Slow Cooker Bean Quinoa Chili

GFGluten FreeNFNut FreeOFOil FreeVVegan
4.97 from 31 votes
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Slow Cooker Bean Quinoa Chili is the perfect protein-packed chili to whip up for a quick dinner or easy meal prep. All you need is 10 ingredients. Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar Free, Oil-Free.

This Bean Quinoa Chili has tons of rave reviews for a reason! It’s hearty, cozy, and satisfying, yet won’t break the bank with expensive, unnecessary ingredients. Simmer on low in your favorite slow cooker until thick and delicious, then dish this crowd pleaser up with your favorite toppings. Vegetarians and meat eaters alike will be going back for seconds!

Table of Contents
  1. The Ultimate Set it and Forget it Recipe
  2. What You Need for Bean Quinoa Chili
  3. How to Make Slow Cooker Bean Quinoa Chili
  4. Serving Suggestions
  5. How to Store Bean Quinoa Chili
  6. Substitutions and Variations
  7. Recipe FAQs
  8. Slow Cooker Vegan Bean & Quinoa Chili Recipe
bean quinoa chili served in a bowl and topped with avocado, cilantro and sour cream

The Ultimate Set it and Forget it Recipe

If you love recipes where you can quite literally throw a bunch of things together in a pot, set a timer, and then forget about it until dinner, you’re going to LOVE this bean and quinoa chili.

It takes close to no effort (just 5 minutes of prep!) and is packed with delicious plant-based protein, keeping you full and satisfied for hours. Bookmark this easy recipe for busy weeknights, lazy weekends, or when you need the perfect big batch recipe for pleasing a crowd. You can also stash a few servings away in the freezer to reheat during the cold winter months.

What You Need for Bean Quinoa Chili

Just like most of the recipes on From My Bowl, this fuss-free chili recipe is made with simple ingredients, most of which are affordable pantry staples. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Protein: This vegan quinoa chili is loaded with plant-based protein and health benefits thanks to quinoa, red kidney beans, and black beans.
  • Tomato broth base: A combination of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and low-sodium vegetable broth make the flavorful broth here. If you only have full-sodium veggie broth in your pantry, I’d recommend substituting at least 1 cup with water to prevent your chili from being too salty.
  • Aromatics: Red onion, garlic, and fresh cilantro. Simple, yet oh so flavorful.
  • Spices: I’ve made my own chili seasoning with a blend of ancho chili powder, ground cumin, cayenne, and salt. If you’re sensitive to spice or feeding small kids, feel free to omit or reduce the cayenne!

How to Make Slow Cooker Bean Quinoa Chili

side-by-side images of the cooking process of the chili, with the image on the left showing the ingredients in a pan and the image of the right showing the cooking process
  1. Mix all ingredients together in the slow cooker bowl.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours, or on high for 3 hours.
  3. Season with additional salt to taste.
  4. Serve warm with cilantro leaves and additional toppings, as desired.
a zoomed in image of slow cooker quinoa chili topped with cilantro

Caitlin’s Cooking Tips

  • Utilize your cilantro stems! Cilantro stems pack just as much flavor as cilantro leaves. Save money and reduce kitchen waste and use those stems to flavor your chili and similar Tex-Mex recipes such as Easy Tex-Mex Black Bean Salad or Instant Pot Black Bean Soup.
  • Add additional liquid if cooking for over 5 hours. After 5 hours, this chili will begin to dry out as the moisture continues to cook off. If you plan on making this chili in the morning before work and won’t be back for 8 hours, add additional water or vegetable broth to the pot of chili to keep it hydrated.

Serving Suggestions

This slow cooker quinoa chili is the perfect dinner main to serve during the cooler seasons. Enjoy on its own garnished with toppings such as vegan sour cream, cheese shreds, cubed avocado, green onions, quick pickled Jalapeños or hot sauce, and fresh cilantro.

