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Kitchen Sink Black Bean Chipotle Quinoa Chili

My regularly meal planning strategy has fallen by the wayside in this last, hectic month, so this week I adopted a new strategy: no strategy. I bought a bunch of produce and figured I’d know what to do with it when the time came. It’s led to some fun, tasty, and creative bowls and salads, and it also gave me this hearty, healthful vegan black bean chipotle quinoa chili.

I’m calling this a “kitchen sink” chili because that’s sort of what it turned into. I knew I wanted to use black beans and quinoa from the start (a riff on this recipe, which I love, and also the quinoa chili in Food52 Vegan), because I had plenty of both. Then I added the produce I’d stocked up on: peppers, kale, and mushrooms, along with the usual garlic and onion.

This chili certainly isn’t reinventing the wheel; it’s similar to many other plant-based chilis that I’ve made and loved before, often using chipotle en adobo for smokiness and heat. But it is unusually chock full of texture, thanks to all of the veggies and greens, and also thanks to them, unusually nutrient-dense. Plus it’s freezer-friendly, which means that you can freeze some of the plentiful leftovers if you aren’t feeding a crowd. I’m glad to have it on hand for some tasty future dinner.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil you can sauté with a few tablespoons of water to make the recipe oil free
  • 1 white or yellow onion chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper chopped
  • 1 bell pepper any color you have, chopped
  • 10 ounces sliced mushrooms about 3 cups
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce minced (2 if you don't care for spicy food)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed through a fine sieve
  • 3 cups cooked black beans or 2 cans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 28- ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (or regular diced tomatoes)
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth + 1 cup water
  • 1 large bunch curly kale thick stems removed and leaves chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Your favorite chili fixings some of my favorites are diced avocado, tortilla chips, vegan shredded cheese, or soy curl chick'n strips!


  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, peppers, and mushrooms. Saute the vegetables, stirring often, for 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender and reduced in size and the onion is clear and soft. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute; add a splash or two of water at any point if the vegetables are sticking.
  • Add the chipotle peppers, paprika, cumin, salt, quinoa, beans, tomatoes, broth, and water to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the kale to the pot (you may need to stir it in in batches). Re-cover the pot and cook for another 8 minutes, or until the kale is tender.
  • Add the lime juice. Taste the chili; adjust salt and extra lime juice to taste. Serve with any fixings you like!


Leftover chili will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. It can be frozen for up to 6 weeks.

Any other students out there in the end-of-semester home stretch? I’m sending you love: you got this. If a giant pot of nutritious vegan chili would make your evening studies just a little easier—or give you some tasty leftovers to pack up for library marathons—this is a good one.

Wishing you all a good end to the week. See you this weekend.


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