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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321 Responses to “Vegetarian Quinoa Chili”

  1. stacy — February 2, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

    Thanks for the idea! I added garlic, mushrooms and some cauliflower I needed to use up, as well as more spices. It is great! I wouldn’t have thought of adding quinoa and it bulks up the dish enough that I don’t need to eat it with cornbread (which is usually a MUST) :-)

  2. Two Peas — February 2, 2012 @ 10:37 pm

    Glad you enjoyed the chili. I will have to try mushrooms next time:)

  3. Alex — February 3, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

    My favorite chili ever. So flavorful

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  5. gregg — February 5, 2012 @ 9:28 am

    Quinoa is a wonderful grain but is NOT exactly a “protein powerhouse”, even when combined with beans. It has about a 20-35% of the protein of the same weight of beef, but without all the nasty saturated fat of beef.

    So you’ll have to eat 3x as much chili to get the same protein as veggie-ladden beef chili. The superbowl parties do tend to go on & on, so you’ll have plenty of time for eating the second and third bowls…

  6. Nikki — February 5, 2012 @ 11:46 am

    Great idea to use quinoa in veggie chili – yum! If you make this again, try swapping the 1 can of tomato sauce for 1 can of Campbell’s tomato soup…an old Chili trick of my mom’s that adds great flavor.

  7. Two Peas — February 5, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

    Thanks for the tip!

  8. megabrooke — February 5, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

    Made this yesterday and it was a HUGE hit for my boyfriend and I. Love it and it makes a TON! Great for leftovers this week, and we froze a bunch too! Mmmm, thanks!

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  10. Jessica — February 7, 2012 @ 4:39 am

    Thought this recipe looked good and tried it out for dinner this evening. It was absolutely delicious! Move over rice – quinoa is my new favourite. Thanks for a great recipe!

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  15. Kathy Patalsky — February 9, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

    ooo quinoa chili! hooray to that genius idea! :) beautiful pics Maria!

  16. Two Peas — February 9, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

    Thanks Kathy!

  17. Nicole P. — February 10, 2012 @ 6:20 am

    I made this for our Super Bowl get-together. It was delicious. What a great way to use Quinoa. Thank you!

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  19. Miriam — February 13, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

    We made this and loved it! Even my carnivore husband and kiddos gobbled it all up! The kids requested it in their thermos for lunch at school, and still wanted it AGAIN after school as a snack! We are having it again tonight, per their request! Thanks for a great, healthy, crowd pleaser!

  20. Two Peas — February 13, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

    Yay! So glad everyone liked the chili!

  21. Lisa — February 13, 2012 @ 10:21 pm

    I want to thank you so VERY much for sharing this chili recipe! My children and I love quinoa and try to have at least one veggie night every week. This is DELICIOUS! We will definitely be having this at least twice a month!

  22. Brenley — February 15, 2012 @ 11:19 am

    This turned out AMAZING. We added an additional jalepeño and chili powder to give it a little more spice. This has become my new favorite chili recipie. Thank you for sharing this!

  23. MLR — February 19, 2012 @ 8:44 pm

    Just made this and it’s delicious. I added some white pepper and salt, and bloomed the chilli power and cumin in a bit of oil. It makes a LOT though – will be freezing quite a bit of this.

  24. Nicholas Sloanhoffer — February 21, 2012 @ 10:57 am

    Thanks for the vegetarian chili recipe. It is nice to have a nice hearty meal to fill you up.

  25. Ashley — February 21, 2012 @ 11:47 am

    Thanks for a great vegetarian recipe! I made this for dinner last night and my husband and I both loved it. It was very hearty and you definitely couldn’t tell that meat was missing. This was also my first time making quinoa and it added a nice texture as well (plus the added nutrition benefits are great too). I cut my recipe in half since it is only the two of us, and we still had some leftovers for lunches today.

  26. Two Peas — February 21, 2012 @ 6:35 pm

    Glad you enjoyed the chili!

  27. Heidi — February 22, 2012 @ 8:44 pm

    so i am planning on making this in the crock pot, but am wondering if i should cook the quinoa separate and then incorporate it for the last 30 minutes of cooking OR can i add it with all the other stuff at the beginning of the process?

  28. Two Peas — February 22, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

    I would stir the quinoa in later so it doesn’t get mushy. 30 minutes before would be perfect! Enjoy!

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  30. Heidi — February 23, 2012 @ 10:02 pm

    made it in the slow cooker today and added the quinoa for the last half hour. (oh, and i doubled the quinoa because i love it). Oh so good!! Thanks for the recipe!

  31. Two Peas — February 24, 2012 @ 9:28 am

    Glad it worked in the slow cooker!

  32. Sara — February 26, 2012 @ 7:00 pm

    It’s sleeting & very chilly in Minnesota today and I just got done making this “chili”and it is fabulous! My house smells great and it was the perfect treat. I pre-packaged meals for the week and the rest is in the freezer. Thanks for sharing this!!

  33. Two Peas — February 26, 2012 @ 7:03 pm

    I love freezing this chili! Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

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  39. Ilana — May 14, 2012 @ 11:06 pm

    What brand of tomato sauce do you use in your chili?

  40. Two Peas — May 14, 2012 @ 11:44 pm

    I like Muir Glen.

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