Photo Credit: Google Image Search

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Secret Ingredient to awesome chili: QUINOA!

It's been about 2 weeks since I've had chili. That's a really really long time. For me at least. And I just got back from Florida, so I'm cold. And I have a sinus infection. And I'm cranky. The only solution? Chili.

I found a recipe online that looked tasty and I bought all the ingredients for it, but then when I went to go cook it, I couldn't find the recipe online. I searched high and low and slowly came to the realization that I was on my own. I found a recipe that had some good guidelines on Oh She Glows, but since I didn't have the same ingredients and in fact had a bunch of other things intended for the chili, I had to improvise.

We all know how well this turns out for me...

I started off with a bit of oil in my Dutch Oven (I always think of the middle school fart prank when I hear those pots called that...har har).

Then I added the following:

-half an onion
-4 garlic cloves
-1 Jalapeno pepper (with seeds)
-2 celery ribs chopped roughly
-4 carrots also chopped roughly (I might make them smaller next time)
-1 red pepper, chopped
-1 green pepper, chopped

At this point I cooked them on medium heat until they shrunk down a bit and most of the vegetables got soft. The carrots never really softened up even after like 10 minutes, so I moved on.

Then I added the following:
-1 can black beans (drained)
-1 can kidney beans (drained)
-1 can vegetarian refried beans
-1 28 ounce can diced tomates with juices

I put the heat down a little bit and started to season. I used most of the recommendations from Oh She Glows.

But I had to add my own flava, because I'm so SPICEY. So here's what I used:

-1 tbsp. cumin
-3 tbsp. chili powder
-pinch sea salt
-a chunky pinch of cayenne
-a couple shakes of Italian seasoning
-1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (this is the key to chili, in my humble opinion)
-a squirt of ketchup

At this point, the chili was starting to taste mighty fine, but it was soupy. So, I had some leftover quinoa in my pantry and I decided, to hell with it, I'll get CRAZY and dump it in there. I probably dumped about 1/2 cup of the dry stuff into the chili. Then, I covered that bad boy and let it cook for about 30 minutes.

The end result: heavenly chili goodness.

This stuff was delish. And so thick that I had to lay down after eating a bowl. Quinoa really thickens things up, and to me, that is the essence of chili.

Here's another picture. I received some sage advice from Kaycee over at Vegan Machine and she told me to try taking pictures in natural light. I tried this, but I think that only works when there is actual natural light to be used. I took this picture at 5:30PM on a snowy day in my laundry room.

So, my dear friends. I think I have found two ingredients that make chili amazing: quinoa and cocoa powder. Any other magic tricks that make it SPECTACULAR???

My quest continues...


  1. I love chili. LOVE it. Yours does indeed look spectacular! :) Adding chopped chipotle (the canned type packed in adobo sauce) adds smoky heat that is pretty awesome.

  2. Never tried either of those things in chili, but you're right... those are two things that would make it incredible! It all makes perfect sense now!

    Must. Make. Chili.


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