There’s nothing better than curling up with a hot bowl of homemade chili on a cold rainy day. Traditionally made with hight fat (60/40) beef it isn’t exactly the healthiest option. So here’s a recipe packed full with flavor, nutrients and a fraction of the fat that you can feel good about next time you want something warming on a cold day.

This is by far one of my favorite recipes discovered on Pinterest (via I like to add whole cumin seeds to the oil once it’s heated but before I add the onions and garlic – the seeds become extremely aromatic and add depth and almost a meat-like flavor found in traditional beef chili, more so than just adding the ground cumin. You won’t even miss the meat – trust me! Then I top it off with freshly made pico de gallo, avocado, sharp cheddar cheese (optional) and either low-fat sour cream or non-fat greek yogurt (which tastes surprisingly similar with more protein and less calories). I also like to serve this with Trader Joe’s cornbread – substituting the oil for water (yes, it works just fine – promise!).

Vegan Quinoa & Sweet Potato Chili – makes 6 hearty bowls of chili

one 29 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
one 6 oz can tomato paste
32 oz vegetable stock
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks (I usually use two!)
1 cup dry quinoa
salt and pepper to taste
avocado, cilantro for garnish (optional)

Heat the oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium low heat. Add onions, and cook until soft and they start to turn brown (about 10 minutes). Add the garlic, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and oregano and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the beans, stock, and potatoes, and season with salt and pepper . Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the quinoa. Continue cooking for about 15 minutes – 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until quinoa and potatoes are cooked and the chili has thickened. Add a bit of water if the chili becomes too thick for your liking. Top with avocado and chopped cilantro. Scrumptious!

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