Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

This super healthy Vegetarian Quinoa Chili is loaded with three different types of beans, corn, and quinoa. It’s hearty, thick, filling, and full of flavor — so much so that you won’t miss the meat. Serve it with some Homemade Cornbread or Homemade Tortilla Chips to complete the meal!

If you like this vegetarian dish, then try my Best Fried Rice and my Chickpea Curry!

Healthy Vegetarian Quinoa Chili |

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

I love a good chili especially one that’s healthy and loaded with fiber. So, I packed this chili with three types of beans, quinoa, corn, onions and garlic. Trust me — you will not miss the meat in this vegetarian version!

Other than being a healthy spin on this classic cold-weather dish, perhaps the best part of this vegetarian chili is that it’s super easy to throw together and only requires 10 minutes of prep time. Then, you just let the Dutch oven and stovetop do the rest of the work. This chili also yields tons of leftovers and is freezer friendly!

This chili recipe is loaded with filling and hearty flavor. I threw in some chili powder and paprika for added spice, which helps it taste similar to the chili of your childhood. I also like to add a couple dashes of hot sauce. That can be omitted if you don’t like a lot of spice.

This dish makes for the perfect super bowl party meal, weeknight supper, or made-ahead lunches for the work week. Don’t forget to whip up some of my favorite Homemade Cornbread or my easy Homemade Tortilla Chips for dipping!

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili |

Is Chili Soup?

It’s a debate as old as time. (Maybe not for normal people, but at least it is for us foodies!) Is chili actually a type of soup? A stew? Or is it a food category of food entirely on its own?

The simple answer is … unclear. Lets weigh both sides of the argument.

Many people say there’s no way chili can be considered a type of soup because it doesn’t feature the staple feature of soup — thin and copious broth. Although, that’s not entirely true. Chili does feature a broth base from the stock used and water cooked out of the vegetables, but it’s much more thick and packed full of other ingredients that make it a filling meal all by itself; more like a stew. Of course, chili gets its name from the fact that it typically features chili powder and chili peppers. However, a chili like this vegetarian version is more broth-y than traditional meat chili or chili con carne.

Additionally, chili is typically listed as an option on restaurant menus for being a “soup of the day.” Not to mention you eat it out of a bowl with a spoon and, oftentimes, with bread or crackers.

However, the International Chili Society weighed in on this debate and stated that true chili is not too thin nor too thick, making it neither a soup nor a stew, and that chili is most often served in a bowl, although it should not run (as soup would) if served on a plate or atop fan-favorite pairings such as burgers, hot dogs, or omelets. Whether you eat it from a bowl or plate, with a spoon or fork, the ICS believes chili is definitely not a soup.

In other words, they are the global authority on chili, and it’s their official opinion that chili is not — and should never be considered — a soup. Hard to argue with that, right?

Honestly, call it what you want — as long as you’re eating it!

Key Ingredients for Vegetarian Chili

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: To sauté the onions and garlic
  • Veggies: One large onion (diced) and four cloves garlic (minced) sautéed. Then two 14.5-oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes, two cups crushed tomatoes, and one 7-oz can diced green chiles added.
  • Quinoa: One cup cooked total for this stovetop vegetarian chili recipe. Leave uncooked if using a slow cooker or Instant Pot.
  • Water: One cup to help everything cook and come together. Also makes the broth component for the chili.
  • Dry Seasonings: Two tablespoons chili powder, two teaspoons ground cumin, one teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder, two teaspoons paprika, kosher salt, and freshly cracked pepper.
  • Beans: One 15-oz can red kidney beans, one 15-oz can light red kidney beans, and one 15-oz can black beans — all drained and rinsed.
  • Corn: One cup from frozen (thawed)
  • Optional toppings: Shredded cheese, sour cream, green onions, sliced peppers, and/or avocado, if desired.

TIP: Make this vegetarian even more hearty by adding starchy ingredients like chickpeas, diced potatoes, or even my grilled sweet potato wedges. Just add them before you simmer everything together to ensure they are cooked thoroughly.

How to Make Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot until shiny.
  • Add the diced onion, and sauté until tender, approximately 3-4 minutes.
  • Then, add the garlic, and cook for an additional minute, until fragrant.
  • Next, add the diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, cooked quinoa, water, green chiles, chili powder, cumin, cocoa, paprika and hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cover pot, and allow chili to simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Add in all of the beans and corn. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, until heated through.
  • Serve warm with any of the optional toppings below and enjoy!

