Home » Easy Weeknight Dinners » QUINOA CHILI VERDE


Vegan Quinoa Chili Verde featuring tomatillos, poblanos, beans, sweet corn and mild spices is a nice change from the usual chili routine! It’s thick, hearty and an easy 1-pot meal ready in about 35 minutes.

top down view of quinoa chili verde in a bowl with spoon.

Here I am again with more tasty inspiration for the Vegan Chili recipe collection (I just can’t help myself!). This quinoa chili recipe has been in the works for sometime and I’m finally getting around to sharing it.

Along with the quinoa, the poblano and tomatillos are the star of this hearty chili. Add to that protein rich beans and sweet corn, and this is an absolute gem of a recipe that’s hearty and brightly flavored!

So without further ado, I share with you another great vegan chili recipe!

top down view of fresh poblano and tomatillos.

A Little About The Ingredients

This healthy quinoa chili is a one-pot wonder and will be ready in under an hour from start to finish. A few quick notes about the recipe:

  • Tomatillos: The tomatillos are what brighten this chili with their citrus notes. They naturally have a sticky film on their skin so be sure to wash them well before prepping.
  • Spices: I’ve added just enough herbs and spices to be noticed, I didn’t want to overpower it, but you can add more if you like. I used a flavorful vegetable broth so if using water you’ll most likely want to up the amounts to suit your taste.
  • Add Tempeh: My first attempt at this I added tempeh but for this recipe I’ve left it out. It wouldn’t hurt to add a package when combining everything while crumbling it between your fingers. Tempeh will make it that much heartier (and its an excellent soy product for most!).
  • Corn: I also added corn which adds color and a nice sweetness. If fresh isn’t available, frozen or canned will work too.
  • Beans: Use any mix you like. I would stick with any mix of cannellini, kidney, pinto or black.

You can be sure this green quinoa chili is going to be a nice departure from the usual chili routine. Round up your ingredients and give it a try!

top down view of chopped onion, poblano and tomatillos on a wooden cutting board.

How To Make Quinoa Chili Verde

  • Prep: The only thing you have to chop and dice are the onion, peppers and tomatillos. I left my tomatillos on the chunky side, they will soften and fall apart, but you can dice them up as small as you like.

top down view of a pot cooking vegan quinoa chili verde.

  • Saute: In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil/water over medium heat and saute onions until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic powder, oregano, cumin and chili powder, cook for 1 minute more stirring frequently, or just until spices and herbs become fragrant.
  • Add remaining ingredients: Add tomatillos, poblanos, corn, beans, quinoa and vegetable broth.
  • Boil and Simmer: Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover and let rest about 10 minutes before serving. Chili will thicken upon cooling.
  • Taste for flavor: Taste for flavor, add more liquids as needed.

That’s it, now all you have to do is enjoy this delicious chili!

Serving Suggestions

Pairs well with this homemade Vegan Cornbread, vegan sour cream and diced avocado.

top down view of freshly made vegan quinoa verde chili in a pot.

How Long Will Leftovers Keep?

Leftovers will keep for 5 – 6 days in the refrigerator, stored in a covered container. Re-warm on the stovetop or the microwave. It makes a great meal prep for the week with vegan cornbread on the side for dipping and soaking.

Can You Freeze Quinoa Chili Verde?

Yes, it freezes wonderfully for up to 2 months! My favorite ways to freeze this chili is in individual portion sizes using freezer safe containers. Then when I want to cozy up with a bowl of warm soup I can just pull it from the freezer and warm it up. You can also freeze larger portions in large ziplock bags or containers.

More Vegan Chili Recipes You’ll Love

side angle view of a bowl full of quinoa verde chili with spoon.

If you try this easy vegan chili recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.



Green is good! This vegan Quinoa Chili Verde is filled with tomatillos, poblanos and mildly spiced, and a nice change from the usual chili routine!

