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October 29, 2019

by Alyssa

The Easiest Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

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This slow cooker vegetarian chili uses beans and quinoa for a high-protein plant-based meal. Easy to make, packed with flavor – you'll never miss the meat!

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili Recipe

For someone who works full time and doesn't get home until dinner time – or even for the stay-at-home mom whose day is consumed with running after kids, shuttling them to and from school and sports – a slow cooker is a saving grace.

It affords you to opportunity to make a fabulous meal, that is ready to serve the moment you get home. You don't have to worry about cooking an elaborate meal or spending even more of your energy in the kitchen. Just dump everything in, give it a quick stir and walk away. One-pot does it all for you. It's almost like having an extra set of hands in the kitchen.

I pretty much exclusively use my slow cooker for soups and stews. I need to branch out, but they're tried and true. And this cute little Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili is the perfect way to do that!

How to make Slow Cooker Chili

How to Make Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

Making chili in the slow cooker is super simple. Just like most other slow cooker meals, it's a dump and forget situation.

I don't even really think it matters what order you but your ingredients in. As long as you give it a good stir, you're pretty much good to go.

Here's what how I make slow cooker chili:

  • veggies first
  • then canned ingredients
  • next the spices
  • next the quinoa
  • finally the broth/liquid

Give it a stir, turn it on, cover it up and ta-ta for now. See ya in 6 hours, baby!

Vegetarian Chili Slow Cooker Easy

A Super Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipe

I've made my fair share of chili, but have yet to share just like my go-to staple chili recipe. And this slow cooker vegetarian chili is it. It's a no-frills recipe. It has all the classic ingredients you'd find in chili, just sans the meat.

And it's so darn delicious!

But me being me, I do add just a touch of flair to amp up the flavor and make the texture perfect. We're looking for a chili that even the biggest of meat-eaters will love.

Here's how we changing things up:

  • fire-roasted diced tomatoes: these are juicy, but add a touch of smokiness
  • chili bean mix: for the easiness factor
  • quinoa: because it adds a nice texture that acts kind of like ground beef
  • smoked paprika: more flavor, more smokiness, totally delicious

Otherwise, you'll pretty much see the classic ingredient list. And you know what? Why mess with a good thing when it's good already?

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili Easy

The Secret to Awesome Vegetarian Chili

My secret to awesome vegetarian chili is one simple thing: quinoa.

Quinoa is the answer to a lot of things, but it's especially perfect for chili. Because when you cook it in the slow cooker or add it to a stew, it has a very similar texture to meat.

And I know a lot of my readers are following a plant-based diet personally, but don't live with people who eat the same way. If you've got a beef (or turkey) chili lover at home, try this method. Make the exact same recipe that you would with the beef, swap the beef with quinoa, add a few extra beans, and see what happens.

While they might not be fooled completely, I think they'll be pretty darn happy with the result!

Best Vegetarian Quinoa Chili Recipe

What to Serve with Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

One of the things that makes chili a fun meal is the toppings. If I'm serving chili at home, I keep things pretty simple, but if I'm serving it to a crowd, I love having a chili bar set up so that everyone can make their own topping combos.

Here's what I'd include in a chili bar:

  • avocado
  • fresh jalapeno
  • coconut yogurt (or vegan sour cream)
  • cilantro
  • lime
  • corn chips (or pumpkin cornbread)
  • green onions

And maybe some hot sauce on the side. These bowls have pretty much all of the above and they were absolutely scrumptious!

You really can't go wrong with chili and as we're entering into colder months (and football season), this slow cooker vegetarian chili is going to be a savior. Healthy, high in protein, full of fiber, delicious and easy to make. It's a win all around!

