Vegetable chilli

photo (76)

We have vegetable chilli for dinner about once a fortnight – it’s one of my favourite meals for clearing the fridge out.

Before I get into the recipe, I want to stress that everything below is approximate. Rather than deciding how many portions I want to make, I tend to decide what i have that needs used up and work with that (especially because this meal freezes so well). For example, I tend to use one tin of kidney beans whether I’m making three, four or six portions. I would often use two tins of tomatoes for the proportion of veg below, but as I had a half tin leftover, I just used that with one extra and added a little water.

It’s not just the quantities that are approximate. It’s the ingredients too. What I’ve written below is what I used this time. If you haven’t got courgettes, substitute in sweet potato, or green beans, or mushrooms. Most veg works (maybe not broccoli or cucumber but you get the idea!). Oh, and I don’t normally use red lentils – it was nice but lengthens the cooking time, so feel free to skip them.

We had the chilli with rice and yoghurt tonight but don’t always – it’s lovely with baked potatoes and salad, or rolled up in wraps with cheese and soured cream. It also freezes well, so it’s worth making a big batch to freeze as homemade ‘ready meals’.

Vegetable Chilli (made six portions)

photo (73)

  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 chopped tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 fresh chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 3 small onions, chopped
  • 1 courgette, cut into rounds and then quartered
  • 2 peppers (any colour), diced
  • 100g frozen sweetcorn
  • 1/2 bag spinach
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 25g red lentils
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • juice of 1 lime
  • a few dashes of soy sauce

Heat a little vegetable oil in a large, deep-sided frying pan and gently fry the onion, peppers and chilli for a few minutes until soft. Add the courgette, continue to cook, and add the garlic for the last minute before adding the chopped tomatoes, spices and red lentils. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, adding extra water as the lentils absorb it and stirring occasionally. It won’t take as long if you omit the lentils or use canned ones.

Ten minutes before the end of cooking, pop the spinach in a sieve and pour hot water over it to wilt, then add, along with the sweetcorn and kidney beans, to the pan to finish cooking. Right at the end, once the lentils are cooked and vegetables tender, add in the lime juice and soy sauce and season to taste.

photo (75)

PS apologies about the weird pink rice – Mr Chilli cooked it and decided to put red food colouring in, in an attempt to make it red!

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