Healthy Vegan Quinoa Chili

About 5 years ago, I veganized my mom’s chili recipe by replacing the ground beef with Yves veggie ground round. I made it like that for years, doubling the recipe, and freezing it so that there was always a warm comforting meal available at the drop of a hat.

Then I moved to Sydney, Australia, and Yves products are not available here. After some really bad experiences with vegan sausages from a local company (mushy, tasteless goo), I was too scared to risk a good batch of chili on their vegan mince meat. And honestly, even if I could find Yves products here, they’re still a processed food, which I’m really trying to avoid these days. So I knew that I had to come up with a better solution.

Fresh Corn Kernels Red and Black Quinoa

I tried using firm tofu at one point, and while it tasted OK, the white crumbled tofu didn’t compliment the other colors very well and it had a spongy consistency. Then one day, I happened to have dark red and black quinoa on hand, so I decided to try that. It ended-up being the perfect choice because the dark color of the quinoa really complemented the overall color of the chili. Made this way, the chili is thick and hearty - and I think that it surpasses any meat or “vegan-meat” version out there!

Quinoa Chili - Vegan and Gluten-Free

Notes

  • I used fresh corn this time because that’s what I had on hand, but I usually use canned (and drained) corn, which works fine. Frozen corn kernels would work too.
  • Feel-free to use other beans, or a combination of beans for this. I’ve used a kidney bean/chickpea combination in the past, and black beans would also be really great.
  • I don’t like super-spicy foods, so feel-free to adjust the chili powder and/or add jalapeno, chipotle, etc.
  • I normally serve this with diced avocado and/or vegan sour cream, but shredded cucumber is also a really light and refreshing option. Either way, a big side of tortilla chips is an absolute must for me!
  • This chili freezes and reheats well, so I often double the recipe so that I have it on-hand for those cool autumn/winter nights, or to enjoy out on the patio or deck in the summer.

Quinoa Chili - Vegan and Gluten-Free

4.8 from 10 reviews
Healthy Vegan Quinoa Chili
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This healthy vegan quinoa chili is hearty and delicious. Go ahead and double the batch, it freezes beautifully! Vegan / Gluten-Free
Author:
Recipe type: Main, Entree
Cuisine: Mexican, Tex-Mex
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well (I use red & black quinoa, but regular white quinoa is fine)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper (capsicum), seeded, diced
  • 2 cans (400g) diced tomatoes with juices
  • 2 cans (420g) kidney beans, NOT drained
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup corn kernels (drained if using canned)
Serve With (Optional)
  • cucumber
  • avocado
  • cilantro (fresh coriander)
  • tortilla chips
  • vegan sour cream
  • vegan cheese
Instructions
  1. Bring vegetable stock to boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa, stir, cover, and simmer on lowest setting until ready, about 15 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when little curls stick-out from the grains. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan or stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic, and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add celery and carrot, and saute until tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add bell pepper, tomatoes, kidney beans, chili powder, oregano and cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir-in quinoa and corn.
  4. Serve topped with diced avocado, tofu sour cream, cilantro (fresh coriander), and/or shredded cucumber, and with a side of corn chips or cornbread/corn muffins.
  5. To freeze chili, let chili cool completely and freeze in freezer-safe containers. To cook from frozen state, pop chili into an oven-safe casserole dish and COVER with a lid or aluminum foil before baking for 50 minutes at 375F/190C.

Quinoa Chili - Vegan and Gluten-Free

47 Comments

  1. This chili looks fantastic! I wish I had a big bowl of it waiting for me at home! Perfect for a damp, dreary, cold winter-like May day. =)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Lauren – thanks for your comment! I’m checking out your blog now – happy to be in touch! :)

      Reply
  2. That is one beautiful bowl of chili! I’ll bet the quinoa is just perfect. I’ve made a vegan chili with bulgur wheat, which also added a hearty element.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks for your comment Maryea! I’ve never tried bulgar wheat in chili but that sounds delicious :)

      Reply
  3. LiberalVixen says:

