Two Peas and Their Pod

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

Caleb loves this Vegetarian Quinoa Chili. No, we didn’t give him a bowl to eat, but he loves the word quinoa. I was holding Caleb when I told Josh we were having Quinoa Chili for dinner and he started laughing. I asked Caleb if he liked Quinoa Chili and he started giggling like crazy. Every time I would say quinoa, he would crack up…so of course I said it one too many times:) Now that I think of it, quinoa is kind of a funny word. I am glad my Vegetarian Quinoa Chili made Caleb so happy because it certainly made our bellies and tastebuds happy.

This chili is hearty and very filling. It is vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free, but meat lovers will enjoy it as well. The chili has black beans, red kidney beans, tomatoes, and lots of vegetables-onion, carrots, celery, green pepper, red pepper, and zucchini. We threw in a jalapeño, chili powder, and cumin for added spice.

The beans and quinoa team up to make this chili a protein power house! I love the texture the quinoa adds to the chili. It is my new favorite chili recipe. You can top the chili with green onions, cheese, sour cream/Greek yogurt, avocado slices, chips, crackers, or serve cornbread on the side. The chili is good, if not better, the second day. We enjoyed leftovers for a few days and loved it every time. And if you can’t eat it all, put the chili in the freezer for a rainy day-it freezes really well.

If you are looking for a new chili recipe to try this winter, make a big pot of Vegetarian Quinoa Chili. It will warm you up and fill you up. This chili is also perfect for the upcoming Super Bowl. It is easy to make and your guests will love it. I know we are going to serve this chili at our Super Bowl party.

I can’t wait until Caleb is old enough to taste this chili, but until then I am fine with him just giggling at the name. I am so glad he loves quinoa:) Today is Caleb’s 4 month birthday! Happy 4 months to our sweet little pea!

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

Yield: Serves 10-12

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

This hearty chili is made with beans, vegetables, and quinoa. Meat lovers and vegetarians will love this chili!


1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
2-3 tablespoons chili powder, depending on your taste (we used 3)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Optional toppings: green onions, avocado slices, cheese, sour cream, Greek yogurt, chips, crackers, etc.


1. In a medium sauce pan, combine the quinoa and water. Cook over medium heat until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, jalapeño, carrot, celery, peppers, and zucchini. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Stir in the cooked quinoa. Season with chili powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Simmer chili on low for about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Note-garnish the chili with green onions, avocado slices, cheese, sour cream/Greek yogurt, chips, crackers, if desired. This chili freezes well.

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336 Responses to “Vegetarian Quinoa Chili”

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  1. Kathryn — January 27, 2012 @ 5:05 am

    This looks absolutely delicious Maria and just the kind of food that I need in my life!

  2. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga — January 27, 2012 @ 5:22 am

    Beautiful chili (I have such a hard time photographing foods like this) but yours looks and sounds great.

    And I’d take this chili over bland rice cereal if I were Caleb, any day :)

  3. Eri — January 27, 2012 @ 5:48 am

    Hi Maria

    Your little guy is so cute, keep enjoying him!! They grow up so fast!!! And thanks for all the recipes you post, we have been enjoying them. I am sure I will be making this Quinoa chili soon.

  4. Caroline — January 27, 2012 @ 6:24 am

    I love this! I’m actually getting ready to put some vegetarian chili in the crock pot for dinner tonight. I love the quinoa addition (que Caleb laughing)! 😉

  5. Tara — January 27, 2012 @ 6:47 am

    I was JUST thinking that I wanted to put quinoa in a chili recipe – you read my mind! Thanks so much for this!

  6. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — January 27, 2012 @ 7:25 am

    Quinoa?! COOL! I need to try this!

  7. Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids — January 27, 2012 @ 7:43 am

    I still have not cooked with quinoa, but this recipe has pr9mpted me to add it to my shopping list. This chili looks absolutely fantastic. Happy Friday!

  8. Blog is the New Black — January 27, 2012 @ 7:55 am

    I’ve been trying to do more veg meals lately and this looks like a winner for sure!

  9. Heather (Heather's Dish) — January 27, 2012 @ 7:55 am

    how cute! i love when babies crack up at the silliest things…methinks a video of the Quinoa Crackup is in order :)

    • Two Peas replied: — January 27th, 2012 @ 8:52 am

      I need to take more videos of Caleb, great idea!

  10. Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum — January 27, 2012 @ 8:13 am

    I’ve never done vegetarian chili but I love quinoa and I am obsessed with beans, so I think I might have to give this a try. And I agree with Heather about the video! :)

  11. Elizabeth — January 27, 2012 @ 8:15 am

    I just made a quinoa salad last night, reminding me how much I love it and that I need to cook it more. Thanks for the recipe!!

