Smokey Vegan Chilli

Serves 5    Cook time 1 hr 20mins     Freezes well


The colder weather is now heading our way, and the summer warmth quickly receding. Now when the temperature is dropping, a plate of salad is just not an option. We are thinking of hunkering down, thoughts turn to cosy nights in, while listening to the blustery weather outside. As much as I love the sun, Autumn is my favourite time of the year. The first sight of the leaves turning russet brown and I want to stock my freezer with warming meals.

One of my hearty favourites is chilli. Not a hot spice fan, I prefer mine warming but with the smokey background from paprika. I have eaten many vegetarian and vegan chilli and a lot of them have left me wanting more. It always felt there was something missing, it definitely was not the meat. Like stews, I prefer my chilli to be rib-sticking thick.

I didn’t just want kidney beans and a few types of vegetables, I wanted a variety. One of my favourite beans is black beans, so they had to be included, along with kidney and black-eyed beans. That combined with carrots, red peppers, courgette and celery ensured that this chilli was definitely hearty. The aroma of this cooking is pretty amazing.

I was going to make guacamole to show alongside it, bad timing on the avocado. I am sure that there will be plenty of photo opportunities later to show my favourite sides. I never eat this on the day I make it. I always make it the day before. For me, the flavours develop more over time. This chilli freezes well in airtight containers for 2 months. In the refrigerator, it will keep for 5 days.


  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • small courgette
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika ( has to be smoked)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1.5 tbsp chilli powder or chipotle paste (this depends on your heat preference)
  • 1  400g can of black beans,
  • 1  400g can kidney beans
  • 1 can 400g black-eyed beans
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 cups of water


Chop all the vegetables, onion, celery, pepper, courgette and carrots. Drain the cans of beans and rinse.

In a large heavyweight pot add the 2 tbsp of oil and heat until hot. Add all the chopped vegetables and cook over medium heat until they are tender. This should take around 10 minutes.

chilli 1

Now add the crushed garlic, chilli powder or paste, paprika, cumin and oregano. Cookout the spices for a few minutes, to cook through.

Add the tins of tomatoes and juices, beans, water, tomato puree and bay leaf.

Stir and bring to a gentle simmer uncovered on medium heat for 45 minutes, letting it reduce slightly. Remove from the heat and let it cool.

I now use the same method I do with soups, remove 1 cup of the chilli and blend it. This can be done with a stick blender or an upright blender. Blitz until smooth and add back to the pot. If you find this a little too thick, then you can loosen it with a little water.

It is now ready to serve the way you like it. For me, it is lime-infused rice, vegan sour cream, cheese and guacamole. Sometimes though it just nachos and cheese Whatever way you like to eat it, I hope you enjoy it.

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