I first ate this chili — that is, the 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? That’s where we are, the classes and the gobs of paperwork behind us, and now it could be a month, 6 months, 1 year before there’s suddenly a tiny human in our home. Who will he or she be? We’re dying to know, but also trying not to think about it too much so we don’t get butterflies in our stomach.
And honestly, I don’t mind the wait now that I know it’s coming. In fact, we’re trying to live it up, with spontaneous dates and bike rides downtown to get coffee and lunch dates for quinoa chili and random weekend trips to Seattle (this coming weekend). Any other ideas?
To usher in fall, we’ve created this quinoa chili modeled after the chili from our lunch date, using our favorite tomatoes from Muir Glen. We wanted to keep it simple and flavorful, and incorporate tons of savory veggies. It’s not quite what we had on our lunch, but it is quite tasty. We kept it light on the chili powder so the other flavors could shine through, and our secret ingredients were a bit of adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chili peppers in adobo (available at most groceries in the ethnic foods aisle), and stirring in a bit of white wine vinegar at the end for some brightness. (If you love chili powder taste, try our vegetarian chili that stars a full 1/2 cup chili powder!)
Why to make it: A savory, hearty chili that’s packed with protein and works for vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free eaters. Down it in hot sauce! (Or not, if you’re my parents — hey, Mom!)
When to make it: Fall or winter
Caveats: The ingredient list might look long, but many of the ingredients are pantry staples
What to serve with it: Loaded sweet potato rounds (for vegan, omit the cheese & use cilantro drizzle)
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This recipe is…
This quinoa vegan chili recipe is vegetarian and gluten free.
For gluten-free diets, use gluten-free soy sauce (or omit and use additional kosher salt to taste).
- 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 chilies
- 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 1 onion, mince 4 cloves garlic, peel and chop 2 carrots, chop 2 stalks celery, and dice 1 green pepper. Drain and rinse the beans.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons 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 3 tablespoons soy sauce and 2 tablespoons 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), 1 1/2 cup corn, and green chilies. Add enough water to obtain a liquid consistency, about 3 cups. Season with 1 tablespoon chili powder, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons paprika, and 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 1 bay leaf. Simmer chili on low for 30 minutes.
- When ready to serve, stir in 1 tablespoon 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).
This post is sponsored by Muir Glen. All opinions are our own; we love their tomatoes and use them often. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who keep A Couple Cooks in action!
About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is author and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious, and a recipe developer and healthy & sustainable food advocate behind the award-nominated food blog A Couple Cooks.
Cookbook Author and photographer
Alex Overhiser is photographer and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best new cookbooks” by Bon Appetit, and a recipe developer, photographer, and technical expert at A Couple Cooks.