• 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans tomatoes, diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can green chiles, diced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups corn (canned, roasted, or frozen)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced (optional)
  • 1 avocado, diced (optional)


  1. Measure out 2 cups of water and pour them into a large saucepan. Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the package; then set it aside.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion. Stir until it has become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Then stir in the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds or until the garlic becomes aromatic.

  3. Add the quinoa, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chiles, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper to the Dutch oven or large pot. Next, add water until most of the ingredients are submerged. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Reduce heat to low and let the mixture simmer, covered, until it thickens, about 30 minutes. Stir in beans, corn, cilantro, and lime juice. Resume cooking over medium heat until the chili is heated through, about 5 minutes.

  5. Serve immediately with diced avocado (optional).


  • large saucepan
  • Dutch oven or large pot (with lid)

Recipe Notes

To reduce the sodium content in your chili, look for canned items labeled 'low sodium' or 'no salt added.'

Quinoa, kidney beans, and black beans make up the bulk of this flavorful and colorful chili. The lime juice and cilantro provide a refreshing zing with every bite, and the chilis offer a spicy kick. Even your friends who aren't vegan will love this delicious, hearty chili. Although this recipe is delightful as is, it is also versatile, and additional ingredients can be included for an even heartier chili or a more dynamic flavor. Here are some herbs, spices, and vegetables that you could add to the mix to spice things up.

How To Make A Heartier Vegan Chili

jars of quinoa

In our recipe, we use kidney beans, black beans, and quinoa to add texture to our chili. Black beans add a nice flavor, while quinoa and kidney beans more or less take on the flavors of the foods they're prepared in. There are a couple of ways you can add extra heartiness to your vegan chili.

Add Extra Proteins Or Grains

white rice

An extra protein or grain will help bulk up your vegan chili, add depth of flavor, and create a more complex and satisfying meal. There are plenty of grains and vegan proteins to choose from, but here are some that work exceptionally well in chili:

  • bulger
  • rice
  • chickpeas
  • pinto beans
  • firm tofu (dredged in nutritional yeast, soy sauce, and mixed spices)

Add More Vegetables

various peppers

Adding more vegetables to your vegan chili is another way to make the meal heartier while also boosting its nutritional value. If you're interested in adding extra vegetables to your chili, here are a few ideas:

  • fire-roasted tomatoes
  • peppers
  • shredded carrots
  • sweet potatoes
  • whole peeled, crushed tomatoes
  • butternut squash
  • zucchini
  • cauliflower
  • mushrooms

How To Flavor Your Chili's Base


One way to boost the flavor of your vegan chili is to replace the water with vegetable broth or add extra liquid flavorings. Here are a few ways to create memorable and unique flavors:

  • Add hot sauce to your chili for a spicy kick that melds all the flavors together.
  • Pour in a bottle or two of IPA for a crisp bitterness with malty notes.
  • Add a splash or two of balsamic vinegar for a mild fruity and tart flavor.

Toppings And Sides


Of course, you'll want to serve a side or two, as well as include a few options for toppings. Here are a few ideas for chili sides and toppings:

This vegan chili is very delicious on its own, but don't be afraid to branch out and try to make it your own. Vegan chili is not just for vegans, either. Everyone will enjoy the hearty and rich flavors this recipe offers.

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