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Friday, September 11, 2015

Vegan, Gluten Free Chocolate Quinoa Chili - Crockpot or Not (+MeatlessMonday)

It's hard to make chili look pretty. But pretty or not, this healthy, protein-packed Chocolate Chili is pretty darned awesome. Did I mention chocolate? Yeah. Chocolate. Cocoa (or actual dark chocolate, I'm flexible on that. You'll see) gives it a rich, dark flavour that can't be beat. 

And it's also incredibly easy. So easy that if you don't have a crockpot you can do this on the stovetop within 30 minutes (give or take a couple of minutes for chopping). I like it in the crockpot because I can put it in there and walk away for a few hours. Especially in the summertime when I'm craving something hearty, but don't want to turn on the stove.

And the best part? Uhm, did I mention the chocolate?


The ingredients are quite flexible. Sometimes I have organic corn and celery, sometimes I don't. Peppers come and go. Sometimes I throw in a bit of zucchini. Chili can be done in a variety of ways, so don't limit yourself to just these ingredients. Search through the fridge for bits and ends of things and toss them in! 

Ingredients for Vegan, Gluten Free Chocolate Quinoa Chili (makes 6 servings)

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium-sized onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1/4 c chopped bell pepper (any colour you prefer) 
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 1/2 c water or vegetable broth (if using just water, add 2 bay leaves for flavour)
1/2 c dry quinoa, rinsed in a fine mesh sieve
1- 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 c chopped tomatoes OR 1 - 14.5 oz can diced, crushed, or stewed plain tomatoes
 1/2 c organic corn
1/4 - 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you like it hot)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp cocoa powder OR 3-4 squares dark chocolate

Optional toppings: fresh cilantro, avocado, dairy-free shredded cheese, yogurt or sour cream for the non-vegans, nutritional yeast


1) In a slow cooker turn heat on high and heat oil. Add onions and garlic and saute 5-7 minutes until tender. (I chop & prep my other stuff while the onions are cooking. Just give them a stir every couple of minutes). This can also be done in a large pot over medium-low heat.

2) Add ingredients down to and excluding water / broth. Saute for another minute or two to release the flavour of the spices. Add a tablespoon or two of broth if necessary to prevent sticking. 

3) Add water/broth, quinoa, beans, tomatoes, corn, and pepper flakes. Set slow cooker to high for 2.5-3 hours or low 5-6. It will need to be monitored for the last hour to prevent burning. OR: in the large pot on the stove, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until quinoa is cooked and liquid is mostly absorbed. 

4) At the end, stir in salt and cocoa powder or chocolate (or let your kids toss in the chocolate and watch it melt!). Top with optional toppings and serve.

How do you like your chili? 
Do you have a favourite topping or addition?


Have you seen my gluten free pasta book  Recipes for Unusual Gluten Free Pasta: Pierogis, Dumplings, Desserts and More! ? Get yourself a copy and start making GF won tons, pierogis, dumplings, and orzo today :)

This post was shared on the following great link parties: Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Hop,

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