The Champagne Life on a DIY Budget Since 2007

$10 Dinners: 3-Bean & Quinoa Chicken Chili

3 bean quinoa chili

This winter has been unimaginably rough in New England — and, as I hear it, in most places normally steeled to winter storms. Literally, every Wednesday, like clockwork, we got a foot or more of snow dumped on us. And even though spring is so close, and has teased us with a few warmer days and signs of life, it’s still pretty cold. But bathing suit season is around the corner, so I’m trying to keep even my comfort foods on the healthier side.

This recipe, based on a version from Savvy Vegetarian, was passed on to me a few years ago by my friend Julie, and we’ve made it about three dozen times. I’ve streamlined the recipe for efficiency, and updated it a bit for our tastes, which include lean meat. A few things we always keep around the house are beans (both dried and canned), onions, Greek yogurt, and chicken sausage, so pulling this together on the fly when we need something hot and hearty is a piece of cake, and all of the ingredients are pretty inexpensive.

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!


Main Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 medium-large onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (2-3 cloves)
  • 16oz (1 can) black beans
  • 16oz (1 can) white/cannellini beans
  • 16oz (1 can) pinto beans
  • 1 cup dried quinoa (white or Inca Red, the pre-rinsed kind)
  • 3 3/4 cups water
  • 1 6oz can organic tomato paste
  • 1 package (5 links) pre-cooked Andouille chicken sausage


  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp fresh ground coriander
    (grinding this fresh really makes a difference in the flavor)
  • 1/2 tsp dried cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • Dash of Chipotle Tabasco sauce


  • Fage 0% Non-Fat Greek yogurt
  • Part-skim Monterey Jack or sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Makes about four (4) hearty, entree size servings


1. Chop/dice onion, celery, and chicken sausage. Set aside.

2. Portion out all the dry spices and herbs into cup or small prep bowl

3. Heat oil on medium-high heat in Dutch oven or large saucepot

4. Saute onion, celery, and garlic until soft (about 5 minutes)

5. Stir in the dry spices and herbs, saute until fragrant
(about 2 minutes)

6. Add the beans, water, tomato paste, and quinoa. Stir to combine.

7. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 20 minutes or until quinoa is fully cooked.

8. Add sliced/diced chicken sausage. Simmer on medium-low for about 5 minutes to heat through & release flavor into chili.

9. Remove from heat. Add dash of chipotle Tabasco sauce to taste and stir thoroughly to combine.

10. Portion into four dinner bowls. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the top and add a dollop of non-fat Greek yogurt (or non-fat sour cream) to each one.

Story & photo: Copyright 2011, Shoestring LLC.