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Hearty Vegan Chilli

We make chilli a LOT in our home. It is easy, nutritious and satisfying and everybody loves it. Every time we make it, it is different and depending on who makes it,w e have a different dish each time. Paul makes a beautiful chilli, but it has completely different flavours to mine, although just as tasty (and it is nice when he cooks for me).

Vegan Chilli is so adaptable – I make it using lentils and beans for a more hearty, nutritious chilli, and sometimes I will make it just using vegetables ground up for the mince – lots of mushrooms, celery, carrots and onion and then add the rest of the ingredients as I go – this is more like the traditional chilli con carne texture, but without the carne (next time I make this I will share the recipe). No matter what I use, I always include cumin, chilli powder and paprika to get that authentic spice flavour.

I made a post earlier about beluga lentils – I used them last weekend in a Dal Makhini, and while writing the post, I was thinking of making a chilli using the lentils. I decided to get stuck in to making this after I wrote the post, and it was so delicious! I couldn’t wait to write the recipe (or should I say I didn’t want to forget how I did it) so please see below the recipe for my favourite hearty chilli.

We enjoyed this chilli with brown basmati rice, avocado and jalapenos tonight, but you can also have it with nachos and vegan sour cream or in a burrito… however you like your chilli – this is delicious and would go perfectly! Just make sure you have a large pan to fit it all in!

Hearty Vegan Chilli

With the use of lentils, beans and vegetables, this chilli is very satisfying and nutritious.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Servings: 6 people


For the lentils

  • 300 grams beluga or brown lentils
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • water to cover lentils 1 inch above

For the chilli

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 5 cardemoms crushed slightly
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 large carrots diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 5 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 inch piece ginger grated
  • 7 chestnut mushrooms chopped finely
  • 1 medium red bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp hot smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 800 grams chopped tomatoes (2 tins)
  • 3 tins different beans (I used borlotti, black and kidney)
  • coriander
  • salt and peppet to taste


  • Simmer the lentils in the salted water for 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • In a large pan, heat the oil to a high heat.
  • Add the cinnamon, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, star anise, cardemons and cloves and fry for 2 minutes until seeds begin to pop.
  • Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic to the pan, reduce the heat and fry for 5 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
  • Add the ginger, mushrooms, pepper, paprika, garam masala, cumin powder and chilli powder and fry for a further 3 minutes.
  • Drain the lentils and rinse, then stir them into the onion / spice mixture.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and beans and simmer over a low heat for 30 minutes.
  • Add chopped coriander and salt to taste and serve.

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