Best-Ever Quinoa Chili

Best-Ever Quinoa Chili- made with a delicious blend of warming spices, this quinoa chili is packed full of healthy vegetables and plenty of savory flavor. (vegan + gluten-free)

Best-Ever Quinoa Chili (vegan and gluten-free)

Did you know that Texans don’t put beans in their chili?

Not even one little teeny floater for good luck. Just meat and spices. Spices and meat.

Don’t get me wrong, they certainly know a thing or two about chili in Texas but if you’re like me and you prefer your chili to be meatless then you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Needless to say, during the three years that we lived in Texas I had to rely on my own kitchen for chili . It allowed me to try multiple different variations and eventually settle on a favorite, which is why I call it this one the ‘best ever’. It’s just the way I like it: chock full of veggies, healthy protein from beans and quinoa, loaded with savory tomato flavor and just enough spice to please the palate.

Best-Ever Quinoa Chili (vegan and gluten-free)

Best-Ever Quinoa Chili Ingredients

  • Quinoa- While you can cook the quinoa in the same pot as everything else, I recommend soaking it and cooking it separately for optimum digestion. This helps reduce the phytic acid making it easier for your digestive system to absorb all of the incredible nutritions.
  • Onion, Garlic, Jalapeño and Bell Pepper- Jalapeño adds a very mild spice so long as you remove the seeds. If you prefer you can make it without or use a spicier pepper to kick it up a notch.
  • Chili Powder, Cumin, Oregano, Smoked Paprika, and Chipotle Powder- These are my go-to spices for the chili as I find they add a slightly smoky flavor with a mild to medium spice. Be sure to use a chili powder that suits your spice level preference. The chipotle powder also adds a smoky spice but is totally optional if you don’t have any or prefer a very mild chili.
  • Diced Tomatoes and Tomato Sauce- For texture and savory tomato flavor we’re using diced tomatoes and tomato sauce made from just pureed tomatoes, not marinara or ketchup.
  • Vegetable Broth- Using a flavorful broth always helps the end result taste better. I like to make my own broth using Better Than Bouillon because I find it to be the most flavorful.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar- Apple cider vinegar adds a hint of tangy sweetness. Again totally optional but it helps round out the flavor profile.
  • Black and Pinto Beans- Because we have to have beans in our chili! I like to use black and pinto beans  but feel free to mix it up.
  • Corn- Fresh or frozen and defrosted corn both work well here.
  • Desired Toppings- Chili is all about the toppings. We like to use dairy-free plain yogurt, shredded vegan cheese, cilantro, lime juice and avocado.

Best-Ever Quinoa Chili (vegan and gluten-free)

How to Make Quinoa Chili

  1. First we start by cooking our quinoa.
  2. Next sauté the onion, garlic in peppers over medium heat and add the spices.
  3. Pour in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and broth.
  4. Stir in the cooked quinoa, beans and corn. Cook until heated through.
  5. Serve with desired toppings and enjoy!

Best-Ever Quinoa Chili (vegan and gluten-free)

Best-Ever Quinoa Chili (vegan and gluten-free)

I know everyone likes a different level of heat and while I like mine to be a little spicy, I don’t like my mouth to burn while I eat. A little tingle is nice, as long as I can pacify it with a soft piece of corn bread.

Feel free to adjust the spices to your liking and please don’t be intimated by the long ingredient list! Most of them are just spices that you likely already have in your pantry.

Best-Ever Quinoa Chili (vegan and gluten-free)

Print Recipe
5 from 13 votes

Best-Ever Quinoa Chili

Made with a delicious blend of warming spices, this quinoa chili is packed full of healthy vegetables and plenty of savory flavor. (vegan + gluten-free)
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings: 6 bowls


  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed*
  • 2 tablespoons high heat oil, I like avocado oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, cored and finely chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, cored and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder, (adds a bit of spice but is optional)
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce, not spaghetti sauce
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 15-ounce cans beans, I used black and pinto beans
  • cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen and defrosted
  • desired toppings, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, sour cream, shredded cheese, etc


  • In a medium saucepan, add the quinoa with 1 and 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a low boil and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover with a lid and allow to steam for 10 more minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  • While the quinoa is cooking, warm the oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, peppers, and garlic then cook for 3 minutes. Add the spices and continue to cook for 2 more minutes.
  • To the pot, pour in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the beans, corn, cooked quinoa and apple cider vinegar and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Add salt to taste, serve with desired toppings and enjoy!


Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or the freezer for up to 1 month.
*I prefer to soak quinoa for several hours or up to overnight prior to cooking to make it easier to digest. To soak quinoa, add it to a bowl and cover with water by a few inches. Drain and rinse before cooking. 


Serving: 1bowl, Calories: 289kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 656mg, Potassium: 760mg, Fiber: 10g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 2852IU, Vitamin C: 75mg, Calcium: 121mg, Iron: 5mg
Course: dinner, Soup
Cuisine: American
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