Red Quinoa Chili

I was looking for another dish wish lots of vegetables and I love chili con carne. So far, I have never cooked with quinoa myself, so this quinoa chili looked interesting. I bought a fancy red quinoa that was called "Grain of the Inkas". After having been to Mexico, this kinda spoke to me :)

The important part of this recipe is the spice mix - fresh spices (garlic, ginger, chilis, cilantro), ground seasonings (chili, cumin, coriander, paprika, sugar, cayenne, salt and pepper) and the pastes (tomato paste as well as harissa).

As I am not a big fan of using only "half" a bell pepper, or "half" a can of beans, this recipe will serve quite a few people, maybe around 6, but it does freeze well :)


  • 1/3 cup uncooked quinoa 
  • 2/3 - 1 cup salt water
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1-2 onions - chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger - minced
  • 3 chilis - sliced
  • 2 carrots - diced
  • 1 bell pepper - largly diced
  • 1 small zucchini - diced
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon harissa (chili paste)
  • 2-3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans
  • 1 (15 oz) can corn
  • optional: 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas or navy beans
  • 1/2 chopped fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime
  • optional toppings: fresh cilantro, sour cream, cheese, taco chips, bread


  1. The first step is to boil the quinoa. You will need about 1.5 cups of cooked quinoa. Therefore use about 1/3 cup of uncooked quinoa. Rinse the quinoa in a fine meshed sieve with hot water, it might taste grainy or soapy otherwise. Bring twice as much of water to a boil (2/3 cups of water) and add the quinoa and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook for about 20 minutes, then drain.
  2. Heat oil in a separate pot. Add onions, fry for 5 min till almost translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and chilis and fry for another minute. Add the carrots and bell pepper, fry for about 3-5 more minutes. Stir to prevent burning. Add the zucchinis and a splash of white wine. Keep frying for 2 more minutes and stir. 
  3. Now, add the diced tomatoes, fill up with the water and vegetable broth and add the spices (tomato paste, harissa, chili powder, cumin, coriander, paprika, sugar, cayenne pepper). Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat a little bit and let simmer for about 15 min. 
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drain and rinse the beans (kidney beans, black beans, corn, navy beans and/or chickpeas), add to the vegetable-tomato-chili mix. Add the cooked quinoa and the fresh cilantro and heat up for a few minutes. Sprinkle in the juice of the lime.
  5. Serve with optional toppings (fresh cilantro, sour cream, cheese, taco chips, bread).

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