Spicy Vegetarian White Chili with Quinoa and Queso Fresco

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. As the cold weather begins to slowly creep in, so do all my favorite comfort foods! By the time October hits, I’m deep into the hunt for more hearty soup, stew and chili recipes into add to my winter line-up.

After perusing the chili category on Ricardo Cuisine, I found a great vegetarian recipe for a classic white chili. I opted to put a low-fat, super-food spin on things by incorporating some non-fat Greek yogurt and cooked quinoa.

After some experimenting, I found that my favorite method to incorporate quinoa into this recipe is to cook it separately and use it as a topping. It adds another level of texture to this dish and plays well with the creamy yogurt, fresh cilantro and crunchy tortillas.

Spicy Vegetarian White Chili with Quinoa and Queso Fresco (adapted from Ricardo Cuisine)

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups navy beans
  • 2 cups white kidney beans
  • 3 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup Mexican white cheese (queso fresco)
  • 2 corn tortillas
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 pinch smoked paprika
  • 4 lime wedges
  • Fresh ground salt and pepper

Slice the corn tortillas into thin strips and bake at 350 degrees until crispy and golden brown; set aside until ready to use. Break the cauliflower florets apart by hand into large bite-sized sections. In a large pot, combine the onion, jalapeno, garlic, spices and oil over medium heat. Cook until the onions are translucent and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the broth, beans, cauliflower and potato and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and add more broth to thin the consistency, if desired. Stir in the yogurt and season to taste.

When plating, spoon the chili into bowls and top with a generous spoonful of cooked quinoa and crumbled queso fresco. Garnish with baked tortilla strips, fresh cilantro and a pinch of smoked paprika. Serve with lime wedges and enjoy immediately!

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