Quinoa Chilli served in a bowl with rice

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This quinoa chilli is utterly delicious. Even the most determined meat-eaters won’t complain about eating this, despite it being completely ‘sans carne’ (which is Spanish for ‘without meat’). The flavours in it are just bursting and the texture is amazing. It’s also a great freezer meal, so you can cook it in batches and save for later.

What can you eat it with?

This recipe is great served up with some steamed basmati rice. You could also spoon it over a plate of nachos or tortilla chips. It also makes a great taco, burrito or quesadilla filling.

You can also get creative with the toppings. Some sliced avocado works well and adds some great visual appeal, as does a spoonful of chunky guacamole. A few sprigs of coriander also add some extra flavour and flair and a squeeze of lime juice also adds some extra zest! If you are making this for a non-vegan then you can also add some sour cream or some grated cheese.

Close up of quinoa chilli in a bowl

Can you freeze it?

This recipe freezes really well. Cool the chilli and then portion into freezer-proof containers or bags. Defrost thoroughly before reheating in the microwave or on the hob. It will last around 3 months in the freezer.

It will also last up to 3 days in the fridge, so you can cook some up at the weekend and then eat it during the week.


Quinoa Chilli Ingredients on a counter

This chilli combines onion, red pepper and garlic for flavour with red kidney beans and quinoa for substance. Everything is gently simmered in a mixture of chopped tomatoes and vegetable stock. It packs some great punchy spices including cumin, oregano, paprika and, of course, chilli powder. Top it off with some freshly sliced avocado and coriander for the perfect meal.

Check the spiciness of the chilli powder you use before throwing it in. Different brands from different countries can have vastly different levels of heat. I’ve based this recipe on the inclusion of a fairly spicy powder – but you may need to increase or reduce depending on your preference.

How to make it

This is a pretty straightforward recipe and requires only around 5-10 minutes of ‘hands-on’ cooking time. First, saute the onion and red pepper until soft and then add the garlic for a further minute. Then stir in the spices and cook for an additional 15 seconds or so to really release the flavours.

Add the kidney beans, tomatoes, quinoa and stock and season well. Bring to a very light simmer. Cover the pan and cook for 20 minutes, until the quinoa is cooked and the mixture has thickened, although is still a little ‘saucy’.

Recipe steps - fry onions and pepper, add spices. Add remaining ingredients and simmer


Black beans go great in this recipe instead of the kidney beans – or if you are making a few portions then you can use half and half.

While I used standard white quinoa, you can use red or multicoloured varieties. You could also make this with lentils instead of quinoa – but you’ll need to increase the amount of stock a little and the cooking time.

Looking for more great meat-free recipes? Try this red lentil bolognese or this vegan stuffed butternut squash.

Products that work great for this recipe:

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Quinoa Chilli served in a bowl with rice

Quinoa Chilli

  • Author: caroline
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This vegan quinoa chilli is so delicious that vegans, vegetarians and meat lovers alike will love it! This is also a great recipe for batch cooking!

The default recipe serves one.


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 50g (1/3 cup) uncooked quinoa
  • 100g (7oz) chopped tomatoes
  • 110g (8oz) tinned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 85ml (1/3 cup) vegetable stock

To serve (optional)

  • few sprigs coriander
  • 1/4 avocado, diced


1. Heat the olive oil over a medium-high heat and, when hot, add the onion and red pepper. Cook for around 4 minutes until softened and then add the garlic and cook for a further minute. 

2. Stir in the spices and stir around the pan for 10-15 seconds before adding the chopped tomatoes, kidney beans, stock and quinoa. Season well.

3. Bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes. The quinoa should be cooked but there should still be a bit of a glistening sauce over the mixture.

4. Serve with the diced avocado and coriander on top


  1. Calorie information does not include toppings
  2. You can substitute the kidney beans for black beans, or use half and half.
  3. This is particularly good served with some basmati rice, spooned over nachos or in a burrito or tacho – yum!
  4. Feel free to use whatever type of uncooked quinoa you like/have in.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Hob
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 350
  • Fat: 7.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 53g
  • Protein: 15g

Keywords: dinner, mexican, chilli, quinoa, vegetarian, vegan, healthy

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