Tis the season for veggie 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 and Vegetable Chili. For this version, I’m trading in the classic carne for quinoa and adding a ton of vegetables and a little extra spice.
What’s to love about quinoa?
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. And it is full of iron, magnesium, riboflavin. Not to mention that quinoa contains lysine, which is essential to the human body for tissue growth. (Oh, and did you know that quinoa can be popped like popcorn?)
Add a little heat for an aphrodisiac twist
Since this Quinoa and Vegetable Chili is minus the meat 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, chili’s stimulate endorphins, they’re the Marvin Gaye of the savory fruit world. (Learn more 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 chili will really heat up a chilly fall evening!
Want more great quinoa recipes? Check out this side dish recipe for Meyer Lemon Quinoa with Basil, Black Pepper and Turmeric.
A hearty pot of vegetarian chili made with quinoa and vegetables.
- 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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