By Ashley Roe, Contributing Writer
I relish the cool crisp days of fall especially after a hot summer and before the air turns bitterly cold in winter. This time of year I love to make comfort foods that warm my throat and my soul. But as much as I do enjoy cooking, I don’t always love slaving over the stove for hours at a time. I would much rather enjoy my fall days wrapped up in a blanket with a good book or taking a walk to see the changing leaves. In an effort to still put healthy meals on the table but not have to be tied down in the kitchen all the time, I have been trying to use my slow cooker more often. One recipe I have enjoyed for fall day chili, especially this quinoa vegetable chili.
This is one of my favorite slow cooker recipes as it requires little prep ahead of time. You just chop up a few things and dump it all in then let it cook. After about six hours you have a hot meal ready to go! I started making this chili as a way to use quinoa, an ingredient I had not been very familiar with but wanted to try. Once I made this chili, I decided that I liked quinoa and likely have it in my pantry at all times.
Another thing I like about this recipe is that it is a healthy and filling vegetarian meal option. I cook many of my dinner recipes with meat as my husband prefers to have some meat protein with his meals. However, meat can be expensive especially when you eat it with every meal so I try to throw in some meatless options when I can. It’s definitely a huge plus to have a meatless option that still has protein and is filling and you get both with this chili as quinoa is a good source of protein. If you have never had quinoa, I encourage you to try it out with this quinoa vegetable chili and let me know what you think.
Slow Cooker Quinoa Vegetable Chili
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (or about 3 cloves fresh)
- 2 bell peppers, diced (any color)
- 1 cup frozen corn (or a little less than one can if preferred)
- 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 4 ounce can diced green chilies (optional depending on preference of spiciness)
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- Toppings: chopped green onion, diced avocado, Greek yogurt (or sour cream), freshly shredded cheese
- Place garlic, onion, peppers, corn, any additional vegetables along with beans, diced tomato, green chilies, vegetable stock, tomato paste and quinoa into a 6 quart slow cooker and stir lightly. Add taco seasoning, cumin, salt and pepper then stir again to mix in the seasoning.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- Serve chili with desired toppings
- Feel free to play around with the vegetables you use. I would recommend replacing one bell pepper with about one cup of another vegetable like mushrooms or zucchini.
- The recipe calls for taco seasoning, I make a homemade version. For that recipe, go here.
- The recipe as listed does have a good amount of spice. You know your families preferences, so consider removing the green chilies and lessening the seasoning a bit if you don’t want a lot of spice. If you think you want it to be even spicier, you could add a bit of red pepper flake for an even bigger kick.
- Another option for the green chilies could be to use a couple of cans of diced tomato with green chilies. I have made this recipe with tomatoes that had green chili and lime and it turned out well.
More slow cooker inspiration for you
If you are looking for some more ideas for how to use your slow cooker this fall, here’s some links to get you started.
Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana – Another of my recipes, a family favorite!
The Best Pulled Pork in a Crock Pot – An easy recipe that I have made many times. It is easy but certainly doesn’t lack in the flavor department.
40 Whole Food Slow Cooker Recipes – A variety of slow cooking options for you to look through. I’ve tried the cacciatore recipe that’s on the list.
16 Autumn Crock Pot Recipes – There are some delicious looking recipes here that I hope to try out.
100 Days of No Processed Food, Crock Pot Style – Stacy has a couple of crock pot cook books so there are sure to be some great options on this list.
50 Fabulous Grain Free Slow Cooker Meals – If you are looking specifically for grain free recipes, here’s a bunch to choose from all in one list.