Vegetarian smokey chilli

I am not a big fan of spicy food and chilli’s, while easy, full of tasty tasty lentils and usually quite cheap, are one of the meals I enjoy less for this reason. So when I found a tasty smokey bean chilli I thought it would be a good thing to try out.


  • 2 onions
  • olive oil
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 heaped teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons quality cocoa powder (an optional addition for the adventurous, I didn’t use this)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon peanut butter (an optional addition for the adventurous, I didn’t use this)
  • 1-2 fresh red chillies
  • 3 large mixed-colour peppers
  • 2 sweet potatoes , (300g each)
  • 1 bunch of fresh coriander , (30g)
  • 2 x 400 g tins of butter beans
  • 3 x 400 g tins of plum tomatoes
  • 8 small jacket potatoes (It can also be served with rice or pasta. I had it with rice)
  • 140 g Cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 4 little gem lettuces
  • 8 tablespoons natural yoghurt (Optonal)
  • 1 x can Red kidney beans (Optional. An addition of my own because who can have a chilli without red kidney beans?)


    1. Put a large casserole pan on a medium-low heat and a griddle pan beside it on a high heat.
    2. Work in batches, starting by charring the veg on the griddle to add a smoky flavour dimension.
    3. Peel the onions and cut into 1cm dice, char on the griddle for 3 minutes, then place in the casserole pan with 2 tablespoons of oil, the cumin seeds, paprika, cocoa and peanut butter, stirring occasionally.
    4. Slice the chilli(es) 1cm thick and griddle while you deseed and roughly chop the peppers and chop the sweet potatoes into rough 2cm chunks (leave the skin on for extra nutritional benefit, just give them a wash). Griddle it all, adding to the casserole pan as you go.
    5. Finely chop and add the coriander stalks.
    6. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.
    7. Drain the beans in a sieve over the casserole pan so the juices go in, then tip the beans into the griddle pan in an even layer. Have faith and leave them without stirring until they start to char and burst, then add to the veg.
    8. Pour in the tinned tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon. Stir well, then pop the lid on ajar and leave for 1 hour, or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
    9. Meanwhile, wash the potatoes, prick, then bake for 1 hour, or until crispy on the outside, fluffy in the middle. (Or if you are have rice or pasta prepare them)
    10. Just before serving, finely chop the coriander leaves and stir through the chilli, taste and season to perfection.
    11. I you are having it with jacket potatoes: Cut a cross into each spud, pinching the bottoms so they open up, then grate the cheese and divide it between them, stuffing it in well.
    12. Pick apart the gem lettuces, and serve each cheesy spud with a good portion of chilli, some gem leaves and a dollop of yoghurt.

    This was an interesting and tasty flavour. If a hot chilli is what you are looking for I don’t think this is quite your cup of tea but it is full of flavour none-the-less. Though it was hard to tell whether the smokey flavour was all from the smoked paprika or also from the pregrilled veggies. The texture was nice and varied and it even got a big thumbs up and a ‘can I have the recipe?’ from a vegetarian friend.

    Last updated: 13/5/2017


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