Quinoa Chili

This vegetarian, protein-packed chili is the perfect bowl of comfort food that you can eat guilt-free!

Quinoa Chili - This vegetarian, protein-packed chili is the perfect bowl of comfort food that you can eat guilt-free!

It’s been a bit warm here in San Francisco but I’ve been wanting to make chili for weeks now. Chili gives me the perfect excuse to have oh-so-crumbly cornbread on the side, except I overdo it and make it a main course. Either way, I still wanted a piping hot bowl of chili. Desperately. But this time, I tried something very different with my batch of chili – I added quinoa, and lots of it!

Quinoa Chili - This vegetarian, protein-packed chili is the perfect bowl of comfort food that you can eat guilt-free!

Quinoa Chili - This vegetarian, protein-packed chili is the perfect bowl of comfort food that you can eat guilt-free!

Quinoa Chili - This vegetarian, protein-packed chili is the perfect bowl of comfort food that you can eat guilt-free!

Quinoa Chili - This vegetarian, protein-packed chili is the perfect bowl of comfort food that you can eat guilt-free!

Quinoa Chili - This vegetarian, protein-packed chili is the perfect bowl of comfort food that you can eat guilt-free!

Quinoa Chili - This vegetarian, protein-packed chili is the perfect bowl of comfort food that you can eat guilt-free!

Quinoa Chili - This vegetarian, protein-packed chili is the perfect bowl of comfort food that you can eat guilt-free!

The quinoa added such a fun texture, soaking up all the flavors and goodness of this chili. It’s also loaded with kidney beans, black beans, tons of veggies and just enough lime juice to give you a subtle kick in the pants. Plus, this batch will make enough to feed an army so it’ll keep you and your family well fed for days!

Quinoa Chili - This vegetarian, protein-packed chili is the perfect bowl of comfort food that you can eat guilt-free!

Quinoa Chili

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 35 minutes

Total Time 45 minutes

Yield 6 servings

Quinoa Chili

This vegetarian, protein-packed chili is the perfect bowl of comfort food that you can eat guilt-free!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder, or more, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan of 2 cups water, cook quinoa according to package instructions; set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in quinoa, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chiles, chili powder, cumin, paprika, sugar, cayenne pepper, coriander and 1-2 cups water, making sure to cover most of the ingredients; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, until thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in beans, corn, cilantro and lime juice until heated through, about 2 minutes.
  • Serve immediately with avocado, if desired.

Notes

Adapted from Cooking Classy

http://damndelicious.net/2013/10/16/quinoa-chili/

Quinoa Chili - This vegetarian, protein-packed chili is the perfect bowl of comfort food that you can eat guilt-free!


Comments

    • Lauren says

      THIS WAS THE BEST CHILI EVER. The quinoa is great added protein to go with the beans. I used all organic ingredients, but left out cilantro and lime juice since I did not have them in fridge. Used himalyan pink salt, and a dash of red pepper flakes. Made everything in slow cooker, added cooked quino into cooker during last 10 minutes to infuse it with flavor. I am going to freeze multiple containers worth for lunches at work. THANKS!!

    • Meg says

      This was the best Chili recipe I have made. The quinoa made the dish so textured. I’ve never eaten avocado with chili but I was surprised as to how refreshing it was. Totally delicious!

  1. says

    How yummy looking, I just made Chili the other night and now I’m craving this one. I used to be an all veggie girl so I still love good vegetarian meals, thanks for the recipe and for stopping by me blog :)

  2. says

    GORGEOUS, Chung-Ah! Love this recipe…so healthy with quinoa and all of its protein…perfect for vegetarians who need it in their diet. Beautiful styling and color pop! You are truly inspiring, girl. Thanks for sharing. Pinning!

  3. says

    Dang, I totally made black bean chili tonight, sans quinoa! Kicking myself that I didn’t read your blog post beforehand. Obviously I’ll need to make your version soon–I need this in my life, along with a big slice of cornbread. :)

  4. says

    I live in the South Bay Area and it has been absolutely gorgeous weather here! We had our lunch outside in the sun today and it felt so good. I love a Mexican inspired chili like this and the addition of quinoa definitely makes me want to try it.

