Quinoa, canned beans and a handful of hearty spices come together to make this quick & easy instant pot vegetarian chili! This recipe is ready in just 30 minutes and perfect for cozy fall dinners.
You'll love this recipe because it's hearty enough to enjoy on its own but can also handle a bunch of toppings. Quinoa is the perfect addition to chili because it adds a great texture and flavor!
- Dietary-features: vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free
- Quinoa cooks in just 1 minute in the Instant Pot
- Ready in just 30 minutes using pantry staples
- Flavorful, satisfying and healthy
Chili is one of my favorite foods. I was recently told that I make chili more often than any other dish, and it's probably true. That's probably why I also have a recipe for stovetop quinoa chili AND three bean chili. And don't forget the chili mac...
- Onion, bell pepper, garlic, jalapeno: Sautéing these together creates the flavorful base of the soup. I use yellow onion and red bell pepper but you can use red onion and any color of pepper. Jalapeño is optional.
- Canned beans: I like two use two different beans for texture. I usually go for red beans and light red kidney beans or dark and light kidney beans but any kind will work.
- Tomatoes: We will use a can of diced fire roasted tomatoes and tomato paste for that classic chili flavor.
- Spices: Chili powder, cumin, oregano and a pinch of cinnamon add warmth.
- Vegetable broth: I recommend using a reduced sodium vegetable broth so that you have more control over the saltiness of the recipe.
Instant Pot cooking tips
The Instant Pot is amazing because it cooks grains so quickly, especially quinoa. It cooks it with just 1 minute of high pressure!
But sometimes readers run into issues with Instant Pot cooking, most commonly with the dreaded "burn" error.
The reason the burn error happens is usually because food is stuck on to the bottom of the pot or there isn't enough liquid in the recipe.
For this recipe, you can avoid the burn error two ways:
- When sautéing, wait until the pot reads HOT before adding in oil. This keeps the onions and peppers from sticking to the pot when sautéing.
- Deglazing: By deglazing the pot after blooming the spices you can remove any stuck on bits from the bottom of the pot that may burn while cooking. To do this, add 2-3 tablespoons vegetable broth and stir until everything is removed from the bottom of the pot, especially any spices.
All of my Instant Pot recipes are made in a 6 qt DUO60 Instant Pot.
Recipe FAQ and expert tips
- Servings: This recipe will make about 5 servings, which is about 1 and ½ cups of chili per serving. It makes great leftovers.
- Extra protein: If you want a more traditional "meaty" chili, try adding your favorite cooked meatless grounds after the chili is cooked through.
- To make ahead: Dice the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic and store in an airtight container until ready to use.
For best quality, keep refrigerated for 3-4 days. Usually I refrigerate the entire chili pot once it comes to room temp, but you can also store it in separate containers for easy access.
Cover and reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Reheat on the stovetop in a medium pot over medium heat until warmed through.
Yes! Freeze in individual containers or in one large container for up to 3 months. Let thaw completely overnight or at least 12 hours before reheating. It may take longer if you are freezing a large amount.
Unfortunately, dry beans will not work in this recipe because they require a much longer cook time than quinoa. You can pre-cook the dry beans and use them in place of canned beans. One can usually has ~1.5 cups beans.
Vegan cornbread and vegan cornbread muffins are definitely my go-to chili dippers, but corn chips and crackers are also great. Add diced bell pepper and fresh jalapeno, a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream (vegan or otherwise) for extra flavor. Quinoa chili is also great served with a side salad.
Do note that the chili will thicken up a lot as it sits because the quinoa continues to absorb liquid in the fridge. You can thicken the soup by using the "sauté" function on the Instant Pot. Sautéing will evaporate liquid, and the long you sauté the more liquid it will evaporate.
You can also thin the chili by adding vegetable broth.
Looking for more Instant Pot recipes?
Here are a few of my favorite vegan soups and bean-based recipes made in the Instant Pot:
- Black Beans and Brown Rice
- Vegan White Bean Soup
- Instant Pot Baked Beans
- Chickpea Noodle Soup
- Black Bean Soup
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Instant Pot Vegetarian Quinoa Chili
- ½ cup dry quinoa
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ large yellow onion diced
- 1 medium red bell pepper diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small jalapeño minced (optional)
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon dry oregano
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons low sodium vegetable broth
- 15 ounce can kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 15 ounce can red beans drained and rinsed
- 15 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- Rinse the quinoa in a fine sieve/colander. Set aside.
- Select "sauté" and "normal" on the Instant Pot. Once it reads "hot", add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add diced onion and bell pepper. Sauté until softened, stirring occasionally, about 6-8 minutes.
- Add garlic and jalapeño. Sauté one minute more. Add cumin, chili powder, oregano, cinnamon and salt. Pour in two tablespoon vegetable broth to deglaze the pot. Stir to remove any stuck on bits. This is important to help prevent the burn error.
- Add remaining ingredients: rinsed quinoa, kidney beans, red beans, diced tomatoes (with juices), tomato paste and remaining 2 cups of vegetable broth. Stir to combine.
- Lock the lid in place and set the valve to sealing. Select "high pressure" and adjust timer to 1 minute. It will take about 10 minutes for the pot to come to pressure. Allow the pressure to release naturally, this will take about 10 minutes.
- Once the pressure has released, remove the lid and taste for salt. Add additional water or vegetable broth to thin as desired. Serve with optional toppings like chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, additional minced jalapeno, and crackers.
- Storage: For best quality, keep refrigerated for 3-4 days in a closed container.
- Freezing: Freeze in individual containers or in one large container for up to 3 months. Let thaw completely overnight or at least 12 hours before reheating. It may take longer if you are freezing a large amount.
- Reheating: Let frozen chili thaw completely overnight before reheating. Cover and reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Reheat on the stove in a medium pot over medium heat until warmed through.
- Looking for a stove-top version? Try out my other quinoa chili recipe.