One pot meals. How beautiful are they? They save time, stress, time, water, time, and counter space. See a theme here? This chili, loaded with black beans, quinoa, and sweet potatoes, is becoming a go-to in my house as the temps drop and I find myself with fewer and fewer hours in my day. It's delicious by the bowlful, but it's also finding it's way re-purposed into a slew of meals (stuffed into tortillas with plenty of avocado for a hand-held version and ladled over roasted potatoes for a chili-fry combo). Versatile and easily adaptable. For more spice, add in a diced jalapeno as you saute the onions or throw in a chili in adobo sauce. For a richer flavor, toss in a little chunk of dark chocolate and a touch more cinnamon, stir until the chocolate melts. If you're in the need for more greens, toss in a handful until it wilts. Get comfortable with the basics, then try your own.
Did I tell you it was also nutrient-dense? Black beans, quinoa, and walnuts pack lots of healthy plant-based protein. Sweet potatoes are not only look pretty in it, but they offer plenty of good-for-you nutrients like vitamin A and fiber. It's a one pot meal that's filling, satisfying, and It freezes beautifully. As I mention below, it thickens as it cools, so if you'd like it thinner, add a little water, a teaspoon at a time, until your desired consistency. Avocado, a sprinkling of cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and a little red onion or scallion sprinkled on top makes it a chili suited for company.
Black Bean and Quinoa Chili
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder (ground chipotle pepper for a kick!)
1 tablespoon cumin powder
¾ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼-½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, depending on preferred spiciness
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
5 cups water or vegetable stock, depending on preferred thickness
1 medium sweet potato, chopped in ½-inch pieces
2 15.5 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup dry quinoa
½ cup chopped walnuts
Salt and pepper, to taste
Optional toppings: fresh cilantro, avocado, lime, minced red onion or scallion
Heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute 5-7 minutes or until golden. Add garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, ground coriander, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add tomatoes, water or stock, sweet potato, black beans, quinoa, and generous pinch of salt. Bring mixture to boil, and then reduce to simmer and allow to cook for 15 minutes. Add walnuts, stir, and allow to simmer until quinoa and potatoes are cooked and mixture has thickened, about 7-10 minutes more. You many want to add more liquid as it cooks if chili is becoming too thick for you. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, top with chopped cilantro, avocado slices, and lime. Serves 6.
**Mixture will continue to thicken as it cools. Add a few tablespoons of water when reheating if a thinner consistency is preferred.