Vegetarian Chili with Quinoa

This is the perfect time of year for chili…and this recipe is hearty and filling, but super-healthy: the ideal formula for combating the cold weather and extra winter weight at the same time! I originally made this chili from a cookbook, and then I couldn’t remember which cookbook, so I searched online and worked off of the recipe at Two Peas and Their Pod. The quinoa gives this dish a smooth but meaty texture; it’s truly satisfying. As with all chili, soups, and stews, one of my favorite things is that it’s so easy to improvise as you go, especially if you want to clean out your veggie drawer!

Serves 6-8

Total Prep and Cook Time: 45 minutes


3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 1/2 cups water
2 medium onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 bell peppers, color of your choice, chopped
2 medium zucchini, chopped
3 (15 ounce) cans beans, drained and rinsed. You can use whatever type of beans you prefer, but I like to mix one can of black beans, one can of kidney beans, and one can of chickpeas.
2 (24 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
chili powder to taste (I use 1 tablespoon and serve extra on the side)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and black pepper, to taste
2 large ripe avocados

Chopped Chili Veggies

1. Bring the water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa and lower heat; simmer for 10-15 minutes, until water is absorbed.

2. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 1/2” of water (about 1 ½ cups.) Once the water starts to simmer, add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, carrots, celery, peppers, and zucchini. Continue to simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add extra water if necessary.

3. Add the beans and crushed tomatoes. Stir in the cooked quinoa. Season with chili powder, cumin, cilantro, salt, and black pepper. Simmer chili on low for 20-30 minutes.

Quinoa and Beans

I like to serve this chili garnished with extra cilantro or scallions, avocado slices, and a side of cornbread. It’s thick and rich enough that you really don’t need sour cream, although that’s always a nice addition!   Chili

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