Experiments in Taste #5: Chilli non Carne!

This week, I bring you another vegan recipe. I love chilli: it’s such an adaptable recipe, and easily converted to a vegan version. The ingredients below are just a suggestion; you can really let your imagination run wild with this one!


Chill non Carne
  • 2 large onions, finely diced
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 fresh chillies (optional)
  • 1 red pepper and 1 green or yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 small courgette, diced
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 x 400g tins borlotti or kidney beans (or a mixture)
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • Hot pepper sauce such as tabasco, to taste
  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A little freshly-squeezed lemon juice


  • Cover the base of a large frying pan with olive oil, and heat to a medium-high heat.
  • Fry the onions, stirring continuously to coat them in the oil, then reduce the heat to low and cook without stirring until they are softened and transparent.
  • Add the garlic and chilli (if using), then stir and cook for a further minute.
  • Turn the heat back up to medium-high, add the peppers, courgette and sun-dried tomatoes and stir well.
  • Add the herbs, a squeeze of lemon juice and a little freshly-ground black pepper and stir well.
  • Add the tomato puree and stir to combine the ingredients.
  • Add the tinned tomatoes, cumin and drained beans. Stir well and bring the mixture to the boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer until all the ingredients are cooked through. At this point, if you wish, you can transfer the mixture to an ovenproof dish, cover the mixture and bake at 200°C (fan 180°C), gas mark 6 for about 1 hour. This adds depth of flavour to the dish, but it is not strictly necessary.
  • Before serving, add salt to taste and hot sauce if you want it for an extra kick of spice.


When I’m making this for kids, I leave out the chilli and add hot sauce to my portion at the end. I also add a tin of sweetcorn as they like this a lot. In fact, I have to leave out the courgette and sun-dried tomatoes or they won’t eat it! As I said, this recipe is a starting point but it can be adapted to suit your taste. Serve with long-grain rice or even a baked sweet potato. Enjoy!

16 thoughts on “Experiments in Taste #5: Chilli non Carne!

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  1. This looks good and summery with the zucchini added! I will have to try that. I almost made it yesterday, but made a layered tortilla dish instead (vegetarian, but not vegan–it has a lot of cheese!) Black beans are good, too, and mushrooms for extra umami.

    My kids grew up with spicy food, so I never adjusted for them. We all like it spicy. 😀 I often make cornbread to go with chili.

    1. Thanks Merril! I wish my kids would eat spicy food…they refused it from the moment they could say ‘no.’ Your Indian food from the other day looked lovely 😊

      1. I think there’s a genetic thing sometimes. My dad also loved spicy food. 😀 Fortunately, my husband likes it also, and he did not grow up with it in his family.

  2. Sorry Ingrid I would love to visit and have this wonderful meal with you… but my book launch week has begun and I am in a strange land that I have never step foot on before…. 😀😎

  3. Ok this is absolutely bizarre… I just made this for dinner! (Well I guess it’s not that bizarre, we have it every few nights or so… but still!) Love your images. Well done… yummerrrrss!! 😋

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