Tis the season for my favorite vegan chili
Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year, when it starts to cool off and I can start making hearty soups and stews again. This week I wanted to use up the last of my summer corn and poblano peppers and decided to revamp the traditional chili into a little bit of a lighter–yet still as delectable–dish, Quinoa Vegan Chili. For this version, I’m trading in the classic carne for quinoa and adding a ton of vegetables, including spinach peppers and corn, and a little extra spice. I think these flavorful additions make for the best vegan chili around!
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 instruction, in case you want to try it.
Want more great quinoa recipes? Check out this side dish recipe for Meyer Lemon Quinoa with Basil, Black Pepper and Turmeric.
Why I use extra chile peppers in my vegetarian chili
Since this Quinoa Vegan Chili 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.)
With the right combination of veggies, the health benefits of quinoa and the sexy heat of chile peppers, this spicy vegan 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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