The quinoa in this vegetarian quinoa chili provides the perfect meaty texture, without the meat. It’s easy to make, healthy and oh so satisfying.
Quinoa is a perfect meat substitute in this vegetarian quinoa chili – the texture is spot-on. If you’re loving the idea of replacing meat with quinoa, you have to try my vegan bolognese – it’s SO good and you’ll never miss the meat. Quinoa is an excellent plant-based protein, with 8 grams of protein per cup.
As you know, we’ve been spending a lot of time between the hospital and a hotel following my father-in-law’s stroke and hospitalization.
That means a lot of cafeteria food and restaurant take-out. When I came home for a day to catch up on laundry and other assorted household tasks, I was craving something healthy and home-cooked. Since my husband wasn’t with me, it was obviously going to be a vegetarian meal — I have to seize those opportunities when my meat-loving hubby isn’t around!
Hmmm, what to make? I had already cooked quinoa waiting in the freezer and all of the other ingredients for vegetarian quinoa chili on hand. Which was a good thing, because the last thing I wanted to do was make a trip to the grocery store.
I think you’ll agree, this quinoa chili will satisfy both the vegetarians and meat-lovers in your family. It’s very hearty and satisfying.
About this vegetarian quinoa chili:
You can get this quinoa chili on the stove simmering in about 10 minutes if you’re a pretty fast vegetable chopper. It should simmer at least 30 minutes, and can go longer if that works better for you.
Begin by chopping and sautéing a bunch of vegetables: red bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, onion, celery, and carrots in a large pot. Add the spices, (chili powder, cumin) and toast them slightly, stirring constantly, about one minutes. Toasting the spices deepens the flavor.
Now add the rest of the ingredients: a couple of cans of black beans (pinto or kidney would be fine, too), cooked quinoa, a big can of diced tomatoes with their juice, oregano, and some water. Bring all this to a low boil, turn down the heat, and simmer.
Isn’t that easy? I think it’s easier than other chili recipes because you don’t have to hassle with meat.
Serve this quinoa chili with your favorite chili toppings: sour cream, avocado, fresh cilantro, chips, shredded cheese, green onions, whatever you like.
If you’re looking for chili with more meat, try my white chicken chili or turkey and beef chili with beer and beans. For a LOT of meat, try slow cooker Texas chili with big chunks of beef chuck and no beans. Or there’s jerk chicken chili if you’re up for Caribbean style.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper, about 1 pepper (any color is fine)
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion, about 1 onion
- 1 cup diced celery, 1-2 ribs
- 1 cup diced carrot, 2 medium carrots
- ¼ cup finely diced jalapeño pepper, optional
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, or to taste
- 2 cans 15 oz. each) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained (low/no sodium preferred)
- 3 cups vegetable broth, low sodium or unsalted
- 3 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup dry), any type
- optional toppings: Greek yogurt, sour cream, cilantro, green onions, shredded cheese, avocado, tortilla chips
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper, onion, celery, carrot, and jalapeño pepper. Cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
- Add the chili powder and cumin; stir and cook for another minute or so.
- Add oregano, salt, pepper, beans, tomatoes, and broth. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
- Add cooked quinoa, and cook for 15 minutes more. Add more broth as necessary for desired consistency. Chili can simmer for up to an hour, if you like.
- Enjoy with toppings of your choice.
- Other types of beans can be substituted for the black beans. A mixture of beans is good, too.
- If using regular broth, not low sodium, reduce the amount of salt added.
- Leftover chili can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
Husband’s take: He didn’t have any this time but I’m guessing he’d like the meatier versions better.
Changes I would make: None. Except the addition of cilantro for a fresh garnish. Or green onions. Or cheddar cheese. Chili toppings are my absolute favorite thing about chili.
Difficulty: Very easy.