This slow cooker quinoa chili is a healthy vegetarian recipe that is perfect for those busy weeknights. Throw the ingredients in your slow cooker and let dinner make itself!

slow cooker quinoa chili

It’s starting to get chilly out…which is exactly how you know chili season is here!

Nothing feels more suited for a warming weeknight dinner on a cold day than a big bowl of chili. It’s comforting, hot and just warms you up from the inside out. Yup. whenever I’m feeling chilled it’s chili to the rescue!

I’ve heard that chili is called chili since it was traditionally made with chili peppers. But I like to believe it was called chili cuz it’s soooo yummy when your feeling chilly! I mean come on, coincidence that those words sound the same? I think not.  

This chili is a little different than a regular stove top chili. It’s a slow cooker quinoa chili, so well…yeah. It’s made in a slow cooker! (An instant pot will work too.) This makes it the perfect meal for those maximum lazy days where you really don’t feel like cooking. (I’m looking at you every day of winter…) If you’re looking for a chili you can make on your stovetop then you can hop over and make this sprouted lentil chipotle chili!

A few notes on this recipe: 

This slow cooker quinoa chili can be made in either a slow cooker or an instant pot. The beauty of this recipe is that you can put it on in the morning, and have dinner when you come home at the end of the day!

The onions, garlic and veggies get sautéed in a pan before being added to the slow cooker. You can technically skip this step and just add these ingredients straight to the slow cooker, but browning these veggies in a pan beforehand builds MEGA FLAVOUR. So if you have the extra 5 minutes, make sure not to skip this step! 

You can add in any additional vegetables you love to this slow cooker quinoa chili. Broccoli, zucchini, potatoes, whatever you want! I’d recommend adding in no more than 1 cup of additional chopped up vegetables, otherwise, you may need to add in some more seasoning and liquid. 

I love serving this up with some fresh cilantro and eating it with some tortilla chips, but this chili would also be great with some thick-cut crusty bread, or even wrapped up in a taco shell! 

slow cooker quinoa chili

This slow cooker quinoa chili is: 

  • Vegetarian & gluten-free 
  • Filled with warming spices and packed with protein
  • The perfect chili for when the weather is chilly 🙂 
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slow cooker quinoa chili

Slow cooker quinoa chili

  • Author: Jess
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Slow cook
  • Cuisine: Mexican


Healthy chili without the hassle! Throw everything in your slow cooker and let dinner make itself!


  • 1 large onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cut into cubes
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 3 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp maple syrup


  1. Place the onion, garlic, carrot and celery in a food processor and pulse until you have small pieces.
  2. Heat the avocado oil in a pan on medium-high heat, then add your veggie mixture letting cook for 5-6 minutes until browned.
  3. Deglaze the pan with red wine, then transfer the mixture to your slow cooker.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients to your slow cooker and mix well until incorporated.
  5. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.


Serve up this chili with some cilantro and sliced avocado on top!


  • Serving Size: 1 small bowl
  • Calories: 162
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Fat: 5g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 27g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 5g

Keywords: healthy slow cooker recipes, quinoa chili recipes