    I make a vegan chili with brown lentils, kidney beans, red lentils, black beans and chickpeas. When I made it for my office chili cookoff…I won the “strangest ingredient” award for the chickpeas…:)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks for your comment – that combo sounds delicious. Funny enough, I made this vegan chili a few years ago for work too, and because I used the vegan ground “beef”, no one knew it was vegan. With all those awesome ingredients, how could you even miss meat? :)

      Reply
  4. daina says:

    I love vegan chilli more than the meat version now!! I used lentils last time, but might finally try out Quinoa now :) And with the cold weather about this is a perfect time to make a batch… yumm!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Yay Daina, so glad to hear that! I know you like to cook for the week and/or freeze large batches and this is a great recipe for that. I always double the batch when I’m making chili. Minimal amount of extra work, and twice the meals! Thanks for your comment! :)

      Reply
  5. Yes! Yeah for quinoa! It’s a bonus because Danna will actually eat it as well.. and doesn’t it consider it one of those “weird” things that I cook with.

    Going to try this recipe when I make my next batch of chili.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Ian – Thanks for your comment! Oh I’m glad to hear that Danna likes quinoa. It’s so healthy and I love how quick it is to make. If you remember my WebTeam chili, this is the same recipe – I just used the fake ground beef before, but otherwise, it’s the same. Hope all is well with you and your family! :)

      Reply
  6. I love quinoa in chili. I don’t miss the meat at all. I like to add frozen corn kernels and thinly sliced carrots (they crunch like water chestnuts).

    I like your suggestion to grate cucumbers for a garnish. I will have to try that soon.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Tammi – Thanks for your comment. Great idea on using frozen corn… I hadn’t thought of that but I’ll revise my post above to include it!

      Reply
  7. Lisette says:

    Oooh this is the famous chilli you mentioned – can’t wait to try it!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Let me know if you do. Matty absolutely loves it and I love freezing big batches for quick weekday dinners ;)

      Reply
  8. Ellie says:

    This looks divine! :-) Unfortunately I have a bizarre bell pepper intolerance so I’d have to omit it from the recipe. Do you think I could possibly substitute the bell pepper with a fresh tomato or would you recommend something else?

    Just out of curiousity, is there a particular reason you don’t drain the beans in this recipe? I’m just wondering what would be required if I used fresh beans instead (just extra liquid)?

    I only stumbled across your website this evening and I’m so glad I found it; the recipes are all so amazing! :-)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Ellie – Thanks so much for the kind words :)

      As for the chili, yes you could definitely swap-out the bell pepper some something else. Zucchini or carrots or celery would be my choice. The beans are left undrained for a bit more liquid so add a 1/2 cup of water/broth if you’re using fresh beans. Let me know when you make it and what you think!

      Reply
  9. Debbie says:

    Thanks so much for another great recipe!! I made this last night (I used a mix of kidney and pinto beans, tweaked the seasonings a bit and added a couple chipotle peppers b/c the hubby likes the heat!) and served it with Daiya cheese, homemade tofu sour cream, grated cucumber (Such a great idea!!) and corn chips. My omni husband said, and I quote, “I think this is one of the best chilis I’ve ever had!” Btw, he usually claims he doesn’t like quinoa… Guess I now have a way to sneak it in…lol Will definitely add to my roster =)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Debbie!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment – I’m so happy to hear that this was a hit in your house. It’s definitely not a super-spicy chili so adding a bit of heat makes sense (my omni fiance hates the heat so I always have to tame things down for him). Glad to hear that you’ve found a way to sneak quinoa into your husband’s diet – you really can’t taste or “feel” it once you have everything else in there. This would be amaaaaazing with vegan sour cream and Daiya cheese! There’s no good vegan cheese here in Australia, but I’ll definitely be doing that when we’re back in Canada next year.

      Thanks again for your comments – you’ve made my day :)

      Reply
  10. Rie says:

    I just made this tonight, with a few small adjustments.
    -I used leek instead of onion
    -I used smoky paprika, cayenne pepper and piri piri flakes instead of chili, oregano and cumin
    -I left out the capsicum.

