A delicious and well-seasoned southwest quinoa chili made easy in one skillet. This meatless dish will have your whole family (meat lovers included!) begging for more!
Okay disclaimer time. I had NO clue what to name this recipe! Sometimes naming recipes can be hard, or, at least for me it can be. I’m just throwing together ingredients and tasting it as I go and all of the sudden I have something amazing (or not, but that’s a discussion for another day). But then comes the part where I have to (in so many words) try to describe the amazing taste or say what it is I’ve created.
This dish was one I totally struggled with naming. One skillet and easy – well those words came easily because it perfectly describes the dish. This is done all in one skillet and is VERY easy! So easy in fact that it’s been lunch or dinner way too many times since I developed it. I’m talking like 4-5 times. Luckily no complaints yet; I guess it’s just that good 🙂 That and I have a baby that can’t complain yet and one hecka great husband.
The rest of the name however, I didn’t know. It definitely has some chili flavors and chili beans, but I don’t know how much of a real “chili” this is. So I’m very sorry if you are expecting a traditional chili with this recipe, but it’s not so traditional. And then southwest – well there is some cilantro, fresh lime juice, and I added loads of sour cream (MUST DO!) so it definitely has a bit of a southwest kick to it.
After struggling with the name for some time, I just decided to go with what my husband named it after he had taken a few bites. He told me to call it a southwestern quinoa chili. So, if you don’t like the name, all blame goes to him 😉
Okay so now that the name is out of the way, let’s just talk about the actual dish. First thing, it’s vegetarian. Technically vegan too depending on the additions you choose to add or not add. Although, I’m going to say it’s vegetarian because adding in sour cream is a huge must. It takes this dish from great to WOWZAS. Seriously, even if you aren’t a fan of sour cream you should at least try it 🙂 I always use fat-free sour cream and honestly can’t even tell the difference from full fat when it’s mixed into a dish like this one.
Next thing, I used sweet potatoes as the “base” of this dish and absolutely love them. They get soft and tender and go so well with all the other ingredients. However, you could definitely try subbing in some squash (I’d recommend butternut) or maybe even some chopped pumpkin. Other ingredients include chili beans (yum, yum!), diced tomatoes, corn, and of course quinoa. I always rinse the quinoa off before adding it to remove the natural coating (it’s called saponin) which sometimes can make the quinoa taste bitter. To rinse the quinoa I’ve found the easiest way is in a mesh strainer – no quinoa lost this way!
And finally, the seasonings. Super quick and easy to add in all of the seasonings, BUT I would recommend starting slow (or even omitting) on some spices if you are sensitive to spiciness or too much spice. You can always add more later. And on the flip side, you may like more spice than the recipe calls out for so in that case, definitely increase the amounts. One other note, if you don’t have all of the seasonings on hand, you could use a chili seasoning packet. I did try this dish with a packet and although I preferred the spices called in the recipe, the spice packet was also fantastic. 🙂
You are going to wish Meatless Monday was every day of the week with this one!
- 2 cups chopped sweet potatoes
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- Scant 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water or tomato broth
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 can (15.5 ounces) chili beans
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) petite diced tomatoes
- Optional toppings: fresh lime juice, chopped cilantro, sour cream, cheddar cheese
- In a large skillet over medium high heat add in the (peeled and chopped) sweet potatoes with the olive oil.
- Stir until quite tender, around 7-9 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Thoroughly rinse the quinoa. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the quinoa to the hot skillet stirring constantly for 30 seconds.
- Return to the heat and add in the water or broth (I used water), the frozen corn, drained and rinsed chili beans, and undrained petite diced tomatoes.
- Stir everything well and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to medium low and cover the pot.
- Allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. This time will vary depending on the heat of your stove-top. For best results, check it every 3-5 minutes and give it a good stir at each check to avoid burning or sticking to the bottom.
- Once the liquid is absorbed into the dinner, remove from the heat.
- Top with optional toppings as desired and season with any additional seasonings if desired. We topped ours with a squeeze of lime, a good spoonful of fat free sour cream, and some chopped cilantro. I would say at least add sour cream because it should be a required ingredient it's that good in this dish :)
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