Meatless Monday: Jamaican-Spiced Quinoa Chili

This entry was posted on Nov 5, 2018 by Charlotte Bell.

Jamaican-Spiced Quinoa Chili

Chili was one of the first things I learned to cook, way back when I first left home. It always felt like a huge accomplishment, even though by my current standards, it was really rather easy to make.

Back then, I used ground beef, some onions, a can of beans, canned tomatoes, canned tomato sauce and some chili powder. Once I stopped eating meat—40 years ago now—I substituted LOTS of beans for the ground beef. Twenty-five years ago, I came upon a fantastic vegan chili recipe and I haven’t strayed from it. Until now.

I was looking through Food52’s Vegan book a few days ago and read through the book’s two chili recipes. They both sound good, but because of the i unusual spices in today’s recipe, I decided to try this one first. The idea of including quinoa for more substance seems like a no brainer, but for whatever reason, I’d never thought of it before reading this recipe.

This quinoa chili recipe was easy to put together. I opted to pressure cook dried kidney beans, but if you use canned beans, it will, of course, be quicker. Because there are quite a few spices in the recipe, I mixed all of them together beforehand  so that when it was time to add them to the veggies, it was quick and easy.

This quinoa chili was definitely worth deviating from my tried-and-true recipe, although I’m sure I’ll return to that one again. I served the chili with cornbread.

Jamaican-Spiced Quinoa Chili

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped (I used a yellow bell pepper.)
  • 1 poblano chili, chopped (I used a serrano pepper, because I couldn’t find fresh poblanos.)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/4 cups quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 3 cups cooked kidney beans (2 15-ounce cans or 1 to 1-1/2 cup dried kidney beans, soaked and cooked)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups (or more) veggie broth
  • 1 small Hass avocado, for garnish
  • cilantro leaves, for garnish

Put It Together:

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Sauté the onion, bell pepper and poblano in oil until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes longer.
  2. Add the quinoa, tomatoes, kidney beans, salt, chili powder, cinnamon, thyme, nutmeg, allspice and veggie broth to the pot. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the quinoa is plump and tender with little tails (the germ) emerging from the grains, about 25 minutes.
  3. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup (or more) veggie broth as needed. (I ended up adding in an additional 1-1/2 cups, for 4 cups total. This is because I ended up with 4 cups of kidney beans instead of 3.)
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve topped with avocado and cilantro.
About Charlotte Bell
Charlotte Bell discovered yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice and Yoga for Meditators, both published by Rodmell Press. Her third book is titled Hip-Healthy Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Guide to Protecting the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Pain (Shambhala Publications). She writes a monthly column for CATALYST Magazine and serves as editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn in the Salt Lake Symphony and folk sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD won two Emmy awards in 2010.