Slow Cooker Quinoa Chili

quinoa chili

For obvious reasons, winter has never really been my favorite. And by obvious reasons, I just mean, well, the cold. And the short, dark days. And the dry, chapped hands. The slippery roads. The salt that is copiously strewed over every business’ sidewalk, which stains my boots and requires my dog to wear boots because it stings his paws.┬áThat’s what I’m referring to when I say “obvious.”

But then there are days like the one I had last Sunday — days that remind me of winter’s virtues. Here’s a little bit how it went down: with my slippers and pajamas on, I snuggled with my dog and binge-watched Friends on Netflix while the smell of chili simmering in the slow cooker permeated my comfortably warm old home, enough that I wasn’t even thinking about the dropping temperatures outside.

While the slow cooker has long been touted as a working woman’s (or man’s) greatest asset for having ready-to-eat meals available upon walking in the door, I have long loved the slow cooker for its equally important role in helping me facilitate a day of doing absolutely nothing. And by nothing, I mean binge-watching Netflix shows.

If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can always make this on the stovetop. I recommend sauteeing the mushrooms and peppers prior to adding the other ingredients if you go that route. Just remember that even though this chili doesn’t otherwise require a lot of cooking other than warming through, chili still benefits from the flavors being allowed to develop for awhile. So if you’re going the stovetop route, I would still let it simmer. Otherwise, if you’re looking to invest in a slow cooker, this one seems to be the latest version of what I use, and I’ve had good results with it.

Some toppings that I think would go great with this chili include:

Sliced avocado

Vegan sour cream

Hot sauce

Diced raw onion

Corn chips

Sliced green onion

Slow Cooker Quinoa Chili

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 5 hours

Yield: 8-10 servings


  • 3 14 oz., cans fire roasted diced tomatoes/diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 14 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14 oz. can northern white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 8 oz. white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and diced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, well rinsed


  1. Add all ingredients except quinoa to slow cooker. Cover and turn on high. Cook chili on high for 4 - 4 1/2 hours, or until chili is simmering and peppers and mushrooms are soft. If possible, stir halfway through to prevent burning on the bottom.
  2. In the last 1/2 hour of cooking, add rinsed quinoa to small pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer until all water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked (about 15 minutes). Add cooked quinoa to chili and stir to combine.
  3. Add more salt or seasoning to taste. Serve chili with desired toppings.


I imagine this recipe can also be made on a "low" slow cooker setting, just allow additional time for the vegetables to soften. If making over the stovetop, I would saute the mushrooms and peppers in the oil first, then add the remaining ingredients.

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