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 25 min
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 - 6 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: Vegan


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1b. tomatillos, diced or quartered or 1 can (15 oz) crushed
  • 2 poblano or Anaheim peppers, deseeded and diced
  • 1 cup corn (fresh off the cob, frozen or canned)
  • 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • salt & pepper, to taste

optional garnish


Saute: In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil/water over medium heat and saute onions until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic powder, oregano, cumin and chili powder, cook for 1 minute more stirring frequently, or just until spices and herbs become fragrant.

Simmer: Add tomatillos, poblanos, corn, beans, quinoa and vegetable broth, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover and let rest a few minutes before serving.

Serve in individual bowls topped with garnish of choice. Pairs well with cornbread too, either on the side or broken up in your chili!

Serves 4 – 6

Store: Leftovers can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 – 6 days. To keep longer, store in the freezer using freezer safe containers or baggies for up to 2 – 3 months.


Add in a package of organic tempeh for added hardiness. Three Grain Tempeh is my favorite flavor wise.

You can rinse your quinoa if you like. I honestly usually skip this step but if you prefer you can run the quinoa under cool running water using a fine mesh sieve.

Adjust the spices to your taste. If using broth you may like it as is, if using water you may like to add more.

Slow-Cooker: This can also be made in the crock pot/slow cooker, add all the ingredients, cover with the vegetable broth and cook on medium or medium-low for 4 hours.

UPDATED: This Quinoa Verde Chili was originally posted in January 2015, and has been updated with new photos and helpful tips in September 2019.

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  1. We love this recipe. I started subbing the tomatillos and peppers with a 16 oz jar of mild salsa verde to save time when making it in the slow cooker. Delicious quick meal on busy days! Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Thank you for the recipe. I made the chili verde this weekend and everything about it was fantastic!

  3. Hello! We tried the recipe and the quinoa absorbed all of the sauce. Any tips?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      You may want to add more water to the chili, 1/2 to 1 cup should help make it less thick. Enjoy!

      1. Thank you so much! We will try that next time. The recipe was delicious!

  4. There’s way too much high starch in the quinoa, black beans, white beans, and corn that totals to 69% of the calories are STARCH in this recipe. STARCH leads to high blood sugars and that is the basic cause of al inflammation in the body. Not for me — I eat my veggies without starchy items to screw with my blood sugars. Just make it without any of the starchy components and you’ll have a better tasting soup with normal blood sugars.

  5. Sooooo yummy!
    I’ve made this one several times!
    Thank you!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Actually quinoa has a soapy outer layer called saponin. It makes it taste kind of bitter and isn't as easy to digest. The proper way to prepare quinoa is to let it soak in water for 30 minutes, then take a whisk and whisk it around really fast until you see all the soapy foam come off. I usually drain and then do this one more time (without soaking for 30 minutes this time), and then give it one final clean rinse. Then you take the wet quinoa and dump it onto a hot pan and whisk it around until the water starts to evaporate and the nutty aromas start to come out. NOW you are ready to cook it! I know it sounds like a lot of steps, but it really isn't hard. I promise once you've had it this way, all other quinoa will taste bitter to you and lacking in the nutty flavor!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Wow!! I had so many tomatillos from my garden and did not know what to do with them until I made this chili! Now I cannot wait for my plants to produce more so I can make this again. This is so flavorful and will definitely be a new staple in my house. Thank you for the great recipe.

  8. Anonymous says:

    LOVE this recipe. Made it tonight again (this is my third time!). I'm adding potato and zucchini to bulk it up a bit. The cilantro/lime sour cream is a must! Thank you for such a great recipe (and my introduction to using tomatillos). I'll be checking back often for more recipes :-)

  9. Anonymous says:

    thanks for a fabulous recipe! i'm sure it would have been even better if i had been able to find fresh tomatillos (seems to be an impossible task in new england in the winter), but it was still delicious with salsa verde as a substitute.

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