Easy Vegetarian Quinoa Chili With Lentils Recipe

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There are tons of vegetarian chili recipes out there. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the easiest meals to render meatless. Chili is hearty and chunky by nature, so it’s easy enough to simply swap out the meat and replace it with extra beans and veggies for a meatless version. However, this vegetarian quinoa chili recipe really takes things to the next level.

While some vegetarian recipes just cut the meat, this super healthy, super easy quinoa chili recipe doesn’t stop there. This clean and simple vegetarian chili boosts its nutritional and flavor profile with powerful (and tasty) superfoods like quinoa and lentils. Healthier and easier than your traditional chili, this vegetarian quinoa chili recipe is still just as rich, delicious, and comforting.

Chili sin Carne

My parents, who are apparently overwhelmingly ignorant of the Spanish language, once thought “chili con carne” meant “chili with corn.” They were genuinely surprised when, after a few elementary school-level Spanish classes, I corrected them.

Being generally carnivorous in their tastes, I guess they just assumed it went without saying that all chili was chili “with meat.” In their minds, there could be no alternative.

Of course, there is an alternative. In fact, there are many alternatives. But of all the meatless chili recipes out there, this vegetarian quinoa chili recipe is by far my favorite.

In my not-so-humble opinion, quinoa makes everything better. It adds subtle flavor, texture, and big-time health and nutritional benefits to any recipe. In this meatless chili recipe, quinoa helps beef up (not literally of course) some of the hearty texture that I often find missing in other vegetarian chili recipes.

Hearty, filling, and super clean, you really can’t go wrong with this chili con quinoa (no translation needed).

Did I Mention it’s Easy?

We all know there are tons of benefits to going meatless, even if it’s just on a part-time basis. One extra bonus you may not have considered? Meatless recipes almost always save you cooking time.

Growing up, I remember chili was a weekends only meal because it took such a long time to cook.

Ready in only forty minutes, this vegetarian quinoa chili recipe is easy enough to whip up on any weeknight. But with all the same hearty chili flavor you love, this healthy meal tastes just like weekend comfort food.

This chili is rich, flavorful, and filling all on its own, but that’s never stopped me from dressing it up a bit with some of my favorite toppings. Remember when I said quinoa makes everything better? Yeah, that’s true of sour cream too. Try this chili with some of my favorite toppings below. And if you have your own favorites, be sure to let me know in the comments!

Optional Toppings:

  • sour cream
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • diced green onions
  • sliced avocado
  • sliced jalapeño
  • chopped cilantro

Check out this video to see how to make the recipe:

Easy Vegetarian Quinoa Chili With Lentils Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Easy Vegetarian Quinoa Chili With Lentils Recipe

Yields: 6 servings | Calories: 375 | Total Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 860mg | Carbohydrates: 66g | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 18g | Protein: 20g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 7


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup (rinsed) dry green lentils (note: green lentils are packed with fiber)
  • 3 heaping tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, more or less to taste
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chills
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 4 cups water, (more or less depending on desired thickness)


  1. In a large pot add oil and onions, over medium-low heat, saute until onions are tender, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low-boil, cover but leave the lid slightly ajar.
  3. Cook chili 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.
  4. Garnish with sour cream and green onions.

More Vegetarian Quinoa Recipes:

Easy Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Over Quinoa

Generally speaking, eggplant parm is a healthier option as far as Italian food goes. Serve this vegan recipe over quinoa instead of pasta, and you’ve got a clean dish to satisfy all your Italian cravings.

Quinoa Salad Recipe

A tasty, go-to quinoa salad recipe. Fresh and zesty, the perfect summer salad.

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