Sunday 10 January 2016

Vegetarian Chilli

Jane and I are omnivores. We eat meat, we eat cheese, we eat eggs, we eat vegetables - etc! More often than not our meals contain meat, but just to prove that we eat vegetarian meals too, I offer you this recipe for a sort of Vegetarian Chilli. Actually, it's more of a Bean Soup than a conventional Chilli.

My dish incorporates a whole Celeriac for extra flavour, but don't get too excited, it was a very small (home-grown) whole Celeriac - about 200g of useable veg.

This is a dish full of nutrients and packed with flavour. Furthermore it is dead easy to prepare. This is what you need:

1 x tin of cooked Beans (I used Black-Eye Beans, but Borlotti or Red Kidney would be good too)
60g dry Green Lentils
1 x tin of chopped Tomatoes
1 x Onion, peeled and chopped
1 x Leek, peeled and chopped (I used 2 small ones)
Approx 200g Celeriac, peeled and diced
1 x red Chilli, chopped (remove seeds and membrane if you want a milder result)
2 x cloves Garlic, peeled and crushed
1 x teaspoon each of ground Cumin, ground Coriander, hot Chilli powder, smoked Paprika and dried Oregano
1 x tablespoon concentrated liquid stock, or one stock cube
1 x tablespoon Marmite
1 x tablespoon vegetable oil
500ml water (to make up the stock)
Chopped Parsley or Coriander Leaf (Cilantro) to garnish

P.S. If you're not keen on chilli, leave it out or replace it with something else that you do like - this recipe is very forgiving!

In a deep ovenproof casserole, heat the oil and fry the onion, leek, celeriac, chilli, garlic and spices over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are soft but not brown.
Tip the beans, tomatoes and lentils into the casserole with the vegetables and add the water, stock / stock cube and the Marmite.
Bring the mixture to the boil, turn down the heat, cover the pan and simmer for approximately one to one-and-a-half hours, until the lentils are fully cooked. If the dish seems too dry, add some more water. If it seems too sloppy, remove the lid of the casserole to allow more moisture to evaporate.
Garnish with Parsley / Coriander, serve in a soup-bowl and eat with a spoon!

Serve with some sort of carb - whatever you fancy - rice, tortillas, pasta, whatever. I served ours with thick slices of home-made bread, toasted and slathered with garlic butter.

To add some further visual appeal I made a colourful salad, with sweet corn, tomato, shallot and parsley:

Here's a tip we picked up on our holiday in Mexico: squeeze a wedge of fresh Lime over the chilli just before serving, to add another layer of piquancy.

Well, You won't be able to verify this, but let me assure you, this dish was amazingly tasty! You know the word "Umami"? Well, it was that!

Afterthought: Despite long cooking, and my remembering not to add salt, the lentils were not as soft as I would have liked, and in retrospect I think this may have been because of the salt content of the stock cube I used, and the Marmite. If I do this dish again, I will cook the lentils in plain water and add the stock cube and Marmite about 15 minutes before serving time.


  1. Co-incidentally we had my version of a vegetarian chilli last night!

  2. The dish looks delicious! Thinking of making something like this as I got a kilo of French bean seeds at the Horticultural show in our city.

  3. I made a 15 bean soup last week and it was so yummy! Winter is always a good time for any kind of chili or soup!

  4. As far as I am concerned, you could make a chili out of shoe leather and it would be tasty. Your chili with the veggies looks especially good, and the salad is a nice touch.

  5. It looks lovely I was interested to read about you using your celeriac in it. I shall certainly copy the lime idea.

  6. Now that looks a very tasty dish ...

    All the best Jan


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