  5. Jennifer says

    Could you make this in the crockpot? I am just wondering if the quinoa would do well in a crockpot on low for around 8 hours?

    Thanks!

    • Chung-Ah says

      I’m not too sure – I’ve never tried cooking quinoa in the crockpot. If I try it, I’ll let you know how it turns out!

      • Kristin says

        I’m going to make this for a huge interview dinner for my husband’s residency program tonight. Have you tried it in the crockpot yet? If not, I’ll let you know how it goes.

    • Becki says

      Did you end up trying this in the crockpot? Curious how it turned out…my idea was to try it but not cook the quinoa & let it sit in on low 3-4 hours…thoughts?

      • Chung-Ah says

        Becki, I have actually not tried this in the slow cooker. I think letting it sit for 3-4 hours would be a good idea. Just be sure to the add the quinoa before serving. Hope that helps!

  6. Michelle says

    Just finished preparing for dinner and tastes yummy! Exciting! Looking forward to eating it because it is healthy also!

  7. Beth says

    I made this and it is very good. I love the bright tanginess of the fresh lime juice but it was a little overpowering. I think I will start with 1/2 lime next time. Everything else – just the same. Thanks!

  8. Cassie Scott says

    Made this for dinner tonight, but added some chicken for my husband who thinks dinner isn’t dinner without meat. It was yummy! Even passed the picky 5 year old test! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Meg says

    Made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious. Thanks for the wonderful recipe. I can’t wait to try out some of your other recipes.

  10. says

    Hey!
    I made it last night for my boyfriends birthday. Thanks for the great photos and well written guide. I served it with a cold beer, nachos and a feta cheese salad. He could not have been happier :D

    / Sanna

  11. Ally Gill says

    Made this tonight, and it’s absolutely delicious! The spices are dead-on perfect! The lime juice at the end adds a slight acidic kick. Quinoa in chili is genius. It adds not only great protein, but gives the chili the perfect texture that many veggie chilis lack. Just love it, and will make it again! Looking forward to trying some of your other recipes. Thanks!

  12. Stephanie says

    So I just made this and I have to say it’s THE best chili I’ve ever had. Tastes so fresh and the quinoa really adds that extra kick. You had really taste all the flavors and is so much lighter than traditional chili

  13. says

    I’ve had this recipe on my todo list for ages now and we’re finally going to have our first snowy day of the season tomorrow! I’m going to be cooking up a huge pot and inviting my friends over. Been craving it for weeks so I can’t wait!

  14. Jen says

    I found this recipe on pinterest and made it the other night. I cooked the quinoa in beef broth and used broth instead of water to give the chili a richer and more chili-like flavor. It was delicious! I actually threw everything in my crock pot (with the cooked quinoa) and simmered on low all day while I was at work and it was so great to come home to a yummy dinner. Even hubby, a die-hard meat-eater, said it wasn’t too bad. I consider that a win! It reheated well for lunches, too. Great recipe, will definitely make again.

  15. Carla says

    Made this tonight. Hubby said it was kind of spicy for the kids. So maybe I’ll try a little less of the spices next time. But I’m going to serve it with some garlic bread and some sour cream on top. Hopefully that’ll help. And maybe only 1/2 a lime also. But I’m still excited I made it! Thanks for the recipe!

  16. Kelly says

    Hi! I’m not a vegetarian and have never made chili without some form of meat in it, BUT this recipe is sooooooo good! Made it tonight. I didn’t have any quinoa but had some orzo on hand and it seemed to work out just fine! Thank you. I will make this over and over again.

  17. Karin says

    Asking because I’m lazy and I want this RIGHT NOW…do you think uncooked quinoa would cook enough in the dutch oven along with everything else?

  18. Kaellen says

    I just make this for dinner and it was awesome! Next time I’ll have to cook the quinoa in broth to see how it tastes!

  19. Bethany says

    I am making this on Sunday and will enjoy it for lunch all next week!! Perfect chili for our Iowa -20 degree days!!

  20. Emma C. says

    Fantastic! Makes a huge amount. Only used half a small lime.
    Topped mine with avocado, low fat sour cream, and (gasp!) some Fritos (guilty pleasure).
    Will definitely make again (after I work my way through my freezer full of leftovers).

