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While it is December, it is still fairly warm in South Florida. However, last week our air conditioner was broken and we could only turn it completely off or let it blow frigid air constantly. So there were a few mornings I woke up to 58 degree weather in our apartment…. brrrrr. It did put me in the Christmas spirit though and also made me crave warm hearty meals. So I decided to try making a vegetarian chili. Even though there is no meat in my chili, it was very filling. A good dose of protein and fiber is provided from the beans and the quinoa which helps slow digestion and make you feel full longer. Bell pepper, zucchini, onion and tomatoes are also added for a healthy dose of vegetables and lots of flavor. And of course I had to top my bowl with shredded cheddar cheese (reduced fat of course), because cheese is delicious and also supplies much needed calcium and protein 🙂


3 Cups of Water

3/4 Cup Quinoa (uncooked)

1 tsp Olive oil

1 tsp Minced Garlic

1 Large Zucchini – Chopped (About 2 – 2 1/3 cup)

1/2 Large Red Onion – Chopped

1 Green Bell Pepper – Chopped

1 Red Bell Pepper – Chopped

1 Jalapeno – Diced

1 6 oz can of Tomato Paste – no salt added

1 14.5 oz can of Diced Tomatoes – no salt added

1 15 oz can of Reduced Sodium Black Beans – Rinsed and Drained

1 16 oz can of Reduced Sodium Kidney Beans – Rinsed and Drained

1/2 tsp Chipotle Powder

1 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Black Pepper

1/2 tablespoon Honey

Cheddar Cheese and Avocado for Topping


Bring 2 cups of water to a bowl in a large saucepan (at least 3.5 quarts with a tight fitting lid). Add quinoa, turn down to a simmer and cover. Allow to cook for ~15 minutes. While the quinoa is cooking, add olive oil to a large saute pan on medium heat. Add garlic and onions and saute until onions are slightly translucent. Add zucchini, bell peppers and jalapeno. Cook until tender and then turn down to low. After the quinoa is done cooking, turn heat up to medium and add beans, tomato paste and tomatoes to quinoa. Mix well and allow to cook a few minutes until beans and tomatoes are warmed. Turn burner down to low once warmed. Remove cooked veggies from heat and add to quinoa mixture. Add 1 cup of water and chipotle powder, cumin, black pepper and honey to chili mixture. Stir until chili is uniform. Scoop into bowls and top with cheddar cheese and avocado if desired.

Hearty Veggie Chili with Cheese