Vegan Quinoa and White Bean Chili

Vegan Quinoa and White Bean ChiliWhen I say chili, something meaty and tomato-based probably comes to mind. Or, if you like veggie chilis, you at least probably think of something tomato-y and darker in color than this. Wellll, I love that type of chili, but I decided it would be fun to make a semi-albino variation – no tomatoes here! – featuring white beans and (naturally) quinoa.

Quinoa chili has been on my to-cook list for quite some time, and now the weather is finally cool enough to make it. And as anticipated, I love the texture of the quinoa mixed in here! It thickens up this chili quite a bit, soaking up all that cumin-y broth. Along with the beans, it makes this dish super filling, not to mention being fun and chewy (which of course I have to mention anyway, because that is always what I love about quinoa). But the quinoa doesn’t take center stage like it did in Monday’s recipe – that is reserved for the veggies and spices.

Vegan Quinoa and White Bean Chili

So much quinoa lately. I’m going to go ahead and say right now that I will NOT be posting any quinoa recipes next week. If I reneg on that, you’ll know I have a problem. {Update: I forgot that I totally DO have a quinoa recipe planned for next week. AHHH send help!}

In addition to the quinoa, there are a ton of veggies in here! A whole head of cauliflower, a sweet potato, and a bell pepper, to be precise. And I think beans can count as vegetables too? So versatile. Anyway, all those veggies pack a ton of vitamins and fiber and not a lot of calories. If you keep track, one serving of this chili (1/8 of the recipe) comes in at just 260 calories. That’s great if you’re like me and are planning on making a batch of cookies later! Not so great if you’re like Nate and run 100 miles a week and will probably waste away if you don’t consume at least 3,000 calories a day. If that’s the case, you might want to grab a huge bowl, fill half of it with chili and the other half with cheese. And then eat some cookies. (Done and done.) But I’m guessing that many of you are fans of filling dinners that come in at under 300 calories per serving.

Vegan Quinoa and White Bean Chili

Now I’m kind of cheating here by calling this chili vegan and then recommending that you dump Greek yogurt and cheddar cheese all over it. Because yes, that is definitely what I would recommend. Oops.

Vegan Quinoa and White Bean Chili

There’s no dairy in the chili itself, though, so it’s super easy to keep it vegan if that’s your thing. Just top with green onions and maybe some sriracha, and you’ve got a filling vegan dinner. But if you are into cheese and/or yogurt, I will tell you that they both do wonders for this chili. There is something about dairy + cumin that is just killer, so yogurt or cheese will really make the dish. Plus, the pot of chili will be piping hot when it finishes cooking, and a dollop of cool Greek yogurt is just the thing for impatient cooks who want to dive into their dinner the second it’s done, regardless of burnt tongues.

Not that I would know anything about that. But ouch.

A big pot of chili means leftovers for days. And leftovers are perfect for impatient cooks who get hangry and unbearable unless they eat something the second they get home from work. Again… not that I would know anything about that. I’m avoiding eye contact right now.

Enjoy this chili, and have a great fall weekend!

Vegan Quinoa and White Bean Chili

5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan Quinoa and White Bean Chili
Hands-on time
Cook time
Total time
Yields: 8 servings
For the chili:
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped (about 7 cups)
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped in 1-inch chunks (about 3 cups)
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 14-oz cans white beans (any kind will work; I used 1 can of cannellini and 1 can of butter beans)
  • 2 4-oz cans chopped green chilies
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (low sodium if possible)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • salt to taste
For serving:
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • plenty of freshly grated cheddar cheese
  • plain Greek yogurt
  • sriracha (optional)
  1. Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and saute until softened and beginning to develop some color. Add garlic and saute another minute.
  2. Add the cauliflower, sweet potato, bell pepper, beans, chilies, broth, and spices. Cover and bring to a simmer. Simmer until cauliflower and sweet potato are very tender, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. While the chili cooks, bring the quinoa to a simmer with 1 1/2 cups water in a small pot. Simmer until tender, about 12-15 minutes. Drain excess water if necessary. (Quinoa can also be cooked ahead of time.)
  4. Remove chili from heat and stir in the quinoa. Taste and adjust spices as necessary. The amount of salt you need, especially, will vary depending on the broth used.
  5. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Serve chili with sliced green onions, cheddar, Greek yogurt, and sriracha if desired. Enjoy!


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  1. says

    I have to admit, I LOVE making clean, vegan food and then dousing it with cheese and/or plain yogurt! I’ve never made chili with white beans OR quinoa and it sounds amazing! I’m moving away from tomato based chilis more and more and finding they taste so refreshing, but are still super comforting, when there’s not all the meat and tomatoeyness in there. Have a great weekend, love!

  2. says

    Ohhhh!! Quinoa chili is totally on my to-cook list also!! And I love, love, love this recipe!! I can’t wait to try this! It’s been so chilly and blah! here lately, this is exactly what I need to keep cozy!
    And I only run about 15 miles a week, but I think I’ll still have a big ‘ol bowl! :)

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