Veggie Packed Quinoa and Beef Chili

This colorful, satisfying, nutrient-packed chili is the ultimate one bowl meal. It’s a fresh take on traditional chili, emphasizing veggies as much as meat. With three different forms of tomatoes creating the base of the broth, it’s an amazing source of disease-fighting lycopene. It also contains three healthy carb sources – quinoa, corn, and sweet potatoes! It freezes and reheats well and it’s so nourishing on wet and snowy spring days (although light and fresh enough for warmer days as well). Make a batch at the beginning of the week and you’ll have a quick and filling lunch option available for when you’re on-the-go. Nothing improves your Sunday like a pot of fragrant soup simmering on the stove!

One bowl of this chili contains an amazing 35 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber per serving (which is why it’s so incredibly satiating). If you struggle with craving sweets after lunch, try amping up the fiber and protein content of your lunches to stabilize your blood sugar and provide your body with steady energy for the whole afternoon. This recipe is a great place to start.

Veggie Packed Quinoa and Beef Chili 3

Keep this chili simple and eat it plain (it’s completely delicious that way) or serve it with toppings like sour cream, shredded cheese, pickled jalapeno slices, and fresh cilantro. Let everyone top their own bowl to create a customized chili masterpiece. If you prefer a spicier chili, select a spicy salsa to use in your recipe and add a diced fresh jalapeno to the pan along with the onion.

Why Quinoa?

If you’ve never tried quinoa before, you’re missing out! Although it looks like a grain and is typically prepared in a manner similar to couscous or rice, quinoa is actually a seed and consequently delivers the amazing nutrient profile often associated with seeds. It’s high in protein and fiber and a great source of essential minerals and inflammation-reducing phytonutrients. It has an approachable nutty flavor and cooks in twenty minutes or less. Keep it on hand and use it anywhere you would white rice to up the nutritional content of your meals. Eat it for breakfast as a hot cereal (topped with maple syrup and chopped nuts), serve it with stir-fry, or pair it with chicken sausage and steamed vegetables for a super quick and healthy meal.

Veggie Packed Quinoa and Beef Chili

Veggie Packed Quinoa and Beef Chili (Makes 6 servings)

-1 lb. lean grass-fed ground chuck

-3 cloves of garlic, minced

-1/2 cup diced onion

-1/2 cup diced carrots

-2 stalks celery, diced

-1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

-2 summer squash or zucchini, thinly sliced

-2 14-oz. cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes

-2 6-oz. cans tomato paste

-8 oz. salsa

-1 cup frozen corn

-1-quart chicken or vegetable broth

-2 tablespoons Southwestern salt-free seasoning blend (like Mrs. Dash)

-1 cup quinoa


  1. In a large saucepot, cook ground chuck over medium heat, crumbling it with a spatula, until browned. Transfer meat to a separate dish and drain any excess fat from the pan.
  2. Add garlic, onion, carrot, and celery to empty stockpot. Sauté over medium heat until onion is translucent, approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Add meat back to pan, along with sweet potato, summer squash, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, salsa, corn, broth, and seasoning. If chili seems too thick, add 1-2 cups of water as well. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, or until sweet potato is tender.
  4. Add quinoa to chili, along with 1-2 cups of water if you haven’t added any water yet. Cook chili for 15-20 minutes longer, or until quinoa is done. Serve immediately with toppings of your choice. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to two months.

Recipe Notes:

-For a lighter chili, try substituting ground chicken or turkey for the beef.

-This recipe is a great way to use up any leftover cooked grains. If you have any cooked quinoa, brown rice, farro, or the like on hand, skip the step of adding the dry quinoa and stir cooked grains into chili just before serving.

-Feel free to substitute any veggie(s) you have on hand for the summer squash. Frozen veggies will work in a pinch too.

-For a deliciously creamy chili, stir 8 oz. of room temperature low-fat cream cheese into the chili during the last 20 minutes of cooking. The resulting chili does not freeze well, but you’re not likely to have leftovers anyway!


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