Making Thyme for Health · Oct 1, 2013

Best Ever Quinoa Chili {vegan and gluten-free}

I know I’ve talked about the intricacies of the Texan diet before but I want to touch on the topic of chili real quick.

For some crazy reason, Texans don’t put beans in their chili. Not even one little teeny black floater for good luck. Nope, nada. Just meat and spices. Spices and meat. Oh, and maybe a few vegetables, but don’t count on finding any big chunks in there.

Needless to say, when the annual chili contest at work came about every year, I was less than enthused to participate. Oh wow, I get to try one kind of chili? Out of ten? How will I ever decide…

Don’t get me wrong, they certainly know a thing or two about chili in Texas but if you’re like me and you like your chili meatless then you’ll have to look elsewhere for such recipes.

I’ve made multiple different variations of this chili recipe over the years and this version is definitely my favorite, which is why I call it the ‘best ever’. It’s just the way I like it: chock full of veggies and healthy protein from beans and quinoa, loaded with savory tomato flavor and just enough spice to please the palate.

I know everyone likes a different level of heat and while I like mine a little spicy, I don’t like my mouth to burn while I eat. A little tingle is nice, as long as I can pacify it with a soft piece of corn bread, but feel free to adjust the spices to your liking. Or leave out the corn if you want…I know not everyone loves corn as much as I do. Cough, Meghan, cough.

Spicy or not, if you’re looking for something to warm you from the inside out on a cool fall evening then you have met your match.

Print Best Ever Quinoa Chili {vegan and gluten-free}

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 servings


  • 1 cup quinoa, soaked overnight and rinsed
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 30 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers (I used one red and one green), diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, diced
  • 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground chili chipotle
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  1. Place drained and rinsed quinoa in a medium-size sauce pan with 2 cups water and cook over medium to low heat for about 15 minutes.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large pot (or Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about five minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  3. Next, add all of the ingredients to the pot (minus the corn and quinoa) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for twenty minutes.
  4. Once quinoa is done cooking, drain any excess liquid and add it and the corn to the pot. Simmer for a few minutes so that everything is hot and serve immediately.
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Pretty easy to make, eh? It’s quick enough for a weeknight meal but you could make it ahead of time and store it in an airtight container for up to 3 days or even freeze for a later date.

By the way, if you’re looking for a good gluten-free cornbread mix, I personally like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Cornbread (I have no relation to Bob’s Red Mill-this is just my personal opinion). I use 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/4 cup oil, 2 eggs and 1 cup creamed corn and cook it for about 10-15 minutes longer than directed on the package. Substituting some of the oil and milk with creamed corn makes it rich and creamy with little surprise bits of corn inside. It’s a trick my mom taught me {except she used Jiffy cornbread mix} and it’s my favorite way to eat cornbread.

Do you like meat in your chili?

What’s your favorite cornbread recipe?

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