Spicy Cheesy White Bean Quinoa Chili

I relish a nice cozy bowl of White Bean Quinoa Chili during these cold fall evenings.  The spicy hot sauce in this chili will warm you up and the beans and quinoa will satisfy your hunger.  It is packed with nutrition keeping you healthy during these cold months.  If you would like it to be less spicy, just reduce the amount of arbol chilies or omit them all together.


 This last Sunday my friend Alison invited me to a food and wine charity in Carmel to take pictures of her and her friend Becky who were playing music for the event.  Alison on banjo, Becky on fiddle and an upright bassist named Dan Robbins played some great bluegrass music while attendees sampled food from 12 local chefs and tasted wine from 12 local wineries.

  I met some really cool people at the event and two of them really stood out, chef Zacery and owner Tighe from the LionFish Supper Club in Santa Cruz.  They do catering and also host a really cool pop up dinner series every Tuesday night.  I will have to try it sometime.  Zacery made tiny mushroom tarts topped with ricotta salata.  He offered me one and I told him “unfortunately I don’t like mushrooms”.  His jaw dropped and then he said that he had converted many other mushroom haters and that I should just try one.  Guess what? I absolutely loved it!

Zacery focus is on healthy and sustainable cuisine.  He learned to forage in Oregon, where he grew up.  I was very inspired by his passion for foraging foods like fiddleheads, nettles, mushrooms and wildflowers, which he uses in his cuisine a­­s often as he can.  Ok, so nothing in this chili is foraged but it is still perfect for this time of year.


This chili is great with a Petite Sirah or a Pinot Noir for a red and a Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris or a Sauvignon Blanc for a white.  Or maybe you prefer a ice-cold beer to balance out the heat.  I would try it with a Hefeweizen.


White Bean Quinoa Chili Recipe:
8 – 10 Servings
  • 2 Cups White Beans
  • 16 Cups Filtered Water – divided
  • 1 1/2 Cups Quinoa – (recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Hot Hot Sauce – ( recipe below)
  • 2 Small Red Bell Pepper – roasted – diced
  • 1/2 White Onion – diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 2 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Vegetable Bullion Cube – unsalted
  • 2 1/4 Cup Jack Cheese – shredded
  • 1/2 Cup Corn – fresh or frozen
  • Sea Salt to taste (I used about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 Cup Quinoa
  • 1 Cup Filtered Water
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
 Hot Sauce – this is a half recipe for full recipe click here
  • 4 Dried Ancho Chiles – *Terra Dolce is a great brand for organic chile peppers
  • 7 Dried Arbol Chiles
  • 1/4 White Onion
  • 1 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Cup White Vinegar
  • 1 1/2  Cups Filtered Water (depends how thin you like it )
  • 1 Teaspoons Sea Salt
Garnish Options
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Radishes
  • Cilantro
  • Serrano Chilies

Add the onions to a 5 1/2 quart pot with the olive oil and saute on medium-low heat for 5 minutes, add the garlic and continue cooking for 5 – 7 more minutes until the garlic starts to brown.

Add the wine and bouillon cubes, mash the bouillon, cook until wine is reduced and syrupy.

Sort through the beans to remove any rocks and rinse.  Add the beans to the onions and add 12 cups of water.  Bring to a boil and turn to medium-high heat for 1 hour or until soft.  As the beans soften, add the remaining 4 cups of water as the water levels drop.
While the beans are cooking make the quinoa.

In a small sauce pan, add the quinoa, water and salt.  Bring to a boil, cover and turn to medium-low then simmer for 15 minutes. (I recommend using a timer)

 Then let sit with the lid on for 5 more minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking start making the hot sauce.

Roasted Peppers

Roast the peppers on the stovetop on medium high heat.  A gas stove works the best but it will work fine on an electric stove. Char the peppers on all sides turning with a pair of tongs.  When good and charred, steam them for 10 minutes in a covered dish or a paper bag rolled shut to hold in the steam.

Take a paper towel and rub off the char.  It’s ok to leave a little of the char.  Slice in half and remove the seeds and stems.


Hot sauce

in a medium pot, add the chiles and onion then cover with filtered water. Bring to a boil then remove from heat.  Let sit 10 more minutes.

Remove the seeds and stems from the dried peppers then put peppers, onion, garlic, vinegar and salt in a food processor or blender.  Puree.

Strain through a fine mesh colander over a bowl and press it through with a rubber spatula.  Scrape the outside of the colander to get all the sauce you can. Stir in the water and set aside.


The rest

When the beans are completely cooked add the hot sauce and slowly add the cheese.  When the cheese is melted add the corn and cook for a few more minutes.


Health benefits:

White Beans are a super rich source of dietary fiber, which is good for the prevention of constipation, also helps digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. They are great for heart health because of their significant amounts of folate (support of red blood cell formation, one cup of the cooked beans provides 63.7% of the recommended daily intake for folate) and magnesium (lowers blood pressure).  They are good for helping insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, and help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady energy.

Quinoa is a super food that is extremely nutrient rich and it is a complete protein source and high in fiber, which helps digestion heart heath.   It contains more antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients than any other grain. Unlike most grains quinoa has a significant amount of gamma-tocopherol of the vitamin E family, which helps some inflammatory issues.  It is a good source of magnesium (helps metabolism, cardiovascular, and blood vessel function, which is helpful for migraine headaches). Quinoa contains the antioxidant flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol even more than in cranberries.  It is helpful in regulation of blood sugar and also reduces your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

Bell Peppers are matured green bell peppers and have more nutrition as they mature.  They are super high in vitamin A which helps to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision and are extremely high in vitamin C, so much so they have twice as much as an orange which makes it really good for the skin.  Red peppers are one of the highest veggies in lycopene, and have been successfully tested in the prevention of many cancers.  They have a good source of the antioxidant mineral manganese and B-complex and vitamin E.  They help reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, helps controls diabetes and helps reduce pain.  They are also a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin K, molybdenum and manganese.


  1. Lynn | The Road to Honey says

    I didn’t think I was hungry. . .then this giant bowl of loveliness popped up on my screen. It looks absolutely delicious and I am thinking I might need to re-work my dinner menu so I don’t have to wait another day for this to be in my life.

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