The easiest and tastiest chicken + quinoa chili made in the slow cooker. No need to cook the chicken or quinoa first!This is seriously one heck of a chili recipe!! Not only is it so crazy easy, but it’s absolutely delicious, and very good for you! It’s packed with protein, nutrients, and tons of flavor.
Of course, everyone’s preferences are so different with a chili so let me try my best to describe exactly how this one is! It’s definitely got a healthier flavor — with chicken instead of some type of beef and with the quinoa added it just tastes healthier overall. It’s also not too liquid-y at all (what I definitely prefer in a chili) as the quinoa absorbs a lot of the liquid. Because of that it’s extremely hearty and very filling.
The spices are not overpowering and the heat is mild. I created this chili to be something my two year old could love so as you can imagine it’s not going to pack a huge punch and it’s super kid-friendly. That said, I’ve included a bunch of tips and slight alterations (things I’ve tried when making this chili for just adults) to increase the heat to your personal preference.
My family also decided that a generous handful of freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese and a big spoonful of sour cream (we use reduced-fat) is really what “makes” this chili. I could eat this chili for days plain, but with those two additions it makes it one of my favorite meals!
I opted to use a pre-made chili seasoning package for a few reasons. First, I love them – they are flavorful and I enjoy the mix of spices. Also, they are very convenient. Instead of having to make sure you have all these different spices and measuring them (not a huge deal, but when I say a recipe is quick and easy I want to mean it!) you just have to open a packet and dump it in.
However, if you have lots of spices and want to make your own, I would recommend mixing up the following spices and adding a few tablespoons of this mix to your desired preference: 5-6 teaspoons chili powder, 1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper, 1 tablespoon dried minced onion, 1 tablespoon dried minced garlic, 2 teaspoons sugar, 3 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons dried parsley, 2 teaspoons seasoned salt, 1 teaspoon dried basil, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. (This is also included in the directions in the actual recipe!) Play around with the spices to get it just how you love and know a good chili!
The easiest and tastiest chicken + quinoa chili made in the slow cooker.
- 3/4 pound uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts I use 12-14 ounces
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 can (28 ounces) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 can (7 ounces) can dicd green chilies
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/2 cup yellow onion diced
- 2 peppers (I use 1 green and 1 red) chopped
- 2 (15 ounces EACH) cans kidney beans
- 1 (15 ounces) can corn
- 1 (15 ounces) can black beans
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 packet chili seasoning or see #11 on the instructions to make your own
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Add-ins: fresh lime green onion, cheddar cheese, sour cream, additional spices to taste (read notes for a spicier soup)
Lightly grease your slow cooker with nonstick spray. I used a 6 quart slow cooker for this meal.
Cut the chicken breasts in half and rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve. (This removes the bitter saponin)
Add the chicken breasts, quinoa, crushed tomatoes (no need to drain), diced green chilies, garlic, onion, and chopped peppers to the slow cooker.
Drain and rinse the kidney beans, corn, and black beans. Add to the slow cooker with the broth and packet of chili seasoning. Add cayenne pepper if desired.
Cover the slow cooker and set to high. Cook for 3-5 hours or until the quinoa has "popped" and the chicken is completely cooked through and easily shredded. (My slow cooker took exactly 4 hours)
Shred the chicken, stir everything, and add cilantro.
Taste and add seasonings to desired preference.
When ready to serve, serve with a fresh squeeze of lime, green onions if desired, a scoop of sour cream, and some freshly shredded cheddar cheese. (In my opinion adding the cheddar cheese and sour cream is ESSENTIAL! It takes this soup from great to one of my favorite meals)
If there is not enough seasoning, add a bit more to your own preference (my family enjoyed it exactly as written, but I know some people prefer more spice! Also, if you aren't adding in cheese or sour cream, I think you will want additional seasonings as those two additions add TONS of flavor) Start with adding additional chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, and even try adding minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (about 1-2 tablespoons)
IF you don't want to do a chili packet, try combining these spices and adding a few tablespoons of this mix until the chili flavor reaches your desired preference: 5-6 teaspoons chili powder, 1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper, 1 tablespoon dried minced onion, 1 tablespoon dried minced garlic, 2 teaspoons sugar, 3 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons dried parsley, 2 teaspoons seasoned salt, 1 teaspoon dried basil, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.
Spice levels: as is, this is an extremely mild chili (My 2 year old loved it). It's extremely mild with mild diced green chilies, mild packet of chili seasoning, and no cayenne pepper. To increase the heat (and add these things to individual preference not necessarily adding everything; I like it hotter when not making it for kids to eat) use hotter green chilies, add a diced jalapeno, use a medium or hot packet of chili seasoning, add additional spices such as cayenne pepper or whatever you like, and/or for a real great kick add about 1 tablespoon of minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
More delicious slow cooker soups: