This Borlotti Bean Chilli is smoky and spicy. Ideal for batch-cooking for the freezer, it can be made on the stove or in a slow-cooker.
Happy New Year... and happy Veganuary! Whether or not you're taking part and going vegan for January, this smoky and spicy Borlotti Bean Chilli is ideal for making in a huge batch on a rainy Saturday afternoon, then bagging up and freezing for weekday suppers throughout the month.
Chilli is a brilliantly versatile dish to have a stash of in the freezer - you can enjoy it in tortilla wraps, tacos, with rice, in a jacket potato, or even as a pasta sauce.
I don't have a slow-cooker so just cooked this on a low heat on the hob for a couple of hours, but I've included instructions below the recipe for making this in a slow-cooker, if you were lucky enough to get one for Christmas!
📝 What you need
Borlotti beans These are my favourite tinned beans - big and 'meaty' textured with a lovely flavour. Not all supermarkets stock them, however, so if you can't find them a kidney bean or cannellini bean will also be fine in its place.
Puy lentils These are delicious dried lentils - they retain their bite even when slow-cooked for a long time, (unlike red lentils which eventually turn to mush - just what you want in, say, a dhal, but not in this recipe). If you can't find any, a good dried green or brown lentil will work well. Try to avoid using tinned lentils as they don't have the same bite.
Spices I've recommended ground cumin, chilli powder, smoked paprika and dried oregano, but please don't go rushing to the supermarket if you're missing one of these - any combination of the above will taste great. Or you can use a spice mix like Barbacoa for a ready-made blend of spices.
Garlic cloves If you're in a hurry, ready-chopped garlic from a jar or tube is a good time-saver, though the flavour doesn't quite match a freshly crushed garlic clove. Your call!
Red chilli Big fat chillis tend to be fairly mild but do add a lovely flavour. For more heat, leave in the seeds and white membranes that hold the seeds in place, (those are the spiciest bits). For some real heat you can use small birds' eye chillis instead - I love them but they certainly do pack a punch!
Vegetable stock cube Make sure you check the label before buying stock cubes, as some sneak in a small amount of milk powder. I tend to use Marigold Stock Powder, but again some varieties contain milk so check before buying.
Marmite I'm often asked if this is obligatory by people who don't like marmite - I would say give it a go, as you can't really taste the marmite in the finished chilli but you can taste a deep, savoury, umami flavour. But if you don't want to buy a jar specially yes of course, do leave it out. Nutritional Yeast flakes would be a good alternative, stirred through the chilli just 5 minutes before the end of cooking time.
⏱ Can I make this in a slow-cooker?
Complete step 1. below in a frying pan, then tip into your slow cooker along with all the remaining ingredients.
Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 5-6 hours until the lentils are tender. Or even better, cook it for as long as you can - you really can't over-cook this lovely chilli!
❄️Can I freeze my chilli?
Absolutely! Divide into individual portions and label the bags clearly.
I make half the portions 'large' (ie. a dinner in itself alongside some rice), and half 'small' (ie. to fill a jacket potato for lunch, or a toddler-sized portion - if I make a batch with less chilli and salt!).
To serve, just heat in a microwave or saucepan until piping hot throughout.
👩🏽🍳 How to serve
This is such a versatile chilli. You can serve it:
- With rice
- In a baked potato or sweet potato
- In a tortilla wrap - either fajita-style or toast the outside to make a beany burrito (watch the video in my burrito recipe to find out how)
- With steamed green vegetables - I like french beans and Tenderstem broccoli
- With a green salad and avocado
For more quick and easy vegan recipes take a look at my latest book Vegan in 15.
"Brilliant! Chock full of easy recipes and great tips and advice" Hello! Magazine
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Slow-Cooked Borlotti Bean Chilli
- 2 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
- 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 leek, finely chopped
- 1 red pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped
- small bunch fresh coriander - stalks finely chopped and leaves separated and roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped (remove the seeds for a milder flavour!)
- 2 tsp of each of the following spices: ground cumin, chilli powder, smoked paprika, dried oregano, (don't worry if you're missing one or two, this will still taste great!)
- 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
- 400 g tin borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
- 200 g puy lentils, rinsed
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1 tbsp marmite
- In a large saucepan or casserole dish, heat the oil and add the onion, leek, pepper, coriander stalks, garlic, chilli and spices. Fry gently for 4-5 minutes, adding a little water if the mixture becomes too dry.
- Add the tomatoes, then refill the empty tin with water, tip this into the pan, re-fill it again to half-way and add this too. Tip in the borlotti beans, lentils, stock cube and marmite, then bring to the boil.
- Turn down to a low heat, cover and cook for 1.5 - 2 hours until the lentils are tender and sauce has thickened. You may need to remove the lid for 10-15 minutes if there is too much liquid, or else add a little water if it is too thick/dry. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.
- Stir through the coriander leaves just before serving - perhaps with rice, tortilla wraps, guacamole or fresh avocado, a squeeze of lime juice, finely chopped spring onions, or a dollop of soya or coconut yoghurt.