Vegetarian Quinoa Chili
Now that the weather has gotten cooler, I am starting to make hearty soups for supper.
Fuel Café in Memphis has had a vegetarian chili that I have loved for years. Now that I am going meatless one day a week, I figured it was time to experiment in the kitchen and try to replicate this favorite.
Fuel adds quinoa to a traditional vegetarian bean quinoa … so I did the same. The quinoa resembles the texture of ground beef in the dish … something that is good if your family is used to having meat in their chili. And … the combo of the quinoa with the beans makes this dish a complete protein. Something that is an added nutritional bonus.
For ease, I used canned beans and tomatoes in my version. I opted to use fire-roasted tomatoes instead of the regular variety because I like the added flavor they give a dish. That said, regular diced tomatoes will work just as well.
Garnish your chili as you like … with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheese, sliced jalapenos, or fresh cilantro. We enjoyed ours with cornbread. Next time, I’m making it with my Broccoli Corn Bread (click for the recipe) … I think it will be the perfect combo!
My recipe didn’t turn out exactly like Fuel Café’s … but I did come up with a chili that my whole family loved and that I will definitely be making often. It’s fun to take an idea from a dish you have had out or at a friend’s house and invent your own original!
Vegetarian Quinoa Chili
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeño
1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
2 cans (15-ounce) black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can (15-ounce) red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 can (28-ounce) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked per package directions
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno, green bell pepper, and red bell pepper, and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the black beans, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, and water. Stir in the cooked quinoa. Season with the chili powder, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 30 to 35 minutes. Adjust seasonings as needed.
Serve hot. Garnish as desired.
Cooking Tip: For a stronger chili flavor, you can add another tablespoon of chili powder.