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I recently did a cooking demo for a great Autumn recipe, and one of my friends on Facebook made a good point…I should do a blog post about that recipe!  I like to give the people what they want, so here we go.  Today’s recipe is a Quinoa and Roasted Red Pepper Chili.  This is a very hearty, nourishing recipe, that’s fantastic to eat with the weather cooling down like it is now.

I do this recipe with broiled chicken thighs, but the origin of this recipe is for a “vegetarian optional” menu that I did for a family.  This was a family of four, where three of them were omnivores, and one of the daughters is a vegetarian.  This forced me to be imaginative, which is always fun as a chef.  This means that if you want to do this recipe as a vegetarian/vegan recipe, that’s an option as well.

The base of this recipe is the suite of vegetables that are used, which makes for an extremely aromatic combination.  As you can see in the recipe below, the finalized recipe begins with some onion, zucchini and garlic, along with some spices, and tomatoes/vegetable juice to help out the aroma.  Along with that, you have the roasted peppers, which are essential to capturing that fantastic autumn flavor that the recipe brings.

As far as the nutritional benefits of this meal, one of the things that I hear a lot is “eat your colors”…and as you can see from this recipe, the colors are there in force.  One suggestion I have on that note is to sub in one orange/yellow bell pepper for a red.  This won’t have a noticeable effect on the final flavor, but really makes the colors pop in the finalized dish, and should add some extra nutrients from the added colors.

To put a  final note on the nutritional value of this dish, quinoa is one of those “trendy” grains right now…and while I don’t follow food trends, this push towards quinoa is something I can totally get behind.  It’s the only grain that’s a complete protein, meaning that it provides your body with all of the amino acids that it needs to rebuild itself.  I love quinoa, and am trying to find as many places to put it as possible. 🙂

Another suggestion I have for this recipe is to sub in chipotle powder for the chili powder that the original recipe calls for.  I’ve found that the smokiness brought by chipotle powder adds a fantastic element of flavor to this recipe.  The heat of the chipotle powder and poblano peppers is masked extremely well by other elements of the dish, so don’t be afraid to add in more if you like it.

Now that Autumn is setting in, I find myself drifting toward this dish more and more often…AND, to make thing better, the recipe I have listed makes 5-6 portions.  When I cook for a customer, the standard order is for four portions of food, so I often find myself “accidentally” cooking extra, that I can’t just throw away, so I have no choice but to take it home for myself and having it for dinner…what a tough job I have, laugh. 🙂

Here is the recipe, for your chili enjoyment:

Quinoa and roasted red pepper chili


2 lb chicken thighs, broiled and on the side
2 red bell peppers, washed
2 poblano chiles, washed
As needed: olive oil
2 large zucchini, medium dice
1 white onions small dice
4 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp paprika
½ C uncooked quinoa
Salt and pepper to taste
1 15 oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 C low sodium vegetable juice



  • Preheat broiler and cut bell peppers and chiles in half lengthwise, discarding seeds and membrane
  • Place halves, skin side up on a pan and flatten by hand. Broil 10 minutes.  Place in a bowl covered with foil/plastic wrap and let stand 10 minutes, then peel and coarsely chop
  • Cook the chicken thighs under the broiler until internal temperature reaches 160F, then set aside and dice after resting for 5 minutes
  • Heat large pot over medium-high heat, add oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add zucchini, onion and garlic, saute 4 minutes.
  • Stir in chili powder, cumin and paprika and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add roasted peppers and remaining ingredients
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Add diced chicken thighs and serve, checking for seasoning and correcting if necessary

Side note: Picture done by Eva Stasiak of Imagine a Moment photography, an excellent photographer: https://imagineamomentphotography.shootproof.com/