A bold and tasty vegetarian chili chocked full of sweet potatoes, chickpeas, jalapeño peppers, and quinoa with a splash of BBQ sauce and smoked paprika to really amp up the flavor! Make it in the slow cooker or Instant Pot for an easy dinner!
Sometimes your plans to grill out turn into a platter of sizzling meats enjoyed out on the deck with plenty of tangy barbecue sauce on the side. And sometimes they turn into a vegetarian BBQ Sweet Potato Chili made in the Instant Pot. Let me explain…
Sunny skies and temps above 60 are tell-tale signs that we’ll be getting the itch to grill. A couple weeks ago, there was a day that seemed promising, but as the evening approached so did the clouds and by dinner time it was pouring down rain. Now, I come from a family that believes weather should not stop your plans to barbecue. I have memories of my dad once grilling a turkey on our Weber charcoal grill during a blizzard and on a separate occasion, barbecuing ribs with the tornado sirens blaring. But my dad was the master of the grill, and my husband and I are not. Enter this BBQ Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili…
“Barbecue sweet potato, you say?” Yep. The dreary, grey evening left me unmotivated to defrost rock solid meat from the freezer, but I wanted to keep the BBQ spirit alive. I took inventory of my veggies and scoured the pantry. I had plenty of sweet potatoes and jalapeño peppers on hand along with a few pantry staples including BBQ sauce. So I turned a basic chili into a bold and tasty vegetarian chili that was the perfect comforting meal for a rainy evening while still giving us that barbecue flavor we were craving.
Vegetarian Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili Ingredients
This vegetarian chili is comprised of fresh veggies, pantry staples, and plenty of bold spices! Here’s what I used:
- Fresh vegetables: onion, garlic, jalapeño peppers, sweet potatoes
- Pantry staples: canned diced tomatoes, barbecue sauce, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), quinoa, vegetable broth
- Spices: cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika
I sautéed the onion, garlic, and jalapeños together to create a base of flavor for the chili. You could skip this step and add them in the pot with the rest of the ingredients, but I highly recommend taking the extra few minutes to sauté the veggies for a more flavorful chili.
I had fire roasted diced tomatoes on hand and I loved the bold, charred flavor that they added to the chili. However, regular diced tomatoes work well too. Next, the barbecue sauce is necessary for that classic sweet and tangy flavor we all know and love. For the beans, I decided to go with all chickpeas and take a break from black beans. But any variety of canned beans (eg, black beans, white beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, etc) will work. The quinoa gives this chili some additional heartiness and texture and the vegetable broth helps the quinoa cook to perfection.
Now for the most important part. The spices! The chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika are what makes this chili a real winner! I recommend not skipping out on the smoked paprika. Regular paprika will work but the smoked variety gives the chili its signature smoky flavor.
Instant Pot BBQ Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili
Instant Pot fans rejoice! All you need are 15 minutes on Manual mode and this chili will be ready to eat. A little pre-work is needed to sauté the the onion, garlic, and jalapeño peppers, but this can be done right in the Instant Pot on Sauté mode. Once the veggies are soft, add in the sweet potatoes, quinoa, barbecue sauce, broth and spices and let it cook for 15 minutes on the Manual setting. When cooking is complete, you may release the steam manually or naturally. Give the chili a good stir and check the consistency. If it seems a bit watery, let the chili sit for a few minutes. It will eventually thicken up.
Slow Cooker BBQ Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili
The slow cooker version of this BBQ Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili is just as easy! Be sure to sauté the onion, garlic, and jalapeño peppers on the stove first to give the chili a good flavor base. Once the aromatics have cooked, add everything to the slow cooker and give it a good stir. Let the chili cook for 6-8 hours on low or on high for 4-6 hours.
I didn’t hold back in the toppings department! This chili welcomes all the classics like cheddar cheese, avocado, cilantro, sour cream, and chopped onion. But here’s a little tip: You will not regret adding a drizzle of barbecue sauce and (gasp!) ranch dressing on top! I dare you to try it.
Regardless of your topping selections, this is simply a darn good vegetarian chili recipe. The beans, quinoa, and sweet potatoes make this a wholesome, nutritious and filling meal. Plus, the Instant Pot and Crockpot cooking options make this an easy recipe to make on a busy day. Best of all, this BBQ Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili brings out the sweet, tangy, and smoky BBQ flavor that we know and love and can easily enjoy rain or shine!Print
- 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 jalapeño peppers, chopped with seeds and veins removed
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped
- 2 cans (14.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cans (14.5 ounces) fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
- Chopped cilantro
- Red onion
- Chopped jalapeño peppers
- Sour Cream
- Extra barbecue sauce
Instant Pot: Add the oil to the Instant Pot. Press the Sauté button. Once the oil is heated, add in the onion and salt, sautéing until translucent. Add in the garlic, jalapeño peppers, and seasoning. Sauté for 3-4 minutes. Press the cancel button. Pour in the remaining ingredients, adding the diced tomatoes and barbecue sauce last. Press the Manual button and set the timer for 10 minutes. When cooking has finished, use the quick release valve to release steam, or naturally release steam for 10-15 minutes.
Slow Cooker: Add the oil to a sauté pan over medium heat. Once heated, add in the onion and salt, sautéing until translucent. Add in the garlic, jalapeño peppers, and seasoning. Sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the onion and pepper mixture and the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
If the chili seems a bit watery after cooking, let it sit for a few minutes. It will eventually thicken up.