The BEST vegetarian chili ever


More Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipes to try:

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili with Quinoa

This slow cooker vegetarian chili combines beans and quinoa for a high-protein plant-based meal. Easy to make, packed with flavor and you'll never miss the meat!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 20 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 248kcal
Print Pin
Best Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili
4.40 from 38 votes



  • Add all ingredients to a slow cooker and turn on high. After 2 - 3 hours, turn the crockpot down to low and keep covered for another 4 - 6 hours. (Alternately, you could just leave the slow cooker on low for 8 hours).
  • Before you're ready to serve, remove the lid and turn back to high for another 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed!



Recipe Notes gluten-free | dairy-free | vegan


Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 248kcal | Carbohydrates: 45.5g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.38g | Sodium: 1925mg | Potassium: 990mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 15.5g | Vitamin A: 2637IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 5.5mg
The BEST vegetarian chili ever

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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

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  1. Hi!! I want to do this recipe from scratch, all beans first instead of using cans. If so, do everything need to be cooked for 8 hours as if they were beans from a can?

    • I’m not sure the fresh beans would cook up properly in this recipe. You would need to cook them ahead of time and then add them into the recipe.

    • Made this today! It’s GREAT. I am newer to plant based diet and constantly searching for new recipes to try. I do live alone and am wondering about freezing. Has anyone frozen this and if so, how’d it thaw and reheat?

      • So glad you enjoyed! This can totally be frozen 🙂 Either in one large container or in smaller portions. To thaw/reheat, just leave it on the counter for a few hours to start the thawing process and then toss in a pot with a splash of water and let it cook on low until completely thawed and warm!

  2. The ingredients in the video call for a jalapeno instead of a poblano and does not include a can of tomato sauce like the ingredient list in the blog post does. Which ingredient list do you recommend? Will it be thicker without the sauce?

  3. This was so great – I’m so happy I found you!!! My meat-eating boyfriend approves of this meat-free dish! Just one question, can I freeze it by any chance?? Thank you!!

  4. I followed along the video on Facebook and put the uncooked quinoa in at the beginning. Will the quinoa still cook in the crock pot or did I ruin it?

  5. […] I wholeheartedly disagree. I do not think that you should have to spend hours in front of the stove making something delicious. I do not think you should have to bother with candy thermometers and boiling sugar just to have […]

  6. […] I’ve made quinoa chili before, so I figured why not give these Sloppy Joes a little something extra by throwing in some quinoa? I knew the quinoa would not only give these a little boost of protein, but it would work well in the texture, helping the filling to be ultra rich, yet still healthy. […]

  7. It started out with a lot of liquid… But that last 30 mins on high really thickens it up. Good flavor, and texture! I used jalapeno and canned hot green chiles. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Love you adaptations. Definitely going to try the jalapeno next time around. And super glad you liked it! 🙂

  8. […] pintrest looking for a new vegetarian chili, I came across this recipe for quinoa chili from The Quinoa Queen. Can we just stop and give a silent thanks for quinoa……It is one of the most amazing […]

  9. How many does this recipe serve? I’m going to make this for a large family gathering with at least 17 people (7 of those are kids/teenagers) and wondering if I should double or triple it.

    • Hi Amy! This recipe is good for 4 – 6. If I were you, is triple it. Better to have too much, than not enough, right? 🙂 enjoy! Let me know how it turns out for you. Xo!

  10. 17 Crock Pot Vegetarian Chili Recipes (+ 5 Bonus Meaty Chili Recipes for the Carnivores) | Kitchen Treaty says:

    […] Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili with Quinoa – The Queen of Quinoa […]

  11. I can’t wait to try this!! I agree with the whole morning routine thing too…I also have everything timed out and still manage to run late. So what I found is that if I get everything ready the night before and put it all in the pot overnight in the fridge it is way easier in the morning to just throw it in the crock and put it on low for 8hrs. Then your morning isn’t messed up. 🙂

  12. I love quinoa in chili-but haven’t tried it in a slow cooker yet! Looks delicious! And I love those bowls you used–where did you get those?

    • Oh yeah, it was great! And super easy too 🙂 I got the bowls at Anthropolige – they have so many great props!


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