Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili

A hearty quinoa chili made with sweet potato, onion, bell peppers, zucchini, and beans.

  • Prep Time:
    20 minutes
  • Total Time:
    65 minutes
  • Makes:
    16 cups 1x
  • Prep Time:
    20 minutes
  • Total Time:
    65 minutes
  • Makes:
    16 cups 1x
  • Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into ¼-inch cubes
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 2 bell peppers, cut into ¼-inch pieces
    • 1 jalapeño pepper, deseeded and diced (optional, omit for little ones)
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
    • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
    • ½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
    • 3, 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
    • 1, 15-ounce can tomato sauce
    • 23 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste
    • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
    • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (see notes)
    • 2 medium zucchini (about 12 ounces total), diced
    • 1, 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1, 15 ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    • Topping ideas: Sliced avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream , fresh jalapeño slices, cilantro, tortilla chips


    1. Saute the veggies. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sweet potato, onion, bell peppers, jalapeño, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until vegetables are just starting to soften. 
    2. Add your liquids and spices. Add the vegetable broth, quinoa, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin and cocoa powder and stir well to combine. 
    3. Cover and cook. Cover the pot and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 30-40 minutes, until sweet potatoes are fork-tender and quinoa fully cooked. 
    4. Add the zucchini and beans. Stir in the zucchini, black beans, kidney beans, cover and cook another 10 minutes, or until heated through.  
    5. Top and enjoy! Serve with your favorite toppings: shredded cheese, avocado, sliced jalapeños, sour cream, and/or tortilla chips.


    Favorite Equipment

    Ingredient Notes

    • Cocoa Powder: It’s an unusual addition to chili, I know, but cocoa powder gives it a complex, meaty taste that’ll make you think it’s been slow-cooked all day, so don’t leave it out!
    • Quinoa: You can use cooked quinoa in this recipe. To modify, add 2 cups of cooked quinoa and reduce vegetable broth to just under a ½ cup. Cooked quinoa can be added at the same time as the tomatoes and broth.

    Ingredient Prep

    • Chop: Sweet potato, onion, bell peppers, zucchini, jalapeños, and garlic; store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use
    • Pre-measure: Chili powder, cumin, cocoa powder, and quinoa
    • Drain and rinse: Canned beans; store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use

    Little Helpers

    Involving little ones can decrease picky eating and increase appetite and willingness to try new foods. Here are a few ways they can help: 

    • Toddlers: Help measure the quinoa and spices; rinse the canned beans, help adding ingredients to the pot (closely supervised)
    • Little Kids: All of the above plus help chopping the veggies
    • Big Kids: All of the above plus help opening the canned beans and tomatoes


    Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

    Freezing Tips

    This quinoa chili freezes well. To freeze, transfer cooled chili to a freezer-safe food storage container or bag. I love these half-gallon Stasher bags — just lay flat to save space when freezing. 

    Nutrition Notes

    Nutrition information reflects a generous 1 1/2 cup serving, toppings not included


    • Serving Size: Generous 1 1/2 cups
    • Calories: 220
    • Sugar: 11 g
    • Sodium: 442 mg
    • Fat: 4 g
    • Saturated Fat: 1 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 3 g
    • Trans Fat: 0 g
    • Carbohydrates: 37 g
    • Fiber: 11 g
    • Protein: 10 g
    • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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