Quinoa Chili Verde

Quinoa Chili Verde - Hearty and healthy green chili that's super easy to make and full of flavor (Vegan & GF). Recipe @ NomingthruLife.com

Let’s talk chili. First off, red chili, your typical All American chili. I hate it. Never liked it. Even when I have made it, don’t want it. I don’t know what it is. I like everything in it, besides cumin – which kind of makes chili, chili. I made a batch of lentil chili this winter, made it in the jumbo crock pot and everything. Was super excited this was going to feed us for a few days and it was pretty damn healthy. Then I lifted the lid… smells like chili… tastes like chili… well damn! I still hate chili. Thankfully Logan LOVES him some chili so he devoured all forty gallons. So at least it fed him. Me, I starved.

So green chili. I can’t remember a time I’ve had chili verde before. Anytime I saw it though I always knew if there was a chili for me it would be chili verde. And for some reason I’m oddly determined to like A chili in the world.

Quinoa Chili Verde - Hearty and healthy green chili that's super easy to make and full of flavor (Vegan & GF). Recipe @ NomingthruLife.com

The main flavor ingredient in chili verde is salsa verde. WHOA! Crazy. And anytime there’s salsa involved in a recipe I’ve taken it upon myself to make it from scratch. So one batch of salsa verde, and half a bag of tortilla chips later (whoops), it’s chili making time.

Quinoa Chili Verde - Hearty and healthy green chili that's super easy to make and full of flavor (Vegan & GF). Recipe @ NomingthruLife.com

Chili verde is normally made with an obscene amount of piggy and fat, which may taste great to those interested. For me though I’d rather save a piggy and opt for a healthier take. And if healthier is involved quinoa can’t be far behind. Quinoa’s great because it doesn’t have a lot of flavor just a little nuttiness to it. But when cooked in broth or other flavors (like a soup/chili) it easily adapts and takes on the flavors of whatever it is being cooked with/in. I’ve only have one bad quinoa experience and it involved a banana and breakfast. We didn’t speak for a long time after that. But it’s made it’s way back into savory dishes around here. And it was kind of missed.

The only other tidbit I will leave about quinoa, is to make sure you rinse it REALLY WELL before using. Quinoa comes with a coating call saopnin, which pretty much tastes like soap. Yes soap. Don’t screw you and your dinner over by avoiding the rinse. Plus who knows where that quinoa has been. Rinse it!

This version is kind of beany with three whole cans. If that’s too bean intense and you want a higher qunioa ratio, well that’s a simple fix! Nix your least favorite bean, and just add 1/4 – 1/3 cup more RINSED :) quinoa. Sometimes I go with two cans. It kind of just depends on my mood and desire for heartiness, with three beans feeling a bit more hearty. Logan loves the three bean, if his opinion makes a difference, hehe.

Quinoa Chili Verde - Hearty and healthy green chili that's super easy to make and full of flavor (Vegan & GF). Recipe @ NomingthruLife.com

I feel like there should be an ode to soup. Oh soup you glorious meal you. You who are so simple and easy, yet flavorful. You fill my belly. Make me full. And give me leftovers for tomorrow. I really suck at writing odes. I was also atrocious at poetry in high school. Some things don’t ever change.


I love chili… chili verde.

Quinoa Chili Verde - Hearty and healthy green chili that's super easy to make and full of flavor (Vegan & GF). Recipe @ NomingthruLife.com
Yield: 4-6 servings


  1. 1 tablespoon butter (vegan, if desired)
  2. 1 medium sweet or yellow onion, diced
  3. 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  4. 1 1/4 cup salsa verde
  5. 1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, undrained
  6. 1 (15 oz.) can great northern beans, undrained
  7. 1 (15 oz.) can navy beans, undrained 
  8. 4 cups vegetarian chicken broth
  9. 1/3 cup quinoa, rinsed
  10. 1/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  11. optional toppings: fresh lime juice, fresh cilantro, avocado, tortilla chips


  • In a large pot or dutch oven, over medium-high heat melt butter. Once melted add onion and cook until translucent and tender, approximately 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add remaining ingredients stirring to combine. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce and let simmer for 45 minutes. 
  • Remove from heat and serve warm with choice of toppings. 


Soup will appear very liquidy at first, as the soup and quinoa cook a lot of the liquid will be absorbed/cooked off. If you like your chili thicker reduce, broth by 1/2 a cup. You can always add more liquid/broth but you can’t so easily take away. If your salsa is thick you may need to add additional broth. Nutritional information is based off of 5 servings.
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Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Chips
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Salsa Verde


  1. Beck -

    Made this for dinner Saturday – it’s a KEEPER!! The quinoa adds this flavor that goes perfectly with the mix of beans. It’s warm, and filling. I’ll make this again and again. I may try opting out one of the white beans with a can of black beans (drained) next time plus a dash of cayenne for a bit more kick. Can’t beat this recipe on the “easy to make/delicious to eat” scale!

    • Meg -

      Wow, Beck! Thank you so much for your wonderful review and I’m soooooo thrilled you loved it. The black beans would be a great swap out! Gives it even more of southwestern flare. And cayenne… well you’ve sold Logan ;) Thanks so much again Beck! Truly!

  2. NJohnson -

    I’m looking forward to trying this recipe… I’m always looking for the addition of quinoa in anything! I have to ask you where you find “Mexican Oregano”? I’ve been looking for it for over a year as I used it in other recipes too! Mine was from “French’s” & apparently they don’t make it anymore. (I checked on their website) I live in Northeast Ohio & if you can help me find it here… I would be grateful!

    • Meg -

      Thank you! I hear you on adding quinoa whenever you can – I do the same :)
      I live near a Penzey’s here in Columbus, so that’s where I head for the not so standard seasonings. Their site says they have locations in Cleveland and Woodmere if you are near to those.
      And if near a big enough city you can always check out a Mexican grocery store, I’m sure they would carry it (well I would think they would).
      Sometimes I get lucky in a place like Kroger, who carries McCormick’s Gourmet Collection, they make a Mexican Oregano.
      And if all else fails… I head to Amazon. They carry both the McCormick brand (for a higher price) and also this Classic Provisions. I haven’t personally tried either of them, but reviews say you should be safe :)
      Hope that helps and that your search can come to a close finally.

  3. Jacquelyn -

    This was great! I added some green chilis and I loved that addition, just a teeeeny bit more spice! So great with the avocado, cilantro, and crumpled chips topping… I reccommend that! I only used two cans of beans and that was plenty!

  4. Liz -

    I can’t believe how delicious this is! My husband loves it and my land lady wanted the recipe bc it smelled so good. I made the salsa myself and have found that roasting the produce in the broiler makes quite a difference. I’ve made it in a pan when I lived in a place without a broiler and the flavor was a lot better when completely charred.

    • Meg -

      Yes!! Love hearing that the chili was a win for you. I feel the same way about the boiler, you definitely get more of that smokey char taste that is so delicious :) Thanks for reporting back Liz, so happy you liked it!

    • Meg -

      Uhhh hello yummy chili additions! ;)
      I always love hearing how people make a recipe their own – thank you for sharing yours Kris. And thank you for trying and enjoying this chili!

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