Super easy, healthy and delicious. I love a bowl of spicy, rich, smokey chilli, it is high on my list of comfort foods. Mexican dishes are very well suited to reduced or zero meat dinners. Chilli was my first attempt at cutting down our meat intake. I started by adding extra kidney beans, chickpeas and veg to make the beef mince go further. I soon realised that I didn’t need the meat for the taste or the texture. Fast forward through my experiments, I now make a knock out chilli using a ten bean mix and lentils. It is full of fibre and nutrients and very low in fat.
As I have mentioned before I am a ‘throw it all in’ cook. I love lots of flavour but not too much work! Hopefully I can translate this into a recipe that works for you.
Any beans will work. I use dried beans but cans will work too. I use a 10 bean mix from Waitrose (£1.19 – 500g). I make a big batch and freeze extra portions. The quantities would make around 8-10 portions.
- 500g dried mixed beans, soak in cold water over night. Rinse well.
- Cover in fresh water and bring to the boil for 10 mins, simmer for approx a further 1.5 hrs. The instructions state 45 mins but I prefer the beans to be soft so cook as long as you wish.
- Once cooked, drain the cooking water.
- Separately cook 250g of lentils. Green, red or 50/50. Follow instructions on the packet. Drain cooking water.
- Add cooked beans and lentils to a large pan. Add enough water to cover 1/2 of the mix. (about 1 pint).
- Add the following:
- two teaspoons of stock powder (I use Marigold vegan Swiss bouillon).
- one teaspoon of cocoa powder (trust me).
- one teaspoon of ground cumin powder.
- half teaspoon of hot chilli powder or 2 whole red chilli roughly chopped (add chilli to taste, more or less depending on the heat). I make it quite mild so it suits everyone, then we add chopped jalapeño peppers to taste when serving.
- one teaspoon of chipotle pepper powder (chipotle is smoked jalapeño pepper, you can buy whole or in a mix).
- two teaspoons of smoked paprika powder.
- Large pinch of dark muscovado sugar (sugar is also to taste and can be left out. I use it to equal the acidity in the tomatoes.
- 3-4 large fresh tomatoes chopped or a can of chopped tomatoes.
- 1/2 litre of tomato passata. You can add more tomato rather than water if you prefer it tomatoey.
- All of the spices are to taste, so let it cook down, then taste it and add more if you need to. Remember you can add but you can’t take away.
- In a separate pan brown 1-2 finely chopped medium onions. Use apple juice instead of oil for healthy option.
- Add 4 crushed and chopped garlic cloves, fry for further 30 secs.
- Add garlic and onion to the chill, stir well. The mixture should be wet but not swimming.
- Cover, bring to the boil, then reduce to a low simmer for around 1hr. You can cook for less but I like to leave it, the longer the better as all the flavour mature. Check consistency, if too thick add more water, if too runny simmer with the lid off to reduce the liquid.
It is a long cooking time, but very little actual prep time. Hence I make a big batch and freeze it.
The beauty of the dish is that it isn’t an exact science, start with the receipt above but chuck things in and experiment, sweet potato, peppers, mushroom, courgette etc. I serve with brown rice, chopped jalapeño peppers, diced fresh avocado and cashew cream (in place of sour cream) see https://wp.me/p7RDjy-8Y. It is also good on a jacket potato, taco or wrap for lunch.
This recipe is for a non-meat version. If you do want to add meat I would opt for a high quality diced beef, brown it off, add to chilli and slow cook it until tender.
If you aren’t used to eating a lot of fibre and have a fear of beans, read the post below. Beans only cause gas and bloating if they are not prepared correctly or/and if you are not used to eating them. Introduce them gradually and you’ll still be able bend forward.