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”

  1. Tamara — January 31, 2013 @ 8:23 am

    I had a craving for chili and wanted to make it vegetarian. From a search I found this recipe….at first I thought a friend of mine had posted it because her baby is Caleb and hubby Josh! This recipe is GREAT. I used just one can of black beans, the only change. Very easy, very. I served with a pan of cornbread. Great on a stormy night here in the South and we have plenty left-overs.

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  3. Jessica Quarrie — February 4, 2013 @ 10:41 am

    I just made this recipe over the weekend and it was fantastic. I found the carrots did not soften up so I would recommed to cutting the carrots in smaller pieces. Also since I was making this for my 20 month old daughter I just used half of the jalapeno pepper. Thank you for the great recipe!!

    • Two Peas replied: — February 4th, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

      You are welcome!

  4. Tash — February 4, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

    Hi there! I’m wondering what the tomato sauce is like? Sauce over here is like ketchup, so would it be like a plain tomato pasta sauce? Or just tomato purée? Thanks!!

    • Two Peas replied: — February 4th, 2013 @ 7:24 pm

      Tomato sauce is tomato puree, not like ketchup:)

  5. Tash — February 4, 2013 @ 10:08 pm

    YAY! Thats what i went out and bought. This is cooking right now and MAN it tastes great :) It makes a LOT, lol so glad it freezes well :) Thank you!

  6. Aubrie — February 5, 2013 @ 11:53 pm

    This was delicious! I subbed a yellow pepper for the carrot because I didn’t have any, and a seeded, minced chipotle chili for the jalapeno. Yum!

    • Two Peas replied: — February 6th, 2013 @ 10:03 am

      So happy you liked the chili!

  7. Robin — February 6, 2013 @ 7:31 am

    Do you think it would be ok to leave this chili in a crockpot overnight, do you think it will hold together?

    • Two Peas replied: — February 6th, 2013 @ 10:03 am

      Yes, I think it would be just fine in the crockpot. Enjoy!

  8. Elizabeth — February 7, 2013 @ 3:04 pm

    How would you modify this for a crock pot? It looks delicious but I’d like something I can throw together in the morning and then come home to dinner ready and waiting for me…

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  10. Dave 1939 — February 10, 2013 @ 2:42 pm

    Made this for a chili cook-off contest. Everybody loved it. Thanks.

  11. Craig — February 11, 2013 @ 3:30 pm

    This chili really is fantastic. I’m not a vegan by any means, but my girlfriend tries to be. I made this and we both love it! I’ve made it several times now, as has she. I like to play around with the ingredients, but the mixture of quinoa, spices and lots of veggies never fails! Thanks for the recipe :)

  12. Steven — February 13, 2013 @ 2:37 pm

    By 2 “stalks” of celery, do you mean 2 entire heads or just 2 “sticks” from an entire head? Thank you.

    • Two Peas replied: — February 13th, 2013 @ 10:45 pm

      2 sticks of celery, not the entire head:) Sorry for the confusion.

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  18. Val — March 1, 2013 @ 8:54 am

    This chili is fantastic! My husband and I are trying to eat less meat so this is perfect! I found the recipe about a month ago and my husband loves it so much (as do I!) that I have made it at least once a week since then!

    Any chance you have the nutrition facts on this? I know it will change depending on the beans you use, but just wondering if you have a rough guess? I can always calculate myself! Thanks for such a great recipe!

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  23. Bria Pittman — March 26, 2013 @ 2:13 pm

    Just made this and it is AMAZING!!!! :) THANKS FOR SHARING

    • Two Peas replied: — March 26th, 2013 @ 9:23 pm

      Glad you liked the chili!

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  26. Corey — April 15, 2013 @ 10:56 am

    Could I use marinara sauce instead?

  27. Lauren — May 2, 2013 @ 7:44 pm

    I used this recipe for the annual Death Valley National Park Employee Chili Cook Off. It won the “Death Valley 2013 Veggie Chili Winner” title!

    Thanks so much for the great recipe. This is definitely going in the family recipe book!

    • Two Peas replied: — May 2nd, 2013 @ 10:04 pm

      Congrats on winning! Glad it was a hit!

  28. Liz Ashley — May 2, 2013 @ 9:56 pm

    Made this tonight and it is sooo yummy!! Chili is usually so filling and weighs you down for days, this one is actually filling but refreshing at the same time. I added Tofurkey Keilbasa to mine because my boyfriend is a meat-itarian and believe it or not, he did not even notice and gobbled it up. Not even know his chili was vegan (and trust
    Me I didn’t tell him) thank you!! This ones a keeper for sure.

    • Two Peas replied: — May 2nd, 2013 @ 10:03 pm

      So glad you liked the chili!

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  30. Olga — May 7, 2013 @ 5:29 pm

    Just made this for supper. It’s pretty good. I used 2 tablespoons of chili powder. Other veggie chili recipes I have made in the past have turned out “watery” but not this one — just the right consistency. I’ll be making it again. Thanks.

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  32. Marissa — May 20, 2013 @ 7:01 pm

    I just have to say I am a new fan of your blog! I have recently become obsessed with quinoa and saw a couple of good chili recipes! I did a Google search for vegetarian quinoa recipes (since I am vegetarian and a lot of my other searches came up with some sort of meat). I gravitated toward yours because of the picture. I made this recipe exactly how you said to (minus the celery – frankly, I don’t think hate is too strong of a word to use when describing my feelings toward it) and it was AMAZING! it was better than any chili I have EVER had! I made it for my parents while visiting them a couple weeks ago, paired with a jalapeno cheddar cornbread I also made, and they loved it too! (and both of them are avid meat eaters for the record). I loved it so much I was super disappointed that I had to leave the leftovers at my mom’s when flying back home – the left overs were just as good if not better than the first day batch. I ended up making it again when I got back to my house! I tweaked it a little this time since I loveee spicy food I used fire roasted tomatoes, more jalapenos (with seeds) and red chili flakes (along with red quinoa), and it was just as good! this recipe made me a huge fan of your blog and I am going through all of your past posts just to see what else I can make. Can I also just say that I did the nutritional value on this chili and its only 244 calories per serving and 3.5 grams of fat!? – as a one cup serving…BRILLIANT! I can’t wait to try a lot of your recipes and get excited for new posts! :)

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  34. leila — June 9, 2013 @ 12:50 pm

    thank you for making your print version truly print friendly.

  35. Robin — June 9, 2013 @ 9:07 pm

    This. Was. So. Yummy!!!! I forgot the red and green peppers :( but it was still so good! Great spicy kick and really filling, especially on a diet!

  36. Cara Roxanne — June 24, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

    This is currently simmering on my stove – the smell is driving us all wild! I can’t wait. <3

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  40. Katy — August 23, 2013 @ 11:39 am

    I made this yesterday and it’s delicious! I love the quinoa in it 😀

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