Quinoa Chili with Three Chiles

Quinoa Chili with Three Chiles

Food shouldn't be complicated. Or bad for you. Or expensive. I'm working to craft good cheap eats that we can both enjoy. You can read more about this site here. Check out my cookbooks if you're needing some budget-friendly inspiration. Read about how to make healthy eating work for you here.

Enjoy a chili supper that’s full of flavor and a good dose of protein. This Quinoa Chili comes together quickly and easily for a super supper.

This recipe was born out of a Pantry Challenge. You see during a Pantry Challenge, I’m hyper-alert about leftovers and making them into something new instead of throwing them away. I had some quinoa in the fridge, but one can only push Quinoa Bowls on my children once in a week. I knew I could freeze it, but I just wanted to use it up.

Aha! I can hide it in chili!

Turns out that was a very, very good idea. Not only did my people gobble down the chili without a word, but it got me thinking that I could very easily create a Quinoa Chili on purpose. So, that’s what I did.

I played around with the spice here. I wanted it to have several layers of spiciness, so I used mild, canned green chiles, picante, fresh jalapenos, and warm and spicy ground dry pasilla chiles. It turned out to be a Tres Chiles Chili Con Quinoa. And it’s one of my favorites.

In the testing phase, I begged my sister to run it through its paces. She protested at first because my nieces don’t like quinoa. I assured her they would never know. And they didn’t!

The first time it was served. The next day, the quinoa chili looked more like chili with quinoa in it. And at least one tween girl made her voice heard. However, she did concede that she loved the chili. She just doesn’t want to eat it the next day. To which I laugh and hope she marries a man who adores eating quinoa at every meal.

How to make this good and cheap:

Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe more economical:

Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. Quinoa is your big ticket items here. Stock up when you see a good sale.

Shop at the cheapest stores. When I did my big grocery store showdown, I learned that Costco has the best price for a lot of the things I buy, plus they sell all the ingredients needed for this recipe. I am partial to their quinoa because it’s sold pre-rinsed, a step I’m not willing to make, no matter how much protein is involved. ALDI, who requires you to rinse your quinoa, happens to offer a great price on chopped green chiles, so that’s where I buy mine.

Cook your own beans. It’s super cheap and easy to cook dried beans. Freeze them in 2-cup containers; it’s just like opening a can.

How I make this recipe easy:

This recipe really couldn’t be easier than it is, but having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs.

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Here are the tools that I use for this recipe:

plastic cutting boards – I have blue boards for veggies and white boards for meat.

Ergo Chef chef’s knife – I’ve had my set for several years and they work well.

5-quart pot with lid – I have this one. It’s perfect for cooking chili or a big pot of rice.

dual-sided silicone spatula/spoon – This is great for the cooking process as well as scraping every last bit out of the pan.

Print This Recipe

Quinoa Chili

Enjoy a chili supper that’s full of flavor and a good dose of protein. This Quinoa Chili comes together quickly and easily for a super supper.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons pasilla chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed if not packaged that way already
  • 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with their juices
  • 4-ounc can chopped green chiles with their juices
Read the whole recipe on Good Cheap Eats