This Quinoa Chili is delicious, satisfying, and comforting. Is it gray and rainy outside? No problem! Just grab a bowl of this vegan chili and cozy up on the couch with a soft blanket, warm socks, and a movie.
This one-pot quinoa chili is so rich and flavourful that you won’t miss the meat.
It’s packed with vegetables and perfect for a healthy lunch or dinner. Make a big batch on the weekend and enjoy all week long or divide into portions and freeze it for later.
This easy recipe is naturally gluten-free and vegan or vegetarian, depending on the toppings you choose.
This protein-packed chili is a great dish for fall and winter.
Why This Recipe Works
- This quinoa chili recipe is very easy to make.
- It’s made in one pot, so you won’t have to wash any extra dishes.
- This hearty chili is made with simple ingredients that most people have in their fridge and pantry.
- It’s a great recipe for meal prep.
- This vegan quinoa chili is perfect if you have veggie-haters in your family because it’s packed with vegetables, but you won’t notice them once the chili is done cooking.
- Both vegans and meat-eaters will enjoy it.
Ingredients for Quinoa Chili
Here is the list of ingredients you will need to make a batch of this easy chili.
The Main Ingredients
- Olive oil – You will need some good quality olive oil or avocado oil to sautee the vegetables.
- Onion – Sauteed onion adds the first layer of flavor to the chili.
- Vegetables – I like adding bell peppers, carrots, and zucchini to this recipe. You can also add celery or sweet potatoes if you like them in your chili.
- Spices – Spices used in this recipe are chili powder blend, red paprika (use smoked paprika for that smoky flavor), cumin, and garlic powder. You can also add some Cayenne pepper if you like it spicy.
- Diced tomatoes – Tomatoes are a must for chili. Use only low-sodium or no-salt-added diced tomatoes to avoid sodium overload.
- Broth – Use low sodium or no salt added commercially prepared or homemade vegetable broth.
- Beans – You can use any beans for this recipe. I recommend low-sodium or no-salt-added canned black and red kidney beans.
- Quinoa – Quinoa is perfect for a vegetarian chili because it’s packed with essential amino acids. You can use white, black, or red quinoa or the tri-color quinoa blend for this recipe.
- Sugar and salt – To balance the acidity and add flavor.
- Dark chocolate – Dark chocolate is the best secret ingredient for chili. It adds depth and dimension to the flavor of this dish and balances the acidity of tomatoes.
Chili tastes even better when you serve it with yummy toppings. Toppings will allow your family members to customize their serving according to their taste and dietary preferences.
Healthy chili toppings can make chili even more nutritious and filling.
Here are a few chili toppings to try:
- chopped scallions (a.k.a green onions)
- diced avocado
- crushed red pepper
- chopped tomatoes
- diced red onion
- chopped cilantro
- sour cream
- shredded cheese
- lime wedges
- sliced radishes
- and more!
How to Make Quinoa Chili
- Sautee the onion: In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and starts to caramelize, for about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Sautee the rest of the vegetables: Add the carrots, bell pepper, and zucchini. Mix well, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, for about 4 minutes.
- Add the spices: Sprinkle the chili powder, red paprika, and cumin over the vegetables. Stir and cook until the spices become fragrant, for about 1 minute. Add the garlic powder.
- Add the rest of the ingredients (except chocolate) and simmer: Add the diced tomatoes, vegetable stock, black beans, red beans, quinoa, and sugar. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring the chili to a simmer. Reduce heat. Cover and cook stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes.
- Add the dark chocolate: Take the chili off the heat. Place the dark chocolate on top of the chili. Cover and let it stand for 15 minutes.
- Add your favorite toppings and serve: Stir in the dark chocolate and serve with your favorite toppings.
This quinoa chili is very easy to make and perfect for beginners.
When cooking it for the first time, keep in mind the following:
- Use a large heavy-bottomed pot or a Dutch oven so that the ingredients cook evenly.
- For a better mouthfeel, peel the zucchini and chop all the vegetables into small pieces.
- Quinoa can soak up a lot of liquid. If you don’t like your chili too thick, add a little bit more liquid to it.
To serve this protein-packed chili as in the photo above, top it off with some lime juice, fresh cilantro, chopped red onion, and avocado slices.
Storing and Reheating
Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
The chili usually thickens when cold but should loosen up when heated. If it’s still too thick for your taste, you can add a little bit of broth to it.
When reheating on the stovetop, make sure to reheat over low heat and stir from time to time. It’s better to reheat small portions as opposed to reheating the whole pot.
The chili can also be reheated in a microwave.
More Comforting Recipes for Fall and Winter
For more healthy recipe ideas for cold fall and winter days, check out these easy recipes:
- Canned Black Bean Soup
- Instant Pot Mushroom Barley Soup
- Easy Tuna Chili
- Barley Vegetable Soup
- Ground Turkey Soup
- Spicy Red Lentil Soup
- Vegan Mushroom Goulash
This plant-based quinoa chili is rich and flavourful. It's packed with vegetables and perfect for a healthy lunch or dinner. Make it on the weekend and enjoy all week long or freeze it for later. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.
Quinoa Chili (Vegan Recipe)
Serving Size 1/7 of recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 389Total Fat 8.6gSaturated Fat 1.8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6.8gCholesterol 0.1mgSodium 354mgCarbohydrates 62.3gFiber 15gSugar 11.5gProtein 15.8g
This plant-based quinoa chili is rich and flavourful. It's packed with vegetables and perfect for a healthy lunch or dinner. Make it on the weekend and enjoy all week long or freeze it for later.
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.