Slow Cooker Quinoa, Sweet Potato, & Black Bean Vegetarian Chili

An unbelievably easy, protein-rich, and hearty chili to warm up the coldest of winter nights.


Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes

When it comes to vegetarian chili recipes – especially ones made in the Crock Pot – I feel like I have to reign myself in. Or else basically, I’d have to call this blog “Kitchen Chili.” Or “Chili Treaty.” Neither of which are very catchy.

Slow Cooker Quinoa, Sweet Potato, & Black Bean Chili - a protein-rich (and very tasty!) vegetarian chili recipe. Just dump it in the Crock Pot in the morning and dinner's made.

It’s just that chili is the perfect food for vegetarians. I know, I know – there are many arguments about what makes a “real” chili, and meat is one of the ingredients that many consider a must. To which I oh-so-wisely and poignantly say: “Whatever.” I think chili is what you make it – and it doesn’t need meat, goshdarnit! There are so many infinitely awesome variations of chili and such an assortment of potential meatless ingredients that it is more than possible to create a hearty, satiating, and dare I say award-winning bowl of meatless chili.

(But if your resident carnivore really, really wants meat in their bowl of Slow Cooker Quinoa, Sweet Potato, & Black Bean Vegetarian Chili, this chili would lend itself well to some cooked diced chicken or browned ground turkey thrown in to their portions).

Slow Cooker Quinoa, Sweet Potato, & Black Bean Chili - a protein-rich (and very tasty) vegetarian chili recipe

I especially adore quinoa in chili – it helps thicken up the batch and adds another element of filling protein.

If you don’t have black beans on hand, this chili is equally great with pinto beans, or you might try kidney beans, too.

Slow Cooker Quinoa, Sweet Potato, & Black Bean Chili - a protein-rich (and very tasty) vegetarian chili recipe

Chili Treaty, man. I should totally make it happen, right?

Don’t answer that.

Slow Cooker Quinoa, Sweet Potato, & Black Bean Chili

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes

An unbelievably easy, protein-rich, and hearty chili to warm up the coldest of winter nights.


  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well in cool water
  • 3 cups cooked black beans (about 2 [15-ounce] cans, drained)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced*
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Additional salt and pepper to taste

Topping ideas:

  • Cilantro
  • Greek yogurt, sour cream, or vegan sour cream
  • Shredded cheese
  • Chopped green onions


Add all ingredients (except additional salt and pepper and toppings) to a 3-quart or larger slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours. That's it! Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired. Serve with assorted toppings. Keeps refrigerated in an airtight container for about 3 days. It freezes well, too!
* Because jalapeno peppers can vary greatly heat-wise, I like to take a quick taste and see how hot it is. If it's fairly mild, I'll add seeds along with the flesh. If it's pretty spicy, I'll discard the seeds and even sometimes use only half of the pepper. Go with what you're comfortable with!

Meat option:

Add cooked diced chicken or browned ground turkey to the batch or to individual portions.

Slow Cooker Quinoa, Sweet Potato, & Black Bean Chili - a protein-rich (and very tasty!) vegetarian chili recipe. Just dump it in the Crock Pot in the morning and dinner's made.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a portion of the proceeds. More about this here.

Karen Raye

Kare is a vegetarian home cook living among carnivores. She loves creating irresistible and flexible recipes that help multi-vore families like hers keep the peace - deliciously.

30 Responses to “Slow Cooker Quinoa, Sweet Potato, & Black Bean Vegetarian Chili”

  1. What type of cocoa powder do you use? 

    • For this, I’ve only tried just the standard Hershey’s cocoa powder. But I’ve found with chili the type of cocoa powder you use doesn’t really matter all that much. You can even leave it out if you like; I just like the rich flavor note it adds. 🙂

  2. This looks so yummy! Definitely going in a Real Food Meal Plan soon.

  3. I make a similar chili with black beans and sweet potatoes, but I like the idea of adding quinoa – it adds interesting texture to the profile.  I will have to give this one a try this month! 

  4. I’m a veggie chili addict myself, so I’m totally with you on this one. BRING IT ON. This sounds super!

  5. Can I take dried black beans (soaked overnight) and just let them cook while cooking the chili? We’ve done this before with pinto and it works just fine.

    • Hmm … I suppose that would probably work! I can’t say for sure because I haven’t tried it. That would probably make the beans taste great! I would maybe add a little more liquid though.

  6. Just a follow-up…my chili was DELICIOUS! And it looked just like your picture – I was pretty thrilled about that! 🙂 I did, essentially, double the recipe. I used a full 1 lb. bag of uncooked black beans, soaked overnight and just put in the pot the next morning uncooked. On low about 9-10 hours later, they were perfect! (In total, I added about 3 cups of water to the mix.)

  7. Loved this recipe! The quinoa was a really nice touch. Thank you for posting this! :o)

  8. Thanks for posting this. It looks really great. Just to make it perfect i would It perfect i would like to know how low is cook on low actually. Big thanks!

  9. The chili is delicious and full of good nutrients.  Just curious, when you say 6 servings, what serving size did you use?

  10. This was delicious. Turned out nice and thick, with a rich flavor from the cocoa powder and smoked paprika. I used garbanzo beans, since that was all I had.

  11. I’ve made this a few times and it is DELICIOUS and super easy. Do you know how many calories per serving?

  12. We have made this several times and it is always a hit!!! My very meat eating husband loves this vegetarian dish so much. I didnt have cocoa powder the first time I made it so I left it out and have continued to every time because we think it is just perfect. And we actually double the recipe because we will literally eat it for every meal until it’s gone! Thanks for the great recipe-it will surely continue to be a family favorite for years to come!

  13. Added a ton of kale and cilantro to the pot. Didn’t have any cocoa powder so i broke off a small brick of 90% dark chocolate, also added fresh garlic. NOMS

  14. Those are not black beans in your picture, what are they?

  15. Made this and its delicious. Also has one of my very favorite qualities in a recipe: it’s even better the next day!

  16. Made this for our meat free Lenten dinner the other night. Loved it! Thanks!! I’ve decided to cook veggie for a minimum of three days a week, and this will be a welcome addition to my repertoire.

  17. Where did this recipe go? I can’t see it on the page …. is it still posted? I really want to try it – my three favourite ingredients and in a slow cooker?!?! sounds amazing!

  18. What Happened to this recipe 🙁 I was planning on using it tonight and the recipe portion of the post has dissapeared! 

  19. I’m actually have trouble finding the recipe, but it sounds exactly what I’m looking for. I clicked the top “skip to the recipe” link which I’m now on but I still don’t see it 🙁 Help! 

  20. Since discovering this recipe 3 months ago, I’ve made it almost every week! My husband (who is a BIG meat-eater) even loves it. I describe it as a hybrid chili/stew because to me it has a mixture of both tastes. In the south we like things spicy, so I use two whole jalapeños- seeds and all. Sometimes we’ll buy bread bowls to eat it with. Delicious!  

  21. Made this today and it is delicious! This will be lunch for work this week with a side salad.

  22. I’ve made this a bunch of times for tailgates and potlucks and everyone loves it. If you can’t wait on the slow cooker, 15 minutes in the electric pressure cooker works pretty well!!! 

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