Slow Cooker Quinoa and Black Bean Chili

Slow Cooker Quinoa and Black Bean Chili

What does cooler weather, soccer practice, and back-to-school busyness have in common? The need for quick, hearty, one-dish dinners that can be made ahead and served in a jiffy! This slow cooker quinoa and black bean chili absolutely fits the bill! Packed with protein, antioxidant-rich vegetables, healing spices, and complex carbohydrates, this slow cooker quinoa and black bean chili is sure to become a family favorite all school year long. (Seriously, I just made it for the third time since school started a month ago.) The leftovers just keep getting better, and are excellent to pack in a Thermos for school or work the next day. Make this slow cooker quinoa and black bean chili, feel nourished from the inside out, and feel good knowing that you are feeding your family real food even on the busiest of days!

Slow Cooker Quinoa and Black Bean Chili

Ingredients (Serves 6 – 8):

For the chili:
1     lb ground turkey (we use dark meat)
1     large red onion
1     green bell pepper
½    cup roasted red peppers (we buy them in a jar)
1     jalapeno
6     cloves garlic
3     cups prepared black beans (or two 15-oz cans, rinsed and drained)
1     cup uncooked quinoa
2½  cups organic chicken broth, preferably homemade
28   oz can diced tomatoes
2     tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1     tbsp raw honey
1     tbsp red wine vinegar

For the seasonings:
1     tbsp chili powder
1     tbsp ground cumin (you knew that was coming)
1     tbsp dried oregano
2     tsp smoked paprika
1     bay leaf
½    tsp sea salt
½    tsp black pepper

Optional garnishes:
½    cup sour cream
¼    cup chopped cilantro

Instructions (30 minutes active, 8 – 10 hours inactive):

Brown your ground turkey meat: Heat a suitable sized pan over medium heat for about five minutes. When hot, add ground turkey meat to pan. (If using white meat turkey, add a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to prevent the meat from sticking.) Brown turkey for about five minutes, stirring often, or until meat is no longer pink. Pour cooked turkey into a 5 – 6 quart slow cooker.

Prepare your produce: Peel, trim and dice one large red onion and one green bell pepper. Thinly slice ½ cup of roasted red peppers. Mince one jalepeno and 6 cloves garlic. For a mild chili, remove seeds and ribs from jalepeno. For a bit more kick, leave the seeds and ribs intact. (It still won’t be super spicy, just a subtle hint of heat.) Add all prepared produce to slow cooker.

Combine your seasonings and get your chili cooking: In a small bowl or ramekin, stir together all ingredients listed under “for the seasonings”. Sprinkle combined seasonings over meat and veggies. Add all remaining ingredients listed under “for the chili”. Stir well to combine.

Add lid to slow cooker and cook on low for 8 – 10 hours, whichever is more convenient for your family.

When dinner is ready to be served, simply ladle chili into bowls. If desired, garnish each bowl with a dollop or sour cream and a sprinkling of chopped cilantro. Serve and enjoy!

Working ahead: If the thought of spending 20 minutes browning your meat and chopping veggies in the morning stresses you out, feel free to do all of your prep work the night before and store the crock of your slow cooker in the fridge overnight. The next morning, simply transfer the crock to your slow cooker and set your timer. A home cooked meal that doesn’t add extra stress in the morning. Winner, winner slow cooker dinner!

Notes: This slow cooker quinoa and black bean chili is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free. It can easily go vegetarian by omitting the ground turkey and using vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth. If you are nervous serving jalapeno to small children, don’t be. The long cooking time really mellows out the flavor. All four of us eagerly chow down on this!

PS — This Friday I will be speaking at the Overland Park Convention Center as part of Shawnee Mission Medical Center’s Speaking of Women’s Health event. If any local peeps plan on attending, I would love to connect! I will be in ballroom 2 from 10:30 – 11:40 sharing how to eat to fight inflammation.

PPS — I dyed my hair dark brown yesterday! I will put a picture up on Facebook soon!!!

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Truestar Health


  1. I am a fan of your White Chicken Chili so today I thought I would give your Quinoia and Black Bean Chili a go. Well, my husband and I give it a two thumbs up! It tasted so fresh and the spices did not overpower the vegetables. Excellent!

  2. I love quinoa – it’s a great way to pack out a chili without meat, and adds a lot of interest to the texture of the whole dish.

  3. Thank you for another informative blog. Where else may just I am getting that kind of information written in such an ideal manner? I have a project that I’m simply now working on, and I have been on the look out for such information.


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