TIP: Toast the dry quinoa in the pot with a little olive oil before boiling and cooking. This gives it a nutty, rich flavor.

Optional Toppings

  • Shredded Mexican Cheese
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Sliced Green Onions
  • Sour Cream
  • Sliced Peppers

TIP: Make it vegan by using plant-based toppings, including nut “cheeses” and coconut cream!

What To Serve with This Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

Quinoa Chili | This healthy and delicious Vegetarian Quinoa Chili features three types of beans, corn, and quinoa. It's hearty, filling, and full of flavor!

Can This Vegetarian Chili Be Made in the Slow Cooker or Instant Pot?

Yes! To turn this into a slow cooker vegetarian chili recipe, simply follow the same directions for sautéing the veggies in the insert and adding the remaining ingredients plus the beans and corn. Then, cook on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. Serve warm with desired toppings, and enjoy!

You can also make this in the Instant Pot by sautéing the onion and garlic with olive oil in the insert, then adding broth and remaining ingredients (except the beans and corn), making sure to scrape any cooked bits off the bottom. Cover with the lid, seal, and cook on manual (HIGH) pressure for 8 minutes. Immediately release the pressure, then open the Instant Pot. Stir in the beans and corn, then close the lid and allow the chili to thicken for a couple minutes. Adjust taste as needed, serve hot with desired toppings, and enjoy!

One key difference in these versions and making the chili on the stovetop is that you do not cook the quinoa ahead of time. Allow the slow cooker or Instant Pot to do that for you.

Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Tips

  • To Store: Leftover vegetarian chili will stay good in the refrigerator for 5 days. Allow them to cool completely, then store them in an airtight container or plastic bag.
  • To Reheat: Place cold chili in a large pot on the stove over medium heat until warmed through, adding splashes of broth or water as needed if it is too thick. You can also reheat this chili in the microwave (covered) in 30-second intervals.
  • To Freeze: Store leftover vegetarian chili in an airtight freezer-safe storage container or Ziplock bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Healthy Quinoa Chili | This healthy and delicious Vegetarian Quinoa Chili features three types of beans, corn, and quinoa. It's hearty, filling, and full of flavor!

More Recipes To Try

If you enjoyed my Vegetarian Quinoa Chili, then you’ll love these other soup recipes:

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

4.67 from 6 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

A super healthy Vegetarian Quinoa Chili loaded with three different types of beans, corn and quinoa. Hearty, thick, filling and full of flavor!


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 14.5 oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 7 oz can diced green chiles
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • a couple dashes of hot sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 15 ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn thawed
  • shredded cheese sour cream, green onions and avocado for serving, if desired


  • Heat olive oil in a large pot
  • Add in onion and saute until tender, 3-4 minutes.
  • Add in garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  • Add in diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, cooked quinoa, water, green chiles, chili powder, cumin, cocoa, paprika and hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cover pot and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Add in all of the beans and corn. Cook for a couple of minutes until heated through.
  • Serve immediately with shredded cheese, sour cream, green onions and avocado for serving, if desired!

Recipe Notes

Adapted from Cooking Classy

Nutrition Facts
Vegetarian Quinoa Chili
Amount Per Serving
Calories 133.67 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4.04g6%
Saturated Fat 0.57g4%
Sodium 160.38mg7%
Potassium 484.14mg14%
Carbohydrates 23.49g8%
Fiber 4.81g20%
Sugar 4.9g5%
Protein 4.56g9%
Vitamin A 1300.93IU26%
Vitamin C 11.38mg14%
Calcium 55.51mg6%
Iron 2.81mg16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Easy Weeknight Dinner, Healthy Recipes, Quinoa Chili, Vegetarian

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating

Comments - page 4/4

  • Nathan

    Hi Morgan,

    In the recipe Kelley uses already cooked quinoa, But if you would like you can just add in uncooked. You will have to add half as much, so only 1/2 cup of the dry quinoa. you would also want to add an extra cup of liquid to the recipe. That could be water or vegetable stock or extra pureed tomato. You would also want to just cook it little longer for it to get all the way soft. I hope that is helpful, Thank you for commenting!


  • Tammy Sullivan

    Delicious! Just wondering how big is a serving size? Just want to make sure I’m calculated the correct calories.

  • Cindy

    We recently started a plant based eating lifestyle, so I have been looking for recipes that are plant based options of our favs. This chili was amazing, very filling and one I will definitely make again!

  • Stephen

    Use unsweetened bakers chocolate squares (better use Mexican chocolate) not cocoa powder. And replace water with two bottles of Negra Modelo beer.

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