  21. Taylor says

    I saw this yesterday, made it last night. SO good! It’s the perfect food for the cold weather right now, and just enough spice for this Texas girl.

  22. Beth says

    Made this last night and it was AH-MAZING! I did cut down the amount of cayenne to 1/4 tsp. as I did not want it too spicy and it was perfect. Even my husband who normally shuns all things vegetarian liked it! Thank you for your wonderful recipe!

  23. Shelli says

    Made this recipe last night for my family…added a bit more chili powder, cumin and sea salt. It was really delicious and best of all, really healthy. It was super easy and quick to make, too! Will add this to my recipe index for sure!

  24. says

    Omgosh! Is it possible I never came back to let you know how insanely delicious this was?? My friends and I made this with some goat cheese biscuits on the side and it was just so. good. Thanks for the fabulous recipe!! This will definitely be a repeat meal.

  25. Amber S says

    This recipe looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it. A few people asked about making this in the slow cooker. I make a quinoa chili recipe similar to this one in the slow cooker and it works very well. All the ingredients are put into the slow cooker including uncooked quinoa and I cook on low for 5 – 7 hours. The quinoa doesn’t become soggy at all and comes out perfect everytime. The spices take a hit, so you will need to add more seasoning when it it comes time to serve.

  26. says

    Tris ismthe fiesta time i almond madera a metal oit of cans. I can soy that it taste delicious and love the texture, lots of good flavors and aromas…. Great recipe and will do it again. Bone Aperite

  27. Melinda says

    I’m new to using Quinoa. Do you take 2 cups of dry quinoa and cook it, or use 1 c dry and cook it so it makes 2 c when it’s done?

  28. Carly says

    I made this today with a little less chili powder and cayenne and my family went crazy for it. My meat loving husband said it was his favorite chili I’ve ever made and my picky 4 year old son ate two bowls. I served it with ff Greek yogurt on top and homemade cornbread on the side. Yum!! Will be a new staple – thanks!!

  29. says

    As a food blogger I rarely get the chance to try many other bloggers’ recipes (so little time in the day!), but I was stoked to try this one! Made this the other night for a dinner party and it was a big hit. Super delicious, flavorful and filling. I thought I had quinoa but it turned out it was millet. Used it instead and it worked just fine! I liked how the grains were deceptive in that they almost made it look like there was ground turkey or beef, which maybe made it “feel” more satisfying, if that makes sense. In any case, loved this recipe! 5 stars fo sho.

    • Chung-Ah says

      I’m so glad you had a chance to try this, Dana. You just reminded me that I need to make this again, maybe using millet instead! :)

  30. Christy says

    Fixed a double batch of quinoa the other night so I went in search of recipes….found this recipe and had to try! Wow!! t won’t feed my army of 3 for days because my husband & 5 yr old son ate 3 bowls each!! I devored 2 myself!!!! Followed recipe exactly. Served with cheese on top and had Jiffy cornbread muffins! Yummo! This is a keeper for sure.

  31. Jen says

    This recipe was superb! We omitted the chiles and chile powder just because my toddler is sensitive to spicy stuff and it was still great.

  32. Lore says

    I made this for dinner tonight. I was unsure how my family would react. My 4 kids went back for seconds! This definitely will be a regular on our menu. Thank you!

  33. Kelleigh says

    Made this yesterday. It was my first time making chili with quinoa. I loved it, everyone loved it. It is a versatile, and easy recipe. We will be making much more. Thanks!

  34. Holly says

    This chili is REALLY good! I did make a few changes because I needed to put it in the CROCK-POT. So instead of putting in canned beans, I put in dried, unsoaked beans, 1/2 cup kidney and 1/2 cup black beans. Instead of putting in the cooked quinoa, I put in 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, and I didn’t have fresh cilantro so I put in 1 tsp. dried cilantro. It takes 5 hours on high and approximately 8 hours on low. Definitely do the avocado and cheese on top. The whole family loved it!

  35. Jan says

    Best veggie chili EVER! Followed directions except added extra cayenne. Husband loved it and taking to lunch tomorrow as well.

