Vegan Quinoa Chili

Recently, I joined a bunch of friends in a health and fitness challenge. While I didn’t lose any weight *shakes fist at cosmos*, I did increase my cardio exercise by about 50% and now I look for ways to walk as much as I can as fast as I can. I tried out hot yoga the week before I left for my vacation on the Jersey shore.

Much to my dismay, hot yoga does not mean a roomful of exceedingly attractive individuals standing around in various Gumby-like poses; it means the room temperature is the rough equivalent of sitting inside the sun. 😮

While I’m never going to become a vegetarian or a hot yoga fan, I vowed to cut out red meat for the duration of the health challenge and to consume more well-balanced vegetarian meals, and maybe even work in some vegan dishes.

To that end, I decided to make a vegetarian chili stuffed full of veggies and boosted the fiber and protein with quinoa. It also added some subtle texture without trying to replace ground meat. The only thing I would do differently next time is to reduce the carrots; the chili was a little sweeter than I like. Feel free to add other veggies of your choice!

Vegan Quinoa Chili
8 to 10 servings

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 bell peppers (any color you like, I chose green because it’s cheaper), diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds removed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBS ground cumin
2 TBS ground chili powder or to your taste
1 zucchini, diced
1 TBS tomato paste
2 15-oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 26-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 15-oz can pureed tomatoes
1 10-oz can corn niblets
1 TBS ground black pepper
1 TBS Frank’s Hot Sauce (optional)
Salt to taste

Combine quinoa and water in a saucepan, bring to boil and simmer, covered, over low heat until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

In an 8-qt stockpot or other large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onion, peppers, carrots, celery, and jalapeno, and cook until soft, about ten minutes. Stir in ground spices, garlic, and zucchini; cook for another five or so minutes or until fragrant.

Add remaining ingredients as well as the quinoa and stir to combine. Simmer on low for 40 minutes. Serve with chopped avocado, cilantro, green onion, lime wedges, and additional hot sauce. Add shredded Cheddar and sour cream or Greek yogurt for a non-vegan meal.

 

Vegan Quinoa Chili topped with cheese. Not so vegan!

Vegan Quinoa Chili topped with not-vegan cheese

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