Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Quinoa Chili

This week was one of those “let’s see what’s in my kitchen and throw something together” kind of weeks. Luckily I had lots of scraps around and only had to run out for toppings, which made for a colourful, gluten-free, vegan and healthy chili.

I feel like a lot of people see chili as a “cold weather” kind of food, but as a vegetarian it’s got tons of vitamins and nutrients that might be difficult to fit into other meals, and you can serve it cold depending on your preference. I ate some at dinner with cheese and avocado on top; then the next day I took it for lunch and ate it as-is.

Quinoa in chili is something new I tried because it gives that extra boost of protein without using soy. Although soy is a really versatile and good-tasting product, I’ve heard a lot of things about the negative effects that can come from eating too much of it. So I try to limit my soy intake and use other sources of protein. In this case, two kinds of beans and quinoa do the trick. I saw the idea for using quinoa in chili from Two Peas and Their Pod, then I just adapted the recipe from there.Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Quinoa Chili


Makes 6 servings

  • 1/2 cup royal quinoa (red and white quinoa mixed), rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 (540mL) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (540mL) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (796mL) cans diced tomatoes— keep the liquid
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn


Place quinoa and water in a small pot, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to low heat and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered. The water should be completely absorbed at this point. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium-high heat, then add onion and garlic. Cook for 4-5 minutes, then add sweet potato, zucchini, bell pepper, carrots and celery. Cook for another 5 minutes once onions are just lightly golden, then add in both kinds of beans, canned tomatoes and broth. Then add cayenne pepper, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and then lower heat down to a simmer. Cook, simmering, for 25 minutes—partially covered. Add in corn, then cook (still on a low simmer) for another 10 minutes. Once finished, the sweet potato should be easily piercable with a fork.

Serve hot with melted cheese on top, fresh chives and avocado slices.Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Quinoa ChiliSweet Potato, Black Bean and Quinoa Chili

13 Comments Add yours

  1. genevieveyam says:

    I never thought of adding quinoa into chili, but the next time I make it I’ll be sure to try it- I bet the texture of it in chili is awesome, too!

    1. I thought it was a little strange too when I first saw the idea but it turned out really well! You’re right, it’s great for texture. I was a little worried in would turn out ‘slimey’ like rice/pasta can in soups, but it doesn’t at all

  2. CortneyStanchfield says:

    Yummy! Sounds great!

  3. Looks beautiful, delicious and healthy!

  4. That looks delicious, and it’s the brightest, most cheerful bowl of chili I’ve ever seen. Your photos are outstanding!! Celeste 🙂

    1. Thanks very much Celeste!

  5. trixpin says:

    What a lovely sounding and looking dish – it’s so vibrant and looks totally scrummy 😀 A great idea for using quinoa, of which I have a bag in the cupboard gathering dust. Thanks!

    1. Quinoa seems to be one of those ingredients you can throw in and it works out a lot of the time. It’s really good just tossed with some salad dressing/herbs too by the way 🙂

  6. Beautiful dish! Love the idea of sweet potato in a chili dish. YUM!

    1. Sweet potato seems to be good with everything 😛 thanks!

  7. Your chili would be perfect for this hot summer nights. I absolutely love the vibrant colour of this dish!!

  8. Geraldine says:

    looks great!

    Following your blog now. 🙂

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