My husband and I love a good hearty warm chili on cold winter days. We love it beefy, but have tried to lower our meat intake and eat more vegetarian options for our health's sake and also because we're picky on what type of meat we eat these days. Chili can still be satisfying, warming and a great cold weather food without being heavy and this slow cooker vegetarian chili quinoa is rich and filling. Quinoa is a great way to add nutrition to a comfort food like chili.
Bold Vegetarian Chili with Quinoa
Once we tried a chili recipe with chocolate in it a couple years back, we knew we were fans. I thought the bold flavor of such a chili would make for a real fine vegetarian version once I could adjust it to our liking. I actually came up with this recipe with what I happened to have on hand in my fridge and pantry. It's easily modifiable to suit your spicy or not so spicy needs. My husband was pleasantly surprised with what he said was a "beefy flavor" which he believes is because of the quinoa addition. We both like spicy chili, but have to keep the heat level down for the kids' sake so you'll see there are optional ingredients in the chili recipe if you also like to add more heat.
Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili
I like to make cooking as easy as possible so if I have the option of slow cooking, I will. Also, when I use the slow cooker
Smoky & Slightly Sweet
I personally love smokey flavors so I use smoked paprika and a wonderful dark smoked chili powder I buy now locally from a farmer's market/spice shop. These two ingredients give this veggie quinoa chili a nice smoky undertone and great smell to your kitchen.
The very subtle, and I really mean subtle sweetness which is more of a cocoa flavor is from the cacao powder
So give chocolate a try in chili, it gives it a great unexpected flavor.
Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili with Quinoa & Chocolate
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 carrots peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 2 jalapenos seeded and finely diced (optional depending on your heat level desire)
- 2 large bell peppers seeded and diced (whatever color you want)
- 1 cup uncooked organic quinoa
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon dark chili powder I use a smoked chili powder I buy locally
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes also optional depending on your heat level likes
- 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 heaping tablespoon unsweetened cacao powder can use cocoa powder if that's what you have
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 15- ounce can organic black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 15- ounce can organic red kidney beans drained
- 1 28- ounce can organic diced fire roasted tomatoes with juice
- 3 oz dark chocolate bar chopped (I use 75-88% good dark chocolate)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Soak your quinoa in about 1.5 cups water for 10 mins, then rinse thoroughly and add to crock pot.
- Add all remaining ingredients to the crock pot and stir to combine.
- Cook on High for 4 hrs or Low for 8 hrs.
- Taste before serving and adjust salt & pepper if necessary.