Hearty Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

Welcome to our guest blogger Amanda Mulder, Registered Dietitian at Zehr's in Stratford and Listowel.

Hello Everyone!

I have a passion for health and nutrition and I enjoy challenging myself and my husband to try new foods or foods in new ways! As a child I wasn’t exposed to a large variety of foods. We were a “typical” meat, potatoes, and vegetable family, and I’ll admit I was a bit picky. 

Now, along with trying new foods, one area of focus was trying to incorporate more legumes like beans into my diet as high fiber, lower fat and budget - friendly substitute to meat. Whether canned or dried, pulses make a great addition or meat-substitute to a variety of dishes including tacos, salads, casseroles, nachos, pizza, omelets, quesadillas, stews and even burgers. 

For dishes like casseroles or tacos which typically use ground meat, I use part ground meat and part beans to stretch out the ‘meat’ portion, as a slow introduce to beans and to make a healthier dish.   

Today I’ve decided to share a simple vegetarian chili recipe from which I found this past year. It will warm you up as we transition into the fall, can incorporate all 4 food groups, and uses some foods I’ve added into my diet recently: beans, quinoa and avocado!  

4 tsp (20mL) olive oil
2 cups (500mL) roughly chopped cremini mushrooms (6oz/180g)
2 onions, diced
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
2 Tbsp (25mL) chili powder
1 can (796mL) Diced Tomatoes
1 can (540mL) 6 Bean Medley, drained and rinsed
½ cup (125mL) Quinoa


  1. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook mushrooms and onions for 12 to 14 minutes, stirring often, or until golden. 
  2. Stir in jalapeno and chili powder; cook 1 minute longer, stirring frequently. 
  3. Stir in diced tomatoes and juices, beans, quinoa and 1 cup (250 mL) water. 
  4. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender. 
  5. Serve garnished with Yogurt and chopped fresh coriander, if desired.

 Dietitian’s Tips: I enjoy garnishing my chili with some shredded cheese, a dollop of mashed avocado mixed with plain Greek yogurt and sprinkled with chopped cilantro!  I am using the plain Greek yogurt as a low fat and nutrient rich alternative to sour cream, still getting the delicious creamy taste. The addition of the cheese and yogurt incorporates the last of the four foods groups into this meal! 

Feel free to be creative and make this recipe your own by adding some other foods! Here are some ideas of what you could add: peppers (any colour), celery, garlic, cumin, red pepper flakes, cocoa powder, any beans (black beans, kidney beans), lentils, extra lean ground turkey, low sodium vegetable juice or no salt added broth (if less thick desired), etc.

I also have made this recipe in the crock pot, add everything in the morning cook on low for 6-8 hours and enjoy when you get home.

I hope you enjoy this tasty vegetarian dinner with all four food groups!

Amanda, RD
Registered Dietitian

Amanda is the in-store registered dietitian in Stratford and Listowel. She provides healthy eating classes, grocery store tours and demonstrations.