For quite some time now I’ve been searching high and low for the perfect chili recipe. But to be honest, I am not really the type of person who makes the same recipe over and over again, year after year, no matter how amazing that recipe may be. I’m always looking to change things up which sometimes involves me changing a recipe so much that it no longer resembles the original in any way. Oh well, I think that keeps things fun. This recipe is a far cry from traditional chili. Supposedly traditional chili is only made with meat – no beans (and definitely no quinoa.) I can honestly say I have never had “real” chili. Bean chili is the only kind I know and I say the more veggies the better! Chili is a great vehicle for all sorts of veggies you might have on hand. I happen to have a lot of zucchini right now and I’m really the only one around here who likes it. So, I shredded up a whole zucchini and threw it into my chili pot. It kinda just melded in with everything else until it almost completely disappeared. Perfect for my zucchini loathing family. Olivia, our 5-year old, didn’t even notice it was there so I would say Operation Sneaky Zucchini was a success. And the quinoa lends a nice texture not to mention tons of protein!
Quinoa Black Bean Chili with Sneaky Zucchini (serves 6?)
- 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup carrots, chopped pretty small
- 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
- pinch of cinnamon
- 2 TBSP chili powder
- 1 TBSP cumin
- 1 TBSP ground coriander
- 1/2 TBSP ground garlic
- 1/2 TBSP smoked paprika
- 1 10 oz. can Rotel (or diced tomatoes with green chilies)
- 1 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
- 2 cans black beans, rinsed
- 1 large zucchini, shredded
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 cup of vegetable broth (plus more to your liking)
- kosher salt
Add onion, carrot, garlic and olive oil to a cold heavy bottomed pot. Turn on heat to medium-low and let the veggies soften, but not really brown, for a few minutes. Once they are softened, add a couple pinches of salt and your spices – cinnamon, chili powder, cumin, coriander, garlic, smoked paprika – and let them incorporate into the onion mixture until they almost form a paste. Next, add the Rotel, diced tomatoes, beans, zucchini, quinoa and veggie broth. Stir everything together to combine. Taste for seasoning and if need be, add a little more salt. Bring up the heat to high and let this it come to a boil. Then cover and reduce heat to medium-low for at least 45 minutes but up to an hour to make sure quinoa cooks through. You could let it simmer on your stove for even longer to let the flavors develop even further. But I tasted mine after 45 minutes and it was tasty. If too much of the liquid has reduced down, add a little more veggie broth to loosen it up.
Serve with your choice of toppings. My kids love avocado and cheese. I love avocado, cilantro, green onion, sriracha, a squeeze of lime and a few tortilla chips. I think this chili tastes even better the next day.
I hope you guys enjoy!