Maple Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

Chili, though traditionally a winter feast, is a favourite of mine all year round. My mom has always made a fantastic chili con carne, crock pot style, but this time, I tried my hand at a vegetarian chili. After perusing a few vegetarian chili recipes, I combined a few ideas from around the web to come up with this. The contrasting heat from the chili and the cool, creamy sour cream dance along your taste buds, while the subtle undertones of cinnamon and maple are warm and comforting. Adding toppings like crumbled corn chips helps give the dish a little bit of extra texture, and shredded cheddar, grated cucumber, and chopped avocado are delightful add-ins as well. The addition of quinoa, along with the kidney beans, ensures that this dish is fully nutritional despite the lack of meat. Overall, this chili is quite low in fat and calories. Each person can tailor this healthy meal to their liking by topping it with different add-ins… but the best chili always has an interesting play between hot and cool features. Not to mention, this dish is incredibly easy to make. See below for my recipe, and don’t forget to taste your chili and adjust the spices to your liking!:


  • 1/2 cup whole grain quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ white onion chopped
  • splash white wine
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp maple pepper chipotle (from our local farmer’s market in Halifax, Nova Scotia)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can diced tomato with juice
  • 1 can kidney beans (don’t drain!)
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/4 chopped onion
  • 1/2 red pepper chopped
  • 1/2 orange pepper chopped
  • 1 zucchini chopped
  • 4 mini bella mushrooms chopped
  • 1 can corn drained
  • 2 tsp cilantro
  1. Have all vegetables chopped and set aside.
  2. In a pot, add in water and quinoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook for 15-20 minutes, until water has been absorbed and quinoa is fluffy.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat olive oil and garlic. When heated, add in onions and splash of white wine. Cook until onions are translucent.
  4. Add in spices (except cilantro) and allow them to sweat for a minute, then add in remaining chopped vegetables, diced tomatoes, kidney beans (with juice), tomato paste, soy sauce, and maple syrup. Stir together. Bring to a simmer, then reduce to medium heat. Cook, for 30 minutes, stirring periodically.
  5. When chili has been cooked for 30 minutes, add in corn and quinoa and cook for an additional 5 minutes until nice and thick. Stir in cilantro before serving.
  6. Serve chili in bowls with your toppings of choice, and nice crusty bread for dunking.