This plant-based chili also pairs well with side dishes such as Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins, Classic Vegan Cornbread, or Easy Avocado Salsa. Or keep it even simpler and serve with a side of crunchy tortilla chips for scooping!If you’re looking for more hearty vegan chili recipes, you’ll also love this Butternut Squash & White Bean Chili (Vegan), Vegan Chipotle Black Bean Chili, Vegan Pumpkin Chili and this Hearty Vegan Chorizo Chili!

How to Store Bean Quinoa Chili

This quinoa chili recipe will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days or in the freezer for 2 months. Allow the chili to cool completely to room temperature before storing.

Defrost leftovers in the refrigerator for 1-2 days, or until thawed completely. Reheat in the microwave or in a pot on the stovetop until warmed through.

bean quinoa chili served in a bowl and topped with avocado, cilantro and sour cream

Substitutions and Variations

  • Black bean substitutes: Any of your favorite canned beans will work here. Try pinto beans, red beans, white beans, or even chickpeas for different variations.
  • Red onion substitutes: For a milder onion flavor, use yellow onion or sweet onion.
  • Broth substitutes: I used low-sodium vegetable broth, but feel free to use vegan chicken broth or even vegan beef broth for an even saltier, more flavorful chili.
  • Frozen corn substitutes: Replace the frozen corn with 2 cups of drained and rinsed canned corn.
  • Instant Pot variation: Follow the same instructions as written and utilize the slow cook function on the pressure cooker. A reader has also shared good results cooking this quinoa chili on manual high pressure for 18 minutes, but I have not personally tested this.
  • Make a smaller batch: I made this chili using a 6 qt slow cooker. If you are using a 3.5 qt sized crockpot, I’d recommend halving this entire recipe to make a smaller portion.
a zoomed in image of slow cooker quinoa chili topped with cilantro

Recipe FAQs

Can I use dried beans?

You can use dried beans in this chili recipe, but they must be cooked before adding them to the slow cooker. My favorite way to cook dried beans is in the Instant Pot. If cooking from dried, you’ll need about 1 cup of dried red kidney beans and 1 cup of dried black beans.

What can I use in chili instead of meat?

This vegetarian chili gets its protein from both beans and quinoa. Quinoa alone is a complete protein and contains all of the essential amino acids. If you’re looking for something even “meatier,” try my Vegan Chorizo Chili.

Is chili better in a slow cooker?

Chili on the stovetop is delicious, but cooking it in the slow cooker does have one great advantage – the longer simmer time develops deeper, more developed flavor.

Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊

Slow Cooker Vegan Bean & Quinoa Chili

4.97 from 31 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 8 people
Slow Cooker Bean Quinoa Chili is the perfect protein-packed chili to whip up for a quick dinner or easy meal prep. All you need is 10 ingredients. Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar Free, Oil-Free.

Ingredients
 
 

Instructions

  • Prep: Add the onion, corn, beans, quinoa, garlic, cilantro stems, spices, salt, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and vegetable broth to a slow cooker. Mix well, until everything is evenly distributed.
  • Cook: Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours, or on high for 3 hours.
  • Season & Serve: Stir well and add additional salt to taste, if necessary. Serve warm; top with the remaining cilantro leaves and any additional toppings, as desired. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Recipe Notes

  • Instant Pot: Follow the instructions as written, using the Slow Cook function.

Nutrition

Calories: 336kcalCarbohydrates: 64gProtein: 18gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0.4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 640mgPotassium: 1197mgFiber: 16gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1186IUVitamin C: 19mgCalcium: 102mgIron: 7mg
Keyword: bean quinoa chili, vegan bean recipe, vegan chili recipe, vegan dinner ideas, vegan mexican recipes, vegan slow cooker recipes
Course: Main, Main Course
Method: Stovetop
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

About the Author

Hey there, Iโ€™m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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Comments

  1. Inhave tried a bunch of chili recipes and this will not be my go-to. I mixed everything in my crock pot before realizing it was too small so I transferred everything to a stock pot and it turned out perfect. The deep warmth from the spices is balanced with the sweet corn ( I used canned). I love the thickness. Please try this recipe!

    P.S. The hot spicy level on this is perfect! Not overbearingly spicy but just enough to make my nose run (LOVE!)

