If a person could be considered a Crock-Pot addict… then I would definitely fall into that category.

I invested in my first “big” (i.e., six-quart) Crock-Pot over two years ago, and I honestly haven’t looked back since. Being a mom/step-mom to 3 kiddos, I don’t always have the luxury (or time, really) to whip up fancy meals for our family. Sometimes, all I’ve got the time and energy to do is to throw a bunch of ingredients in the slow cooker and let it work its magic!

Chili is one of the easiest Crock-Pot recipes out there. You’ve got your diced veggies, your beans, your meat (if you aren’t vegan like us), your spices, and voila… dinner is served. Chilis also freeze well so you can make a huge batch and not have to worry about anything going to waste.

The secret ingredient in this recipe is… carob powder! Carob powder is an alternative to cocoa powder, and it’s a staple I always have in the pantry. There are a lot of chili variations out there, but they all stick to the same main ingredients for the most part. For some extra flavor that will make your chili stand out, add some cinnamon, strong coffee, or a little carob. All of these will help boost the flavor in your preferred chili recipe without being overpowering!

One of the things I love most about this chili recipe is that it’s zero waste! I buy my quinoa from the bulk bins, the aluminum cans are recyclable, and any food scraps (like onion peels) are 100% compostable. Luckily, we live in a city that offers both curbside recycling and compost pick-up service. Thank you, City of Tucson and Scraps on Scraps!

Finally… this recipe is brimming with nutrients! First of all, quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat, containing all nine essential amino acids.

Then you’ve got sweet potatoes — rich in vitamin C. While most people know that vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, few people are aware that this crucial vitamin plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation.

And last (but certainly not least) are black beans. Black beans are very high in fiber and protein, and rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, calcium, iron, and manganese. Simple, delicious, and nutritious!

Crockpot Quinoa, Sweet Potato, and Black Bean Chili

Total Time: 15 minutes prep, 5-6 hours cooking
Servings: 6 generous bowls

Ingredients:

  • ½ c. uncooked quinoa (I used tri-color, but any variety will do)
  • 3 15-oz. cans of black beans, drained
  • 2 c. vegetable broth
  • 2 14.5-oz. cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced
  • 2 tbsp. carob powder
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • ¼ tsp. smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients (minus salt and pepper) to a 6-quart or larger slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours.
  3. Taste and add additional salt and/or pepper, if desired.
  4. Keep leftovers in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.