Easy Black Bean Quinoa Chili (vegan, gluten-free)

Easy Black Bean Quinoa Chili

If I’d have to choose one recipe to eat on repeat for supper this winter, it would be this quinoa chili. There’s just something about eating a warm bowl of thick chili that makes me happy. Especially when it’s -10ºC outside like it has been this week.

After work on Monday, I went directly to the park for a small hike. I’ve been feeling the stress of the internship in the last few weeks and my favorite way to reduce my anxiety is to go for a walk in nature. The effect is almost immediate. So Monday, after work, I drove directly to the nearest park (which is 2 minutes from the hospital where I work) and hiked for 45 minutes in the cold. It was a last minute decision, so I didn’t have a scarf, a knit hat or mittens. You better believe I was freezing! I somehow managed to last 45 minutes in the trails, but when I came home, I immediately warmed up with a bowl of chili that I had prepared over the weekend (thank gosh for meal prep!). Guys, this chili is THE BEST! It’s comfort in a bowl! If it’s cold where you live, you need this chili in your life. If it’s warm, then I’m jealous.

Just kidding, I love snow! <— That will change after Christmas.

Easy Black Bean Quinoa Chili (vegan, gluten-free) - Unsweetened Caroline

This chili.

Not only is it delicious, but it’s surprisingly easy to make. It takes only 20 minutes of preparation and 15 minutes of mindless cooking. By mindless I mean you can let it simmer for 15 minutes while you clean the dishes, watch television or even squeeze in a quick workout (I’m impressed if you choose that last option).

You probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already which is always great. I don’t know about you, but I hate going to the grocery store two (or three) times a week just for a few ingredients. I prefer doing groceries every Saturday and do my meal prep on Sunday for the busy week ahead. So all you need is an onion, garlic, bell peppers, a can of crushed tomatoes, black beans, vegetable broth, quinoa, oil and a few common spices. These are all staple ingredients in my kitchen anyway!

I like to make this recipe on Sundays for quick (and delicious) weeknight suppers, but it would honestly be a great recipe to whip up after work when you’re tired. In less than 40 minutes (and only 20 minutes of work), you’ll have a warm bowl of thick, comforting chili.

This recipe is vegan, but if you’d like, you can add a sprinkle of cheese and a dollop of Greek yogurt on top! I like to use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for a protein boost and to add creaminess to the dish. This vegan chili would impress all the meat lovers in your life. At least my meat loving boyfriend loved it! All of my recipes need to be approved by Shaun before going on the blog. I like to make sure I’m not the only one who loves my recipes. 😉Easy Black Bean Quinoa Chili (vegan, gluten-free) - Unsweetened Caroline

It’s chili season and I’m so happy!

Easy Black Bean Chili

This thick, comforting chili will impress all the meat lovers in your life! It's made with black beans and quinoa for plant-based protein and a generous amount of spices for a major flavor boost. I guarantee that this recipe will keep you full for hours!
Course Main Course
Cuisine vegan, vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 5


  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes, canned
  • 4 1/2 cups vegetable broth, no added salt
  • 1 can (19oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup dried quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne (optional)

For Topping

  • Greek yogurt
  • Avocado
  • Cheddar cheese


  • In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.
  • Add onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
  • Add your red and green peppers, chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder and salt. Cook 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir in your crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, quinoa and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, covered.
  • Move away from heat and let it sit, covered for 5-10 minutes until the quinoa is fluffy and your chili is nice and thick.
  • Taste and add salt or pepper if needed.


Add more cayenne pepper for a spicier chili.
If you use low sodium vegetable broth instead of salt-free broth, reduce the amount of salt added.
Keep in an airtight container in the fridge. This recipe can also be kept in the freezer. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before heating.

If you try this recipe, make sure to tag your photo #unsweetenedcaroline on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Don’t forget to also tag me @unsweetened.caroline on Instagram so I can see your creations!

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