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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!
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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
- Mix all ingredients together in the slow cooker bowl.
- Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours, or on high for 3 hours.
- Season with additional salt to taste.
- Serve warm with cilantro leaves and additional toppings, as desired.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- 1 red onion diced
- 2 cups frozen corn thawed
- 2 cans red kidney beans rinsed and drained 3 cups 500g
- 2 cans black beans rinsed and drained ~2.5 cups 550g
- 1 cup dry quinoa rinsed
- 3-5 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro stems and leaves divided and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder salt-free
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- 28 ounces salt-free crushed tomatoes
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 2 3/4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- Serving suggestions: avocado dairy-free cheese, sour cream, etc.
- 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.
- Instant Pot: Follow the instructions as written, using the Slow Cook function.