  36. Conny says

    I am printing some of your recipes. I just discovered your site and totally love it! I go very often on the popular sites but yours is very very attracting, easy and seems soooo yummy! I like the personal touch that you bring to it, it’s not only a site but a sharing place, friendly in all the ways. Will try your food soon! All this for a heart-warmed thank you for sharing!

  37. tina ledbetter says

    I printed your ingredients and took to the market, when I got home and looked at your delicious photo again before I began putting this together, I’ve noticed you didn’t include cheddar cheese! You’ve used this as a garnish with that delicious looking avocado and cilantro.

    Unless I’ve missed it somewhere in the ingredients list?

    • Chung-Ah says

      Tina, the cheese is simply used as a garnish and for photographic purposes. It is not a crucial ingredient that is needed in this recipe. It’s just a little added bonus :)

      • Tina Ledbetter says

        Your food styling is fabulous! Yes I did notice that and the sour cream were ‘extras’. Thank you! Delicious recipe!

  38. Lauren says

    How much is one serving? I want to make this for my work Earth Day party and Just want to make sure I make enough. This looks so tasty!

  39. Amy says

    Do you make it exactly like the recipe if planning on freezing? Or do you make it without the quinoa and then add that after you thaw it out and reheat it?

    • Chung-Ah says

      Unfortunately, I cannot answer these questions with certainty as I have not tried freezing this myself. I do think the latter is a better option though as the quinoa can soak up the chili, resulting in sogginess and less liquid.

  40. Karen Valladares says

    Oh my gosh! THIS WAS DELICIOUS. I don’t ever comment on blogs I just scroll around looking for awesome recipes and cool stories! But let me tell you this was by far the best chili I have ever had! I have only been a vegan for about year, so I have had my fair share of chili with beef but it does not come close to this recipe! This was amazing! Thank you so much!!!!

    I didn’t see that it said 2 cups of COOKED quinoa so I cooked two cups and then realized it did not look the same…I ended up doubling the recipe! I am not complaining :)

  41. Saskia says

    This might be a stupid question, but when you say 2 cups of cooked quinoa, do you meassure this as two actual cups of cooked quinoa or just cooking two cup of uncooked quinoa?. How much uncooked quinoa would I then need to have two cups of cooked quinoa.

      • Saskia says

        Thank you. I cooked to much quinoa, but I will use the rest for the pastasauce I am planning to make tomorrow, since I forget to buy minced beef.

        I couldn’t find canned green chills where I live, so I just used a fresh one.

  42. Marilita Fujisawa says

    I’ve done this dish several times and in each time my friends and family just love it. This time I want to make sure I put the topping which I see in the picture but don’t know what it is. Could it be sour cream? Can you please let me know what it is?
    Thank you

    • Chungah says

      I’m so glad you were able to give this a try! This is my absolute favorite chili yet. And yes, this is topped with sour cream. Sometimes I top it off with Greek yogurt too for an extra healthy touch. And it tastes just as good!

  43. Rita says

    Chungah (would love to know how to pronounce your name?) I love your site. The Beef Enchiladas are to die for love love love them. I have been looking over your other recipes also and find so many I want to try. Your pics are beautiful. Can you tell us what camera you use and lighting?
    Aim to work my way through your recipes!

    • Chungah says

      Thank you, Rita! My first name is actually pronounced Chung-Ah. I am currently shooting with a Canon EOS Rebel T2i and a 100mm f/2.8L IS. I only use natural lighting, and I utilize Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 to edit.

  44. Rita says

    Am making this chili today! My husband, a non-lover of most meats, and like a picky two-year-old about eating will be the test, I will let you know how he likes it. I am a big meat-chili aficionado, but just the spices in this (I use all of them in my home made enchilada sauce) have my mouth watering. I will have to substitute Barley for the Quinoa since I have none on hand.

  45. claudia says

    I have been liking and sharing and repinning this recipe and FINALLY made it today!!! I added lean turkey instead of quinoa, and it was AMAZING!!! I also added fresh green peppers instead of can and of course made some corn bread! My two year old LOVED it!!!!!! Ok…nap time…food coma!

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