Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year. This is when it starts to cool off and I can begin making hearty soups and stews again. But since I’m a vegetarian, hearty takes a little bit different form than what you might think of when you conjure up the aromas and textures of a classic chili recipe. That’s right, I only make vegan chili.
However, all the elements that make chili a wintertime favorite, the spices, the inexpensive ingredients and the easy of throwing together this filling stew are equally satisfying whether you make beef chili or my quinoa chili. In fact, I’ll even be so bold as to say that once you try my version, you’ll never miss the meat!
What makes a great veggie chili recipe?
For this unique version of an easy chili recipe, I’m trading in the classic carne for quinoa and adding two beans, (red kidney and black beans), with slightly differents sizes, flavors and textures. That’s really the key! And to make it a somewhat sexy version of chili I added extra spice, but we’ll get to that later. I think these flavorful additions make for the best vegan chili around! It is definitely my favorite chili recipe this season.
Is vegan chili good for you?
If you’re concerned that taking out the meat also takes some of the nutrition away from your chili, rest assured that meatless chili will provide you with fiber, vitamin C and many other nutrients that come from the diced tomatoes, chiles and other spices and vegetables in this veggie chili recipe. But the beans and quinoa in this chili recipe will provide you protein without the saturated fat of red meat.
Both of these key ingredients in my spicy quinoa chili will help you feel full and satisfied. But this isn’t all there is to love about a quinoa chili.
Why should you add quinoa to your chili?
Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods available. That’s because it’s a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. In addition, it has twice the fiber content of most other whole grains. (Did you know that getting enough fiber is one of the steps in our 10 Steps to Sexy diet?)
In addition, this ancient grain is a source of iron, magnesium, riboflavin. Not to mention that quinoa contains lysine, which is essential to the human body for tissue growth. So it’s pretty easy to see why, especially if you’re making a vegan chili, you would want to add quinoa to make a super healthy vegetarian chili.
Incidentally, did you know that quinoa can be popped like popcorn? Just another fun fact about quinoa to help inspire you to go out and buy this grain. Here’s a step-by-step guide, in case you want to try it.
Why I use extra chile peppers in my vegetarian chili with quinoa
Since this vegan quinoa chili recipe is a meatless dish, I added extra vegetables and upped the chile pepper count. And since hot peppers are among the oldest most recognized aphrodisiacs, it definitely adds to the dish’s allure.
By the way, do you know what makes chiles so sensual? They contain a chemical called capsaicin which, when eaten, increases heart rate, induces sweating and increases the sensitivity of nerve endings. Basically, chiles stimulate endorphins, they’re the Marvin Gaye of the savory fruit world. (Here’s some more information about what makes chile peppers so aphrodisiac.)
Of course, you can adjust the spice level of your chili to your taste by reducing the amount of chile powder or omitting the jalapeno. Just remember that the greater the heat, the more chances you have for the aphrodisiacs of the chili to spark desire. So if you’re looking for some after dinner romance, you might want to swap a habanero for the jalapeno and really bring some fire to your pot of chili.
How to serve this vegan chili recipe
I like to serve my chili just the way it is written, straight from the pot while you can still smell that bright tang of fresh lime juice. But if you like your chili with more traditional fixings, here are some suggestions for ways to make a traditional bowl of chili while still keeping the recipe vegan:
- Slices of ripe avocado
- Homemade Healthy Guacamole
- A dollop of vegan sour cream substitute
- Shredded vegan cheese
- With a side of tortilla chips and an extra wedge of lime
- With a side of vegan cornbread, (my favorite)
- Finely chopped sweet onions
- Chopped, fresh cilantro
- With one of these sophisticated margaritas on the side
With the right combination of veggies, the health benefits of quinoa and the sexy heat of chile peppers, this spicy, sexy chili recipe will really heat up a cool fall evening! So get ready for sweater weather with this easy, plant-based chili recipe!
Hearty Quinoa Vegan Chili
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion diced (1 3/4 cup)
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 4 ribbed and chopped poblano peppers
- 1 chopped red jalepeno substitute habanero if you can handle it!
- 2 1/2 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or more if you're wild
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 15-oz can kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1 15-oz can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
- Juice of 1 lime
- Heat olive oil in a large enameled cast iron pot over medium-high heat.
- Once oil is hot add onion and chopped peppers and saute until tender, about 4 minutes.
- Add in garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, cooked quinoa, and broth.
- Add chili powder, cumin, cocoa, paprika, coriander, cayenne pepper and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring mixture just to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover pot and allow to simmer 30 minutes.
- Add in all beans, corn, spinach, cilantro and lime and cook until heated through.
- Serve with cornbread and avocado.
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