Nothing is better on a cool, rainy day than a warm bowl of chili. This winter has seemed never ending (come on, snow in April!?) and I’ve had my fair share of Quinoa Chili to keep me warm. I created this recipe when I was on a quinoa-kick, eating it almost everyday at most meals as an easy way to get protein and fiber. I also enjoy this recipe year round because it is an easy, vegetarian, cost efficient option to have on hand to be able to cook anytime. This recipe is my first choice when feeding friends, bringing to parties and as a quick meal to have ready to eat all week.

The first step is to get your quinoa cooking. You can find bags of this high-protein, high fiber grain in the pasta and rice isle. I like to buy mine in bulk, it’s usually cheaper and I can get as much as I want. When cooking quinoa, you want to use a 1:2 ratio of quinoa to water. For this recipe, you will need 1 cup of uncooked quinoa and 2 cups of water. Place in a medium-sized pot and cook on medium-high heat for about 10-12 minutes. All of the water will be absorbed when the quinoa is cooked.


While the quinoa is cooking, place a large pot or dutch oven on medium heat. Add olive oil. Dice onions and garlic, then cook for about 10 minutes. Add cumin, black pepper and chili powder to onions and garlic. Next, add beans and corn. Remember to drain and rinse your canned beans to lower the sodium content by up to 41%! Stir the mixture together.



The next step is to add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. We recommend choosing low-sodium products to lower the salt content of this recipe. Stir all ingredients together and let simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes.



After all the ingredients are mixed and simmered together, quinoa should be ready! Add to chili and let simmer for a final 10 minutes.


Quinoa Chili

That’s it! You’re ready to dig in! I hope you love this delicious recipe as much as I do. Try topping with sour cream, cheddar cheese, avocado, and/or fresh sliced jalapenos! Enjoy!


Quinoa Chili

by Lisa Kay, MS, RD

10 servings (about 1 cup)



1 cup quinoa, uncooked

1 large yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-15oz. can black beans, drained & rinsed

1-15oz. can dark red kidney beans, drained & rinsed

2-15oz. cans white beans, drained & rinsed

1 cup frozen corn

1 tbsp olive oil

2-15oz. cans low-sodium tomato sauce

1-6oz. small can low-sodium tomato paste

1-15oz. can low-sodium diced tomatoes


1 tsp cumin

2 tbsp black pepper

2 tbsp chili powder


  1. Cook quinoa in 2 cups of water in a medium pot on medium heat. Stir occasionally. Quinoa will be ready when all the water is absorbed (about 10 minutes).
  2. While quinoa is cooking, bring a large pot to medium heat and add olive oil. Add onions, garlic and black pepper and stir for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add canned beans and corn to onions and garlic to pot. Add cumin and chili powder, stir.
  4. Next add tomato sauce, tomato paste and diced tomatoes to the large pot,stir.
  5. When quinoa is cooked, stir into pot.
  6. Let simmer on medium-low heat.
  7. After 20 minutes, give one final stir and serve.


Serving Suggestion

Top with a dollop of sour cream, green onion, sliced avocado or shredded cheese.



Calorie: 274               Fat (g): 4             Sodium (mg): 305             Protein (g): 13              Carbs (g): 48             Fiber (g): 12