      1. 5 stars
        correction:

        I have tried a bunch of chili recipes and this will notw be my go-to. I mixed everything in my crock pot before realizing it was too small so I transferred everything to a stock pot and it turned out perfect. The deep warmth from the spices is balanced with the sweet corn ( I used canned). I love the thickness. Please try this recipe!

        P.S. The hot spicy level on this is perfect! Not overbearingly spicy but just enough to make my nose run (LOVE!)

  2. 5 stars
    This is the best vegan chilli I have made and eaten! It’s also the best slow cooker recipe I’ve ever made – normally the meal is left with far too much liquid but this was lovely and thick!
    I used less tomato puree and omitted the coriander but am so impressed with the recipe that I’ll definitely be doing it again. Thanks Caitlin!

  3. Hi, Iโ€™m confused with the amount of vegetable broth. Is it 2 and 3/4 cups or 2 c 3/4 cups so 1 and a half total?

  4. Hi Caitlin, I am cooking dinner for about 35 women next week and there are a few coming who are vegan. I’m planning on making this as one of my dishes and I was wondering if it’ll come out the same if I double the recipe. Although I’m making it for just a few, I know everyone is going to want some so I want to have enough for all. Thank you.

  5. Hey Caitlin! I want to make this today but the only ingredient I donโ€™t have on hand is crushed tomatoes. Do you think I can get away with omitting or do you have a substitution suggestion? Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yes, you can, though it won’t taste exactly the same and you may need to add a little more liquid. If you have diced tomatoes those would work as well!

  6. 5 stars
    This may be a dumb question but I put the uncooked quinoa in the slow cooker with everything?? Or cook the quinoa first and then add in??

  7. I made this today and had it for dinner with my father tonight (I added garlic, a jalapeรฑo and a small green pepper). It was AMAZING, we LOVED it! I’ve made a dozen chili recipes and this is by far my favourite. Thank you so much Caitlin ๐Ÿ™‚ xo

  8. 5 stars
    Making this tonight for dinner! Iโ€™m so excited for it to be done so I can dig in!! Thanks for always making and sharing awesome recipes!

  9. 5 stars
    i just finished making this. i’m not a vegan but i LOVE chili. i’ll try any chili that looks good, and yours looks spectacular. so i made it to instruction, except i added:
    -diced carrot
    -quartered zucchini

    it amps the dish up. i only eat my chili over rice, so i love that the quinoa was already cooked into this. no need for rice. i always make vegetarian chili, and it calls for zucchini. i think adding it to your dish was also wise. it adds so much flavor. i ended up putting regular sour cream / cheese on top because i don’t have vegan substitutes. it’s absolutely delicious without those on top. i also put in a bit of sriracha on my individual serving. SO GOOD!! try this with carrots and zucchini next time…

  10. 4 stars
    Made this tonight and wow, so easy! And I feel full after only a bowl thanks to all the healthy and high protein food it contains. I added 1 tbsp of natural non sweetened yogurt instead of sour cream to add some smoothness to the dish. I added the yogurt and nutritional yeast for serving, instead of avocado. SO GOOD. Next time I am going to use 3/4 the amount of quinoa however because I found it was a bit thick for my liking. This recipe was so quick and easy with minimal prep or cleaning time needed.

  11. I only recently got into chili, and I can’t believe I never enjoyed it this much until now! This chili looks absolutely divine. The avocado and nutritional yeast probably elevate the flavors even more!

  12. 5 stars
    I made this recipe yesterday in the crock pot and it was fabulous! So tasty and the house smelled amazing. Thanks Caitlyn!!!

  13. This looks great! Iโ€™ve never cooked lentils before but want to try, do you think I could sub them for one of the bean types, or would that definitely be a disaster? Haha

  14. Yay, I have all the ingredients at home. Will be making this tonight!! It looks so good. I don’t own a slow cooker but I do have an instant pot. Would you use the slow cooker function or the manual button? And if the manual, how long would you cook it? ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you Caitlin!

      1. 5 stars
        The recipe is simple and tasty! Made it yesterday for the first time and Iโ€™m now including in my meal prep plan. Thank you for this easy and delicious meal!