    I have to say, it was completely amazing, waaaay better than I expected. And very filling too! Will definitely make again.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks for taking the time to write and share your modifications, which I think are great! Glad you liked the recipe – it’s a staple in my house :)

      Reply
  11. Tom Tom says:

    G’Day Vegangela

    Any idea as to how long this chili can be frozen for? Thanks for the great recipe BTW :) Now I just have to find someone to make it for me

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi! I would say 6 months? I’ve stored it that long and it was still great :)

      Reply
  12. Wendy says:

    Love this recipe. I am a gluten free vegan and have been searching for the perfect chili recipe. I cooked the quinoa in a pot and saute the veggies then threw it all in the crockpot. I then put in the fridge in the crock overnight and reheated the next day in the crockpot and it was still delicous

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      That sounds great – thanks for the tip!

      Reply
  13. Bec says:

    After finding your raw pad thai (and loving it), I found this…and loved it too! Great high protein, vegie filled recipe. I’ve been enjoying this with corn thins. Really yummy. Thank you! :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      You’re so welcome! Thanks for taking the time to comment :)

      Reply
  14. Love chili on a cold day like today, never thought to use quinoa as a meat substitute! Great idea. I’m going to have to check out your pad thai recipe aa wel…

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Isn’t it the best? Try the quinoa – I find it to be very satisfying! Oh, and the pad thai recipe is awesome. I wish I could take credit for it, but that one’s not mine…

      Reply
  15. Sandra says:

    I loved this chili! Made it to the letter, and it was (as my husband says) a TASTE SENSATION! Thanks so much.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Sandra, I’m so glad to hear it! Thanks for taking the time to let me know :)

      Reply
  16. Mike says:

    I made this for a dinner party and it totally killed it! When I’m lazy I make burritos using Sudehao to replace the meat and whatever else in the wrap- D-LISH!

    Thanks Veg-Angela

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Mike! I’ve never heard of Sudehao – I’ll have to look into it. Glad this was a hit, thanks for taking the time to write :)

      Reply
  17. Saida says:

    I’ve made this twice and it’s kick ass! Love it. Thank you.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Yay! I’m so glad to hear it. Autumn is aeround the corner, so I’ll be making a big batch of it myself very soon… Thanks for taking the time to comment :)

      Reply
  18. Jill says:

    Thanks for sharing this. This has become our favorite chili recipe – and one of our main go-to meals as we’ve transitioned to vegan eating. Favorite toppings are guacamole and shredded cucumber. YUM.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I’m so glad to hear that! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment :)

      Reply
  19. Chloe says:

    This recipe is delicious! I made it for a friend coming over for lunch and she loved it. I made far too much and managed to get another three meals from the leftovers. I added a few more chilli flakes than suggested, but only because I prefer hotter food. I’m not vegan, but trying this and seeing some of your other recipes will inspire me to try more vegan dishes. Thank you. :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Chloe! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I’m glad to hear that the chili was such a hit. Please let me know what other recipes you try :)

      Reply
  20. Sanerica says:

    Oh my! I tried this today! I used purple onion instead of the white because that’s what I had on hand. It was great. I topped mine off with avocado and cilantro. The recipe made a lot..Thanks! Keep them coming!!!

    Reply
    • I’m so glad you liked it! Thanks for writing :)

      Reply
  21. Lizzy I. says:

    I recently had quinoa chili from a vegan take-out place and I was looking to recreate that dish. I made this chili last night for friends and family and everyone agreed that it was delicious! Thanks so much. Your blog is making me love cooking again!

    Reply
    • What a kind thing to say! I’m so glad you all enjoyed the chili. Thanks for writing :)

      Reply
  22. Lisa says:

    Made this tonight. It was very good but then again so are all variations of chili if you ask me. I’m in no way vegan (although I wish I was) but had all the items on hand. I was going to say that it was a bit dry and then realized that I wasn’t supposed to drain and rinse the beans!!! Oh well! Still delicious!

    Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Eeek! Glad to hear you still enjoyed it. Thanks for writing :)

      Reply
  23. Jules says:

    Thank you – fantastic dish, num num – excellent addition to our vegetarian repertoire

    Reply
    • You’re welcome, thanks for writing :)

      Reply
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