  12. Erica — January 27, 2012 @ 8:16 am

    I love when random things make them laugh!! Greatest noise. That chili looks so comforting!

  13. Emily — January 27, 2012 @ 8:40 am

    This looks amazing! I have been searching chili recipes for the past couple days now and this is definitely a winner. Is there a way I can just throw it all in a slow cooker?

    • Two Peas replied: — January 27th, 2012 @ 8:52 am

      Yes, this chili would be great in the slow cooker. Enjoy!

  14. Melissa @ Baking For The Boys — January 27, 2012 @ 8:56 am

    I really like quinoa, unfortunately, I’m the only one in this household who does. My son used to crack up at the word “whooping crane”.

  15. Bev Weidner — January 27, 2012 @ 9:01 am

    SNUUUGGLE snuggle snuggle snuggle. With the chili. Yes.

  16. Becca@learnasyougocook — January 27, 2012 @ 9:15 am

    My baby sister used to crack up when we said “zip,zero,nada,goose eggs” (you know from tale of desperoux?) But the chili looks fantastically AMAZING!

  17. Totally love this recipe. I never had quinoa, but I have a box of it I picked up from Trader’s in the cupboard. I think I am going to make this on Sunday. It would be great for taking to lunches next week.

  18. Urban Wife — January 27, 2012 @ 9:39 am

    Quinoa in a chili?! Simply awesome.

  19. Jenny Flake — January 27, 2012 @ 9:43 am

    We love chili so much, haven’t tried it with Quinoa before! Sounds delish!

  20. Laura @ Lauras Weekly Menus — January 27, 2012 @ 9:44 am

    Looks delicious! I’ve been wanting to try quinoa for a while but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

  21. Brooke (Baking with Basil) — January 27, 2012 @ 9:52 am

    I can just imagine how good this is! I can’t wait to eat tomato based foods again, this heartburn during pregnancy is out of control!

  22. Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles — January 27, 2012 @ 10:01 am

    I’ll admit to giggling when saying quinoa, too. :) This looks delicious, Maria.

  23. Lori @ RecipeGirl — January 27, 2012 @ 10:16 am

    That’s adorable. Maybe you can teach him the right way to say it so he doesn’t mess that up like everyone else I know!

  24. laura tillinghast — January 27, 2012 @ 10:33 am

    This might be dinner tonight! thank you, love quinoa! Caleb is right its a great word!

  25. Rachelle — January 27, 2012 @ 10:37 am

    I was just thinking about making a veggie chili this weekend. The addition of quinoa is a great idea and will be a nice change to the rice that I typically add. I am in love with all of your recipes and cant wait to make the queso dip for superbowl sunday!!

  26. Jamie @ Thrifty Veggie Mama — January 27, 2012 @ 10:46 am

    This looks so good. I don’t know why I haven’t thought to put quinoa in chili before.

  27. Mercedes — January 27, 2012 @ 10:51 am

    I love this idea! I can’t wait to try it!

  28. Anna @ hiddenponies — January 27, 2012 @ 11:00 am

    This looks perfect – I’m always looking for new ways to use quinoa, definitely going to try this! Your photos are so gorgeous and inviting!

  29. Emily S — January 27, 2012 @ 11:22 am

    this sounds so good and that is the cutest quinoa story!

  30. Amanda — January 27, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

    Vegetarian chili sounds great! I’ll have to try it soon.

  31. aida mollenkamp — January 27, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

    I like the idea of adding quinoa for more texture. I’ll try that next time I make chili!

  32. Pam — January 27, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

    I love chili – this is such a creative and tasty looking recipe.

  33. Meghan — January 27, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

    What a great way to use quinoa!! Never would of thought to use it in chili!

  34. susan — January 27, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

    Looks delish, Maria! Love Quinoa anything.

  35. Erin — January 27, 2012 @ 1:34 pm

    Definitely wouldn’t miss the meat here! This looks super hearty.

  36. Jamie — January 27, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

    Love chili and just don’t make it often enough. Love the vegetarian version and I must try it. Quinoa is one of those things, too, that I love and don’t cook with hardly ever! Delicious!

  37. Deliciously Organic — January 27, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

    This looks amazing! Perfect for Super Bowl Sunday!

  38. Marina {} — January 27, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

    I love adding quinoa to soups and stews. This looks amazing!

  39. chinmayie @ love food eat — January 27, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

    That looks like my kind of meal :)

  40. Lucy Lean — January 27, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

    You can wean him on to vegetarian quinoa chili! Love this recipe thanks for sharing.

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