Classic Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

November 22, 2022

In my opinion, there is no dish more warm, cozy, and comforting than chili, and this may be the BEST chili recipe yet. That’s right, this Classic Vegetarian Quinoa Chili is everything that you love about your favorite, childhood chili recipe, but with a plant-based twist. It’s hearty, it’s creamy, it’s perfectly seasoned, and the best part is – you can use any beans that you have on hand. This recipe is naturally gluten and dairy-free, and comes together in a matter of minutes. It’s perfect for those cold winter days!

A big bowl of the loaded vegetarian quinoa chili, sitting on a cutting board surrounded by ingredients

Friends, wanna know a secret about my recipe development process? Well, here it is: the marker for whether a recipe is actually GOOD or not, lies in whether or not my boys like it. In case you’re new here (which, if you are, then hi!) I have two little boys, and they are at the age where they are both picky eaters. Even though they grew up exposed to all foods, they still will pick Mac n’ cheese, pizza, or chicken tenders over anything else.

But luckily for me, they are still open to testing almost anything I put on their plate (even if that only means taking one bite). And friends, let me tell you, when I placed a bowl of this chili in front of them… they DEVOURED it. I was shocked – both of their bowls were completely clean! If that isn’t a sign that this recipe is the real deal, then I don’t know what is. It officially has my picky kids’ stamp of approval!

As the weather gets colder and the season begins to change, I’ve been loving to make more warm, hearty meals for my family, like my Spaghetti Squash Pizza Boats or my Best 30-Minute Skillet Lasagna. I am so excited to add this Classic Vegetarian Quinoa Chili to my family’s weekly dinner rotation, and I know you will be, too!

A pot of the loaded vegetarian quinoa chili, sitting on a countertop

What You Need to Make This Easy Vegetarian Chili

  • Olive Oil: Olive oil is my favorite for soups, because it’s heart-healthy and full of healthy fats. I recommend using a high-quality olive oil if you can – Trader Joe’s has a great California Olive Oil for only $9!
  • Onion: I like using yellow onion in this recipe especially, because it adds a mild, onion-y flavor that pairs well with all of the ingredients in this chili. However, any onion works!
  • Garlic: I always recommend using fresh garlic if/when you can, because it adds the most vibrant flavor. However, you can also use minced garlic if it’s all you have. Work with what you’ve got!
  • Seasonings: We’ll be seasoning this chili with two essential spices: cumin and chili powder.
  • Coconut Sugar: This is optional, but if you like your chili on the sweeter side, then a dash of coconut sugar adds the perfect balance of flavors!
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes are an essential component in chili, and in this recipe, we’ll use a combination of diced tomatoes and canned tomato sauce. The combination of both of these is KEY to this recipe, so be sure not to skip them!
  • Chipotles in Adobo: Chipotle peppers add the perfect kick to this recipe. Just make sure that they are chipotle peppers packaged in adobo sauce, because the added flavor makes this chili recipe shine.
  • Beans: In this recipe, we’ll be using a combination of kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and white beans. However, feel free to use whatever combination of beans that you have on hand!
  • Quinoa: Quinoa not only adds fiber to this recipe, but it also helps to keep this chili nice and hearty, so you’ll feel fuller, longer!
  • Vegetable Broth: To keep this chili vegetarian friendly, we’ll be using vegetable broth as the base for our chili.
  • Lime: A squeeze of lime adds the perfect balance of acidity.
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper: A touch of salt and pepper brings everything together!
  • Garnishes: These are all optional, however I love garnishing this chili with some crushed potato chips, shredded cheese, sour cream (or plant-based yogurt), chopped jalapeño, or cilantro!

How to Make This Perfect Weeknight Family Dinner Recipe

To make this perfect vegetarian winter chili recipe, start by adding olive oil to a large pot on the stove over medium heat. Next, prepare your alliums: dice your onion and mash your garlic. Then, add them to the pot alongside a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, the chili powder, cumin, and coconut sugar (if desired). Stir this mixture frequently for about 4-5 minutes.

Next, add your diced tomatoes to the pot alongside the chili peppers in adobo, the beans, and quinoa, stirring again until everything is fully incorporated. Finally, add in the tomato sauce and vegetable broth, and bring your chili to a gentle boil.

A close-up image of a bowl of the loaded vegetarian quinoa chili

Once your chili is boiling, turn the heat to low, then cover your pot and let it simmer for 20-22 minutes, until the quinoa is fully cooked through.

Once it’s done cooking, remove the lid, stir in the lime juice, and add more salt and pepper, if desired.

Finally, once it’s done, serve and enjoy! Store any leftovers in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to one week. Garnish with any toppings that you desire.

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a review and rating below! And, since I practically live on Instagram, be sure to tag me in your creations so that I can repost them! xx

** Photography by Gayle McLeod
A big bowl of the loaded vegetarian quinoa chili, sitting on a cutting board surrounded by ingredients
Dairy Free/gluten-free/Nut Free/Refined Sugar Free/Vegan

Classic Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

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Nicole Modic
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
SERVES 6 Servings
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In my opinion, there is no dish more warm, cozy, and comforting than chili, and this may be the BEST chili recipe yet. That's right, this Classic Vegetarian Quinoa Chili is everything that you love about your favorite, childhood chili recipe, but with a plant-based twist. It's hearty, it's creamy, it's perfectly seasoned, and the best part is – you can use any beans that you have on hand. This recipe is naturally gluten and dairy-free, and comes together in a matter of minutes. It's perfect for those cold winter days!

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Sugar optional
  • 1 14.5 oz. Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Diced Chipotles in Adobo
  • 1 Can Kidney Beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 Can Garbanzo Beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 Can White Beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • 1 14.5 oz Can Tomato Sauce
  • 3 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Lim juiced
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Start by adding olive oil to a large pot on the stove over medium heat. 
  • Next, prepare your alliums: dice your onion and mash your garlic.
  • Then, add them to the pot alongside a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, the chili powder, cumin, and coconut sugar (if desired).
  • Stir this mixture frequently for about 4-5 minutes
  • Next, add your diced tomatoes to the pot alongside the chili peppers in adobo, the beans, and quinoa, stirring again until everything is fully incorporated.
  •  Finally, add in the tomato sauce and vegetable broth, and bring your chili to a gentle boil.
  • Once your chili is boiling, turn the heat to low, then cover your pot and let it simmer for 20-22 minutes, until the quinoa is fully cooked through.
  • Once it’s done cooking, remove the lid, stir in the lime juice, and add more salt and pepper, if desired.
  • Finally, once it’s done, serve and enjoy! Store any leftovers in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to one week. Garnish with any toppings that you desire.

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in your posts and I’ll re-share!

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