Veganish Quinoa Chili

One reason I don't believe in diet fads, is as soon as the diet is over, the results usually are too. I believe to live healthy, you need to find a way to eat that is going to last you a lifetime.  So, for me, there are a couple of foods that mean I'm never going to be vegan or vegetarian for that matter.  I love cheese!  And, there are some meat recipes I can't live without.  I'm sure you remember me sharing my Kalua Pig recipe on Brandi Barnett's blog, which by the way was supposed to be about salads.  When talking with Brandi's husband, Garrett, I let slip another reason I would never go meatless - I love my chili recipe.  He must've said to himself, Challenge Accepted, because no sooner than the words were out of my mouth was he telling me he had a vegan chili recipe that promised I wouldn't be missing the meat.  


Before I share the recipe that I call Veganish Quinoa Chili, because to me every Chili has to be served over rice and have some cheese and a dab of sour cream, I wanted to share a little more about Garrett.  He is an insurance agent by day for his family's business, Celeste Looney Insurance, serving Tahlequah for over 66 years. I can personally vouch for his honestly and integrity, a rarity in the insurance industry for certain, in case you want to contact Celeste Looney Insurance for any of your needs.

By night, weekend, and any other vacation time he can squeeze in, he's an avid biker.  I love his straight-forward expression of love for the sport, almost to the point that I would conquer my fear of a bike (I've run into a fire hydrant people), and his viewpoint on food. 


He's some of his thoughts before I get to the yummy stuff:

"Competitive cycling began for me about 12 years ago. I had been into mountain biking but loved the sense of adventure you could find on a road bike. Within several hours you could be somewhere you had never seen or been before. With cycling you are rewarded by the level of effort you put into it. With so many sports your level of success is dictated by talent or sets of skills with which you are born. Not so in cycling. Inherent ability plays a small role in cycling but it really has more to do with the level of effort you put in. Almost without exception a rider who dedicated 15 hrs. a week to riding will surpass a rider who put in 5. My favorite thing about riding would have to be the sense of improvement and investing in myself. To see improvement beyond what I thought possible.

I have been on rides from coast to coast and many places in between but I would have to say that one of my favorite organized rides include a tour of the ski resorts of New Mexico; however, it is hard to beat a destination ride from home with your buddies. To get up and ride to Kansas or Texas with a return trip the next day is just a lot of fun. You get to ride through towns you may have never been and you can stop and eat whenever you are hungry.

In America I think diet and nutrition is one of the most misunderstood and misapplied aspect of life, let alone sport. I have tried many strategies and most don't work. I have eaten vegetarian, vegan, raw, paleo and just about every other strategy in between. I think it is most important to eat as close to nature as possible. Eat meats that are as close to their origin as possible and organic non-gmo fruits and vegetables. If you don't know an ingredient on a food label, don't eat it. Do not eat processed foods such as sugar, flour, corn meal or oil from things you would not normally eat (i.e. eat olive oil, coconut oil, etc not cottonseed oil, etc.)."

See, now you want to not only try the recipe but maybe go for a bike ride too.  Favorite thing about the recipe is the Coconut Oil. Disclaimer, I'm going to give the instructions the way that I made the recipe (you can chop vegetables as you go through the steps).  But he said even easier is to just throw everything in the pot and cook for 2 hours. 


Veganish Quinoa Chili

~2 hours total cooking time

1/4 Cup Coconut Oil

8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, diced small

1 med. eggplant, diced small

4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped

6 Tablespoons chili powder

6 Tablespoons ground cumin

1/2 Teaspoon black pepper

28-ounce can petite-diced tomatoes

1 Tablespoon dried oregano

1 1/2 Cups Lentils, rinsed and picked through

1 1/2 Cups Quinoa, rinsed

1 Tablespoon salt

52 ounces of vegetable stock (more water if needed)

3 med. zucchini, diced small

Salt and black pepper

1) In a large stock pot, heat Coconut Oil over high heat.  Add half the mushrooms and saute well. Add a pinch of salt and the other half of the mushrooms, saute well.

2) Reduce heat to medium and add eggplant and add egglant and another pinch salt.  Saute until lightly brown, not gray.

3) Add onion, saute until translucent.

4) Add garlic, chilipowder, cumin and black pepper.  Stir well and cook for approx. a minute.

5) Add tomatoes, oregano, lentils, quinoa, salt, and vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and cover.  Cook until lentils are soft and quinoa is cooked through, adding water as necessary (approx. 6 ounces).

6) Stir in zucchini and cook 5 more minutes.  Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve with your favorite Chili condiments.


Super yummy, and you'll feel good serving your crowd this healthy chili on game day or sharing with family, friends, and neighbors.