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Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Warming Veggie Chilli

This is one of my all time favourite recipes and I eat it at least once a fortnight. It's just so easy to make, and it's a healthy dinner that is also incredibly satisfying. Plus, a lot of the ingredients are really accessible and you are are likely to already have some of them in the cupboard. 

Traditionally Chilli is made from Beef mince - and if you aren't already aware, I am a vegetarian. But I've never believed in forcing it on people, a yummy vegetarian dish is just a yummy dish regardless in my opinion! I've cooked this for loads of friends and family (who are all meat eaters) and it's always gone down a storm. 

Another great thing about this dish is it's pretty interchangeable, I like to use Chickpeas but you could easily throw in Kidney Beans or Butter Beans instead - or both if you are feeling like being very healthy. It's a good way to use up a bit of leftover veg as well, such as Mushroom, Courgette, Carrots or Aubergine (Zucchini or Eggplant for you guys who are stateside).

This is based on a recipe from River Cottage Veg but with my own adaptations, and by the way it's a great cookbook for anyone who wants to learn how to cook vegetables in more exciting ways. I wouldn't describe it as a "Vegetarian Cookbook" necessarily, it just has lots of interesting ways to include more vegetables in your diet. You can buy it on Amazon.co.uk.


Olive Oil
3 Red Onions - finely chopped (seems like a lot - but it works out, trust me!) 
1 Red Pepper - diced
2 Garlic Cloves - crushed
2 Teaspoons of Ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon of AllSpice 
2 Tablespoons of Tomato Purée
1 tin of Tomatoes (either chopped or whole will do)
1 tin of Chickpeas - drained
100ml Red Wine
1 Tablespoon of finely chopped, fresh Parsley
1 Tablespoon of finely chopped, fresh Coriander 
Salt and Pepper

1. Start by finely chopping your three red onions and dicing your red pepper. As you can see I had both a yellow and an orange pepper in the house, so I threw them both in on this occasion. Also prep your garlic cloves by pushing down on them with the side of a large knife, chopping off a bit of each end, and halving them longways and removing the green stalk in the middle. 

2. Grab a large pan, put in a decent amount of Olive Oil and heat it up. When it's warm put in your onions and start to cook them on a medium heat, stirring fairly frequently. After they have been on for about 5 minutes, add the pepper and crushed garlic. Keep cooking for another 10 minutes until the onion and pepper is nice and soft (I tend to utilise this time by finely chopping my Parsley and Coriander!). Add your spices, and cook for another minute or two. 

3. Now add your tinned Tomatoes (if they are whole then break them up a bit with your spoon in the pan), Chickpeas, Red Wine, Tomato Purée, Coriander, Parsley, plus some Salt and Pepper. At this point I like to grab the tin the tomatoes came in, use a little bit of water to wash out the excess tomato and then add that to the Chilli. On the day I made this I felt like adding in a bit of extra goodness, so I also put in a tin of Black Beans. 

4. Give it all a good stir, bring to the boil and then put it down to a simmer (possibly on a smaller ring if the heat is too strong). Leave the lid off and leave to simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring it now and then so it doesn't stick to the pan. 

And there you have it! It really is that easy to make, and it's such a satisfying Dinner. Especially when the weather is a bit cold and rubbish. On this occasion I served it in home-made Chickpea Flour wraps with some plain Yoghurt and some grated Cheddar (who can say no to a bit of Cheese...), but shop bought wraps will serve just as well! (I'm just a bit of a carbs fiend so I cut back on them where I can). Just make sure you simmer it for a long time so you cook out most of the liquid and the wraps don't fall apart as a result of it. It also tastes amazing in wraps with some home-made Guacamole! 

Alternatively, if you are all about the super health then it tastes great with Quinoa and cuts down your carbs intake. I personally find rice isn't as nice with it, as it dilutes the flavour of the chilli too much - but hey, that's just a personal preference. 

I really hope you enjoy it! This is the perfect hassle free dish to serve up to a bunch of mates, or you can freeze individual portions of it for a quick dinner or work lunch. I know some people aren't fans of Parsley/Coriander, but I assure you in this dish they just add to the flavour and you can't taste them - and that comes from serving it to plenty of people who don't like Parsley or Coriander!

Emma x 

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