One-Pot Quinoa Chili

I’m baaack…

Okay, so maybe no one else noticed, but I didn’t post last weekend, because I was sick. Seems my body rebelled against going back to work after three weeks off on winter break (in fact, I had to call out from work… after only three days back). But, with food, liquids, and sleep as my medicine, I healed up all them gnarly tummy aches. I am stronger than any nasty little bug that tries to keep me down! RAWRRR!! Anyways…

One-Pot Quinoa Chili

I’ve got a one-pot quinoa chili recipe for you today, because it’s the kind of thing you want to eat in the winter.

Warm, hearty, comforting. Healthy and nutritious for those with weight-loss/health-minded resolutions. Plus, it’s easy to make and easy to clean up after.

My inspiration for this quinoa chili recipe came from Damn Delicious¬†(doesn’t the name just exude confidence?). However, I was pretty sure I could make something similar without having to cook the quinoa separately first. I wanted to just stir everything into one big pot, cover it, and let it do it’s magic.

One-Pot Quinoa Chili

So I did that, thinking that the tomato sauce and just a cup of broth would be enough liquid for the quinoa to soak up, and… the quinoa took¬†sooo long to cook. I’d say it took about 45 minutes of simmer time for it to finally be tender enough to eat, when quinoa should usually be done in 15-20 minutes.

Add to that, the soupy tomato-ey mixture was really violent as it cooked (even on low heat)! At one point when I lifted the lid to stir in some spices, the bubbles started to uncontrollably surface, pop, and splash hot tomato sauce 3 feet into the air – landing on the walls, the cabinets, the toaster, and the girl who thought this would be a good idea.

One-Pot Quinoa Chili

No worries… I edited the recipe to spare you the pain so that the quinoa gets properly cooked first, then simmered in tomato sauce, spices, etc. It’s still a one-pot quinoa chili recipe, but a much smarter way to go about it. Keep your kitchen and your body clean (inside and out); make this!

One-Pot Quinoa Chili

One-Pot Quinoa Chili

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: About 8 servings

One-Pot Quinoa Chili


  • 4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, finely diced (I used 10 baby carrots)
  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
  • 2 cans tomato sauce (15 oz. each)
  • 1 cup chunky salsa, desired heat level
  • 1 can red kidney beans (15 oz.)
  • 1 can black beans (15 oz.)
  • 1 can corn (15 oz.), optional
  • 1/4 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 3 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
  • 2 tsp. organic sugar
  • Optional toppings: Diced avocado, nutritional yeast, tortilla chips


  1. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a wide, deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion; saute 2-3 minutes to soften. Add carrots and continue cooking 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer under cold running water for 10-15 seconds; shake off excess water. Add another 2 tsp. olive oil to onion/carrot mixture, then add the quinoa. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes or until extra water has evaporated and it starts to smell toasty.
  3. Pour the vegetable broth or water into the pan. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat. Let the quinoa simmer 15-20 minutes until quinoa is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, stirring once half-way through to keep from sticking.
  4. Add the tomato sauce, salsa, black and kidney beans, corn, liquid smoke, chili powder, cumin, sea salt, and sugar; stir well. Cover again and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally (less time for soupier texture, more time for thicker chili). Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  5. Serve chili with nutritional yeast sprinkled on top, diced avocado, and/or tortilla chips (crushed or whole).
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Nutrition information below is for 1 serving = 1/8 quinoa chili recipe, including corn. Does not include optional toppings.

One-Pot Quinoa Chili Nutrition Information

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