Recipe: Three Bean + Quinoa Chilli

Because it’s finally getting a bit cooler here in Melbourne (and by that I mean it’s still low- to mid-twenties), and because I’m a sucker for a good one pot meal, last week I decided to bust out my trusty bean and quinoa chilli recipe for dinner. I love this recipe because it contains quinoa, which is one of my favourite foods (excellent health claims aside, I just love its texture), and because it makes enough chilli to pack for lunches for the next few days at work. It’s a perfect, easy weeknight meal, and it’s definitely best made earlier in the week to reap the benefits of having pre-made lunch for the week. But what’s obviously more important than that is it tastes so good. It’s a really flavourful chilli with lots of herbs and spices in it, and a little bit of heat if you decide to include the jalapeno.

Aside from taking the time to chop all of the vegetables, this chilli takes almost no time to prepare: 10 minutes sautéing the veggies prior to simmering, and then leave it over low heat for 30-40 minutes. Imagine that, cooking dinner and you’ve got time to do other things. It’s like that commercial where the mom buys a new mop and cleans the house in record time, and finally has time to read her book. This chilli, this is the Swiffer Sweeper of dinner recipes. I know right, mops for dinner, you’re clearly sold.

Obviously this recipe is really filling, as it’s got an insane amount of protein in it, what with the three cans of beans and the quinoa. I used to use black beans back when I was living in Canada, but since for some reason they are completely non-existent here in Australia (like seriously, how do they make any sort of Spanish/Mexican cuisine!? I can’t figure this out), I replaced them with lentils. So whichever your preference is for beans, just buy three cans of something, and toss it in. Hey, there’s no precision in cooking chilli. But from a cooking perspective, make sure you add a generous helping of herbs and spices, and I promise you this is going to be your new favourite dinner (well, after the macaroni + cheese, seriously that can’t be beat in my opinion). All that’s left to add is a crusty roll to sop up the remnants and you’re good to go!


  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded (if you like extra spice, leave some of the seeds in)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or 1.5 cups cooked kidney beans)
  • 1 can lentils, drained and rinsed (or 1.5 cups cooked lentils)
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas)
  • 1 can corn kernels
  • 4-5 small potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup tomato sauce or 1/4 cup tomato paste and 3/4 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Heat the oil on medium heat, then add garlic and onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onions start to become translucent.
  2. Add the peppers and the jalapeño, and cook for 5 minutes on medium-high. Add the herbs and spices (not the salt), and stir for 2 more minutes.
  3. While the veggies are cooking, add the rest of the ingredients, except the soy sauce and molasses, to a large pot.
  4. Once the veggies are cooked, add them to the large pot, and stir. Bring the pot to a boil, and then reduce to simmer for approximately 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked to your liking.

This recipe can also be made in a crockpot, which I used to use all the time back in Canada. I have yet to buy one here in Oz, but if you want to come home to a nice big meal of chilli, prepare the veggies ahead of time, as per steps 1 and 2, and then add everything to the crockpot. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. The quinoa cooks perfectly in the juices of the chilli, so you’ll come home to a delicious, ready-made meal. Enjoy!

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