Quinoa Chili with Red Peppers

I ran into a neighbor the other day who was out walking with her three kids.  The youngest is a new baby, just about the same age that my new baby was when I decided that something had to give and we’d just have to eat scrambled eggs for the rest of time.  (I’d like to be able to say that I gave up on cleaning as well as cooking at that time, but, to be honest, cleaning was never really my thing.)

I offered to bring dinner by, of course.  I probably should have offered to come over and do eight loads of laundry instead, but I imagined that my casual acquaintance wouldn’t take me up on that offer.  (Or maybe I’m just telling myself that because I’d rather cook than do laundry any day.  If someone near and dear to you has a baby, though–especially a third baby–you should TOTALLY offer to do their laundry.  They need all the help they can get.)

I’m not necessarily recommending this chili as the ideal food for new parents.  It has everything some nursing moms try to avoid: spice, garlic, beans, onions.  Some might prefer a soothing lentil soup, or those quinoa cakes, or a tofu enchilada casserole.  But this chili is quick to cook and makes plenty to share.  And my neighbor was game.

It’s a recipe from the the “red” section of the Ripe cookbook (also the source of that Dal with Curried Red Onion Jam).  And when I read the headnote I knew that this recipe and I were meant to be.  Because it says that Ripe author Cheryl Sternman Rule adapted the recipe from one that she developed for Eating Well magazine way back when–and you know that she has GOT to be talking about my favorite wheat berry chili.  Except that quinoa cooks in 15 minutes instead of an hour and 15 minutes.  A brilliant idea for a busy mom on a busy day.  I kept my favorite elements of each recipe, of course, cooking the quinoa longer for more chew than crunch, happily piling in the red pepper, replacing red beans with homemade black beans, and squeezing in a few limes at the end.Quinoa Chili with Red Peppers: Over medium-high heat, saute a large diced onion, 2 diced red bell peppers, 5 cloves of minced garlic, 2 tsp. chili powder, 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper.  Stir occasionally until tender, then add a 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, 2 tsp. brown sugar, and 3-4 c. homemade black beans with their cooking liquid plus a cup of stock (OR 2 drained and rinsed cans of black or red beans plus 2 c. stock).  Stir in a spoonful of chipotle puree (made by blending the contents of a can of chipotles in adobo until smooth; store the rest in your refrigerator and use indiscriminately).  Bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add 3/4 c. rinsed quinoa (I used red) and continue cooking until quinoa is soft and its little sprouty ends sproing out, about 20 minutes more.  Squeeze in a lime, taste for salt (I wanted a good bit more), and let sit to thicken and cool for a few minutes before serving.  Garnish with avocado, cilantro, salsa, and/or cheese.  As you can imagine, this chili is also just dandy over a baked potato.

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21 thoughts on “Quinoa Chili with Red Peppers

      1. rachelocal

        I make a three bean chili all the time. I’m posting a variation of that recipe this week, but I used local ground turkey as well. You could easily omit the turkey and it would be just as good. Check back for it!

    1. emmycooks Post author

      That’s why I always keep canned beans around even though I MEAN to have homemade ones on hand all the time. Because some days you just want to be able to make chili right away. :)

      Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      Agreed! I almost think the leftovers are the best part. Like any soup, it’s even better once the flavors have had time to blend–and the second time around you can just grab it from the fridge & lunch is ready in minutes!

      Reply
  1. Little Sis

    If it hadn’t been for my mother, we would have eaten cereal for months after the twins were born, so I’m sure your efforts are appreciated. It looks delish!

    Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      Cereal for dinner is a perfectly lovely option, but probably better if you are choosing it because you like it than if you are choosing it because you have a twin in each arm! I’m glad your mom was around to help, I know that I always appreciate mine so much when she comes to take care of me. :)

      Reply
  2. Matt

    This is perfect! We have a ton of quinoa to use and I love the idea of using it as a chili. Thank you so much for this website.

    Reply
    1. musingmar

      I made this chill for dinner today, and OMG! Incredible! This is the first time I’ve used quinoa and definitely not the last. So flavourful, and great to have a chili without the heaviness of meat. There was nothing missing in terms of texture and satisfaction, and it had the version of all kinds of virtue! Super nutritious and super flavourful, not to mention so colourful and pleasing to the eye. The Culinary Enthusiast absolutely raved about this chili, as I am now. Thanks for sharing! I’ll be blogging about this one, with a link back to your blog.

      Reply
  3. josieknits

    I’m new to your blog and this was the first emmycooks recipe that I made. It was so delicious! My husband and I, who are both looking to eat less meat, agreed that this dish was much more tasty and satisfying than turkey chili. We are looking forward to some leftovers tomorrow night! Great idea of blending the chipotle pepper in its sauce and swirling a spoon or two into the chili. It really rounded out the flavors, and is a great way to include it in a dish. Next time I may try adding corn to the dish.

    Reply

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