Quinoa Chili

This quinoa chili is a vegetarian’s delight. Quinoa, black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, onions, and garlic are cooked in a broth infused with chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and unsweetened cocoa. Piled on top are diced avocado, grated Cheddar cheese, sour cream, crumbled pita chips, and cilantro leaves.

White bowl with quinoa chili, red kidney beans, tomatoes, black beans, chopped avocado, grated, cheese, tortilla chips, a black spoon

No ordinary vegetarian chili, this quinoa chili is sufficiently satisfying to please all the palates at your table. There’s the expected beans, tomatoes, and quinoa but it’s jacked up with cocoa and cinnamon in addition to chili powder and cumin. A spectacular one-pot supper that makes ample leftovers to see you through school and work lunches.–Angie Zoobkoff

Quinoa Chili

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 15 M
  • 50 M
  • Serves 8
5/5 - 2 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the The Minimalist Kitchen cookbook

Want it? Click it.


  • For the chili
  • For garnish


Warm a large Dutch oven over medium heat and swirl in the oil. Stir in the onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt and sauté until tender, stirring occasionally, 7 to 10 minutes.

Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, cocoa powder, and cinnamon, and cook for no more than 30 seconds. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the tomatoes, beans, and 2 teaspoons salt, stirring to combine. Cook for about 10 minutes on a low simmer, stirring occasionally. (You can cover and refrigerate the chili and finish making it just before serving.)

Stir in the water and quinoa and adjust the heat to bring the chili to a simmer. Cover and cook until the quinoa is tender, 25 to 45 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the white ring on the quinoa grain is visible. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. If you like your chili spicier, stir in a squeeze of Sriracha. If the chili tastes too acidic from the tomatoes, add a touch of honey.

Serve, offering sour cream, cheese, cilantro, pita chips, and avocado on the side for garnish.

Print RecipeBuy the The Minimalist Kitchen cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This quinoa chili was practically indistinguishable from one with meat, producing a hearty and satisfying meal. The flavors blended together beautifully so that no one element overwhelmed any of the others. The cinnamon and chocolate became part of the whole rather than identifiable within it. I used a 6-quart Dutch oven that was the perfect size for this recipe. The directions were clear and accurate for the most part, but in two places where I followed the directions as written I would adjust next time. I sautéed the onions for the 4 minutes suggested in the recipe, and while they appeared tender, they were still slightly crunchy in the finished dish. Next time, I would continue to sauté them until soft before adding the spices to eliminate that raw crunchiness. The quinoa took much longer than expected to become tender, about 45 minutes, and then only when I raised the temperature to medium from its low simmer. This resulted in a slightly thicker chili, a personal preference, as more liquid evaporated at the higher temperature. Both the heat and acidity levels seemed perfect, so I didn’t add either the sriracha or the honey and garnished with a bit of grated cheddar.

Chili lovers, add this recipe to your repertoire. Although the recipe is written as vegetarian it provides a wonderful base for any protein (chicken, beef, pork) in place of the quinoa. I would argue to always include the quinoa—it provides nice texture and protein punch. The flavor reminded me of one of my favorite versions of chili: Cincinnati Chili which most of the time includes unsweetened cocoa and cinnamon which lends smoky depth to a chili. I have been enjoying the leftovers for lunch all week and the flavor is just as amazing and satisfying as the first day. I served this topped with avocado, Greek yogurt (in place of sour cream), shredded pepper jack cheese (we love spice) and crumbled 3-seed sweet potato crackers (thank you, Trader Joe's). We forgot to try the drizzle of honey or Sriracha, the flavors were just right.

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. This is the best veggie chili I have ever made ! ( and I’ve been cooking vegetarian since the late 70’s ) Hearty, Rich and Fragrant. Love the combo of cinnamon/unsweetened cocoa. I understand why they used Red Quinoa instead of the white Quinoa, its a bit heartier. (unless they just wanted the red to blend in ) I prepared this with all Organic products except for the garlic/cocoa powder, I believe this really makes a difference. I buy bulk organic spices and they’re just more fragrant/flavorful. This Recipe is a staple in my home now and I will definitely check out her cookbook. TY 🙂

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Rate this recipe!

Have you tried this recipe? Let us know what you think.

Upload a picture of your dish