Quinoa Chili with Three Chiles

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Enjoy a chili supper that’s full of flavor and a good dose of protein. This Quinoa Chili comes together quickly and easily for a super supper.

bowl of Quinoa Chili with Three Chiles

This recipe was born out of a Pantry Challenge.  You see during a Pantry Challenge, I’m hyper-alert about leftovers and making them into something new instead of throwing them away. I had some quinoa in the fridge, but one can only push Quinoa Bowls on my children once in a week. I knew I could freeze it, but I just wanted to use it up.

Aha! I can hide it in chili!

Turns out that was a very, very good idea. Not only did my people gobble down the chili without a word, but it got me thinking that I could very easily create a Quinoa Chili on purpose. So, that’s what I did. 

How Do I Make Quinoa Chili? 

I played around with the spice here. I wanted it to have several layers of spiciness, so I used mild, canned green chiles, picante, fresh jalapenos, and warm and spicy ground dry pasilla chiles. It turned out to be a Tres Chiles Chili Con Quinoa. And it’s one of my favorites.

In the testing phase, I begged my sister to run it through its paces. She protested at first because my nieces don’t like quinoa. I assured her they would never know. And they didn’t!

The first time it was served. The next day, the quinoa chili looked more like chili with quinoa in it. And at least one tween girl made her voice heard. However, she did concede that she loved the chili. She just doesn’t want to eat it the next day. To which I laugh and hope she marries a man who adores eating quinoa at every meal.

stockpot of Quinoa Chili with Three Chiles with a ladle

Can I Freeze This Quinoa Chili?

Yes! Freezing dinners is how I save money, time, and get a peace of mind

Any leftovers just simply pop into a container and make sure to label it properly

Can I Make This Chili Vegetarian?

I used chicken stock in this quinoa chili. But if you wanted to make it completely vegetarian, just simply swap the chicken stock for the vegetable stock. 

How to make this good and cheap:

Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe more economical:

  • Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. Quinoa is your big ticket items here. Stock up when you see a good sale.
  • Shop at the cheapest stores. When I did my big grocery store showdown, I learned that Costco has the best price for a lot of the things I buy, plus they sell all the ingredients needed for this recipe. I am partial to their quinoa because it’s sold pre-rinsed, a step I’m not willing to make, no matter how much protein is involved. ALDI, who requires you to rinse your quinoa, happens to offer a great price on chopped green chiles, so that’s where I buy mine.
  • Cook your own beans. It’s super cheap and easy to cook dried beans. Freeze them in 2-cup containers; it’s just like opening a can.

How I make this recipe easy:

This recipe really couldn’t be easier than it is, but having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs.

Here are the tools that I use for this recipe:

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Quinoa Chili
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins

Enjoy a chili supper that's full of flavor and a good dose of protein. This Quinoa Chili comes together quickly and easily for a super supper.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chili, quinoa
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 145 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons pasilla chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 15- ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa rinsed if not packaged that way already
  • two 15.5-ounce cans black beans drained
  • two 15.5-ounce cans kidney beans drained
  • two 15.5-ounce cans pinto beans drained
  • 14.5- ounce can diced tomatoes with their juices
  • 4- ounc can chopped green chiles with their juices
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For serving: shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, chopped avocado, and/or chopped fresh cilantro
  1. In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Cook the onions, jalapeno, and garlic until the onion starts to become translucent, about 5 minutes.

  2. Add the pasilla chile powder, cumin, and oregano. Stir to combine. Stir in the tomato sauce and then the chicken stock. Bring to a low simmer.
  3. Add the quinoa, beans, tomatoes, and green chiles. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. To freeze: Divide the chili into meal-size portions in plastic containers. Chill in the refrigerator before freezing. When ready to serve, thaw the chili in the refrigerator. Reheat in a saucepan until heated through.
Recipe Notes
  • Nutrition Facts do not include any toppings you might add!
Nutrition Facts
Quinoa Chili
Amount Per Serving (8 g)
Calories 145 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 474mg21%
Potassium 483mg14%
Carbohydrates 19g6%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 900IU18%
Vitamin C 11.7mg14%
Calcium 47mg5%
Iron 2.5mg14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Quinoa Chili With Three Chiles



About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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