This post was created in partnership with Muir Glen. All opinions are our own.
I first ate this quinoa chili—that is, the quinoa chili that inspired this recipe—when Alex and I went to lunch on a break from a class at our adoption agency. It was a much needed break; our heads were spinning with talk of birth moms and dads and legal risk and fees and lawyers. There are so many unknowns to this process. We’re now in this limbo phase, waiting for our lives to change. Have you ever taken a leap of faith, only to be stuck in a waiting game until your life looks different? Keep reading for this vegan chili and more about liminal space.
What’s great about this quinoa chili?
Now, this quinoa chili! It’s seriously good, full of savory flavors that wrap you like a cozy sweater. It’s modeled after that quinoa chili from our lunch date, this time using our favorite fire roasted tomatoes from Muir Glen. It’s simple and flavorful, with tons of savory veggies and of course, quinoa! Quinoa acts as the texture of where meat would be in this vegan chili, and brings in loads of plant based protein.
Every chili has a secret ingredient. The secret here? A bit of adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chili peppers in adobo sauce. It’s available at most groceries in the international foods aisle, and it brings an earthy, savory flavor that’s irreplaceable. Stirring in a bit of white wine vinegar at the end adds some brightness.
This savory, hearty chili works for lots of eaters: it fits into vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free diets. Drown it in hot sauce, or sprinkle it with all the toppings. To keep it vegan, use our Vegan Sour Cream or Cashew Cream instead of sour cream. For a zing, add Pickled Jalapeños!
What to serve with chili?
Now if you make this quinoa chili, what to serve with it? Here are a few options we love:
- Cornbread: Our favorite side dish to serve with chili (duh!) is Best Homemade Cornbread or Easy Vegan Cornbread. It’s so tender and moist, and seriously easy to whip up. The vegan version is especially good. We heartily recommend both!
- Salad: Another option is to serve with a green salad to balance the heartiness of the chili. We’d recommend our Best Tossed Salad Recipe with Avocado Dressing, or our Simplest Arugula Salad.
- Other ideas: We’ve got lots more! Check out these best sides to go with chili!
- 3/4 cup dry quinoa
- 1 large yellow onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 large carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 green bell pepper
- 15-ounce can black beans
- 15-ounce can red kidney beans
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
- 2 28-ounce cans tomatoes (we used crushed Muir Glen-brand tomatoes)
- 1 ½ cup frozen corn
- 4 ounces chopped green chiles
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Hot sauce, for serving
- Place 3/4 cup quinoa in a saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to very low. Cover the pot, and simmer where the water is just bubbling for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the water has been completely absorbed. (Check by pulling back the quinoa with a fork to see if water remains.) Turn off the heat and let sit covered to steam for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, chop the onion. Mince the garlic. Peel and chop the carrots. Chop the celery. Dice the green pepper. Drain and rinse the beans.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil, then saute the onion for 5 minutes. Add in garlic, carrot, celery, and green pepper, and saute about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the soy sauce and adobo sauce and cook 30 seconds more.
- Add the black beans, kidney beans, Muir Glen tomatoes, 2 cups of the cooked quinoa (reserve remainder for future use), corn, and green chiles. Add enough water to obtain a liquid consistency, about 3 cups. Season with the chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, and ground cumin and bay leaf. Simmer chili on low for 30 minutes.
- When ready to serve, stir in the white wine vinegar and several pinches of kosher salt. Taste, and add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve with hot sauce and other chili fixings of your choice (lime, cilantro, and so forth).