Chili is a one meal I never thought I would get my young kids to eat. No matter how little chili powder I use, they love to proclaim how ‘spicy’ a dish is (it’s not!). Once I finally convinced them to give it a chance, they realized they actually really like it! Since then we have been able to try all kind of varieties. This organic quinoa chili has proven to be one of our favorites that I keep coming back to.
Organic quinoa chili is one of my favorite meatless meals. I try to plan a vegetarian option at least once a week but it is sometimes hard to find things my kids are OK with and my ‘meat & potatoes’ husband won’t scoff at. The first few times I served this chili I never mentioned the lack of meat and no one noticed! Now they know it is vegetarian (with an easy vegan option) and they still love it.
I like that all but one of the ingredients are very easy to find organic in any grocery store and it overall is a pretty budget friendly meal. Plus there is a good chance I have all the ingredients on hand if I decide to make it last-minute. I know it looks complicated because there are a lot of ingredients, but trust me it comes together pretty fast.
We have a chili cook off at our church every fall and this Quinoa Chili was my entry several years ago. While it didn’t take first place, it received a lot of votes and several people asked for the recipe. I also made a big batch of this chili for my dad right after he had a heart attack because it is really healthy but still feels like a traditional meat chili. There are lots of ways to customize this dish to accommodate dietary restrictions.
It is starting to feel like spring here in Michigan (finally!). This chili is an especially great option now because it is comforting on chillier evenings, but won’t hinder any progress in getting ready for swimsuit season. It honestly does work all year round. We usually serve this up with some nice crusty bread and sometimes include salads first or along side but it really is a filling meal on its own. This chili freezes well and makes for good left overs.
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Quinoa – Organic quinoa (keen-wah for people like my mom who still are not quite sure!) is very easy to find. Something I like to watch for is whether it needs to be rinsed before use. A lot of quinoa requires rinsing and with how small the uncooked quinoa grains are, it is a pain to deal with. It should say in the cooking directions if your brand requires rinsing, I would try to find one that does not just to make life easier. I love the organic quinoa that Costco sells, no rinsing required! Also the Bob’s Red Mill brand available here is pre rinsed.
Kidney Beans – Organic kidney beans are common in grocery stores. Usually right along with the conventional canned beans there are a few organic varieties. I also find that canned beans are often included with grocery store sale cycles so I grab a few cans of each kind when I see a decent price. I got the boxed beans pictured above at Meijer as part of a 10 for $10 sale. Canned beans do need rinsing before use, this really helps cut down on any added sodium.
Diced Green Chilies – Diced green chilies are one item I have yet to find an organic version of in a grocery store. There is an organic brand available on Amazon but most of the time I just remember it is all about balance and flexibility when I do have to use a conventional brand.
As with all of my recipes, you can use all, some, or none of the organic ingredients and get a similar result. These are just suggestions and examples of how to make this dish organically.
You will be glad you gave this healthy chili a chance, and don’t be afraid to try it with your kids – they might surprise you and themselves!
Organic Quinoa Chili
A healthy, easy, great tasting chili that the whole family will love.
- 2/3 cup Organic Quinoa
- 1 1/3 cup water
- 1 tbsp Organic Olive Oil
- 1/2 cup Diced Organic Onion
- 3 cloves Minced Organic Garlic
- 1 1/2 cups Organic Chicken Broth
- 4 oz Diced Green Chilis can
- (2) 14.5 oz Organic Canned Diced Tomatoes
- 15 oz Organic Canned Tomato Sauce
- 2 tbsp Organic Chili Powder more or less to taste and heat preference
- 1/2 tsp Organic Ground Cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp Organic Paprika
- 2 tsp Organic Ground Cumin
- 1/2 tsp Organic Ground Coriander
- (2) 15 oz Organic Canned Kidney Beans drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups Organic Frozen Corn Canned or Fresh also work
- 15 oz Organic Canned Black Beans drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup Diced Avocado optional
- 1/2 cup Shredded Organic Cheddar Cheese optional
- 1/4 - 1/3 cup Organic Sour Cream to taste, optional
Combine quinoa and water in a sauce pan, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, stir well, and cover. Let sit on low heat for 15 minutes.
In a large stock pot warm olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add onions, stirring for several minutes until softened. Add minced garlic, stir for 20 to 30 seconds until fragrant.
Add to the stockpot: Chicken broth, green chilies, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, and coriander.
Remove quinoa from heat and fluff with a fork. Add cooked quinoa to the stockpot, season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
While chili is simmering prepare any desired toppings.
Stir in rinsed and drained kidney and black beans. Stir in frozen corn. Allow to heat through and serve with your choice of toppings.
This recipe can easily be made vegan by exchanging the chicken broth for vegetable stock and opting not to use cheese or sour cream toppings.