The Ultimate Veggie Chilli

I was always a fan of a spicy, robust and smoky chilli made with good-quality minced beef. But it wasn’t until about a year ago that I found using the right veggies and a mix of beans can you give the same flavours and textures, with more fibre and less fat. Now, when I do make chilli it’s usually a meat-free one - still with all the sides though! 

Ingredients: 

  • 200g uncooked washed basmati rice 
  • 1 small pot soured cream or plain natural yoghurt 
  • A small mound of grated cheddar cheese 
  • A handful (or a few) of plain salted tortilla chips - the supermarket own brand ones are my favourite!

For the Veggie Chilli

  • 100g dried mixed beans, soaked overnight in cold water - I love Waitrose Love Life 10 Bean Mix (feel free to substitute with tinned beans instead, no soaking needed) 
  • 400g tinned plum tomatoes 
  • 2tsp cumin seed 
  • 1tsp ground smoked sweet paprika 
  • 1tsp ground cumin 
  • 1 bell pepper, roughly diced 
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, halved and then sliced 
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and diced 
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 2 green chillies, sliced (seeds and core removed if preferred)
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 2tbsp good quality oil 

For the best guacamole ever 

  • 1-2 ripe avocados, diced 
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced 
  • 1 birds eye chilli, finely diced (seeds and core removed if you don’t want it too hot) 
  • small bunch coriander, roughly chopped 
  • 1 lime, juice only 

Method:

  • Soak the rice in cold water at the very start 
  • In fresh cold water, cook the soaked beans according to instructions and ensure all the different beans are tender before draining. If using tinned beans, omit this step 
  • In a heavy-based pan, heat the oil and cumin seeds together until fragrant. Then add in the onion leaving to sweat until golden - keep it all moving on a medium-low heat so not to burn or catch the onion 
  • Once the onion is golden and sweet, add the chilli, paprika and ground cumin and mix through
  • Add the pepper and mushrooms, gently cooking everything together and well coated in the spices 
  • Add in the tinned tomatoes, breaking them up with the back of the wooden spoon. The mixture can be left on a low heat to simmer for 15-20mins so it can get really rich and robust. Stir occasionally 
  • Meanwhile, cook the rice; this is my failsafe method for hob cooked rice. Add enough fresh cold water to cover about 3cm above the rice, bring to the boil with the lid on but a bit of a gap for steam to escape. Once boiling for around 4mins and it looks like most of the water has been absorbed, put the lid firmly on the saucepan and turn off the heat. Leave to rest for at least 10mins - don’t peak! 
  • For the guacamole, add all the ingredients into a bowl and using a fork crush the avocado and stir really well. I prefer my guac on the slightly chunkier side so less crushing needed
  • Back to the chilli, once the tomatoes have got rich and thick, add in the cooked beans and heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste, and if you want some extra smokiness, sprinkle a little 
  • Break up the cooked rice with a fork, and spoon onto a dish. Add the chilli, a good dollop of guac and soured cream. Sprinkle with cheese and add a few tortilla chips on the side. Voila!