZING served out of a hallowed out pumpkin at your next Halloween party! Here are some other “spooky movies” you could use: ParaNorman, Frankenweenie, the Corpse Bride – And if your kids are older, there are even more options -Beetlejuice, etc. Anyway, you get the idea!!


Jack Skellington’s Bone-Chilling Chili

(aka Butternut Squash & Black Bean Chili)


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 jalapeno (optional) seeded and minced – we didn’t use this!
  • 1 14.5-oz can plum or diced tomatoes, drained and chopped (if you get diced, you don’t need to chop them)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder, or to taste (my kids thought 2 was a little spicy, next time I am using 1 Tbsp – adults can add more if they like!)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled and seeded and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 3 cups cooked or 2 15-oz cans of black beans, drained and rinsed (we used canned beans)

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic (and jalapeno, if using). Cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, water, apple juice, tomato paste, chili powder, salt, and squash and stir to combine. (Don’t worry if it looks really thick – it’ll get juicer in a few moments!) Add the beans.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until the squash is tender, about 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and simmer another 15-20 minutes until you are ready to serve!

Makes about 6 adult servings

(This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks – ‘Vegan Planet’ by Robin Robertson! Click HERE to go buy it! Oooh! Check it out – There is a new revised version available with an extra 25 recipes here!


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