After making a big pot of local grass-fed beef chili, I set out to make a vegan version that wouldn’t disappoint. Here it is, a thick satisfying stew with hearty quinoa, 2 kinds of beans and a richly spiced tomato base. Top this with pickled peppers, cilantro if you have it, and sliced avocado.
Chili with beans has turned into a great family favorite these past few weeks – adults can spice theirs up on the side and kids enjoy the flavorful stew that gets it’s sweetness from peppers, tomatoes, and carrots. To build a rich flavor I used a mixture of chili powder, smoked paprika, ground cumin, and even a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder.
I like to use a beer in chili as the liquid, it adds a rich flavor, but if you want this dish to be vegan and gluten free be sure to use a gluten free beer. You can also sub vegetable stock for all the liquid if you prefer. this is a pretty forgiving recipe. Speaking of the liquid, my batch turned out very thick, which I like. I anticipate adding some vegetable stock or water when I reheat the leftovers. If you prefer a thinner stew increase the liquid by at least one cup, or use less cooked quinoa. The best thing about this recipe is you can really flex it to the ingredients you have on hand and the consistency you like your chili to be. Add more carrots or even cubed winter squash in place of some of the peppers.
Vegan Quinoa Chili
1 cup dry quinoa
3 bell peppers any variety
4 cloves garlic
1 hot pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
14.5 oz can kidney beans
14.5 oz can black beans
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 12 oz beer (lager or nut brown ale)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
To garnish: chopped minced cilantro, avocado slices, pickled hot peppers, tortilla chips, etc.
Cook the quinoa according to package directions. While it cooks prep the vegetables.
Prep the vegetables: Prep the vegetables: Peel and mince the onion and garlic. Dice the peppers and carrots. Slice the hot pepper in half and remove the seeds and ribs, then mince.
Make the stew: Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large stock pot or dutch oven. Sauté the onions and garlic for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the spices and cocoa powder, then cook for about a minute, stirring to coat the onions and garlic. Add the carrots and peppers, then cook for 2 – 4 minutes more stirring frequently. Add the quinoa to the pot, then add the remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 – 40 minutes. Add apple cider vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.