Chilli for a crowd

This is a fabulous one-pot winter warmer and a great meat free recipe to have under your belt.  Whether feeding a crowd or stocking up the freezer for the colder months, this vegan chilli is a winner.

My kids go crazy for it, so I keep the heat down a little for them, but this is very much a recipe that you can tailor to your own tastes.  Rich, hearty and packed full of flavour, you certainly won’t miss the meat if you’re used to a regular beef chilli.

Cook this on the BBQ or over a fire pit if you can, it adds an extra smokey element.  Oh… and use the biggest pan you have!

Serves 8 – 10 big portions



Remember to use at least a 4ltr pan to accommodate 8 big portions, or divide the ingredients by half.

– 2 large onions, finely chopped
– 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
– 400g butternut squash, finely diced
– 400g sweet potatoes, diced
– 4 large vine ripened tomatoes, diced
– 10 cherry tomatoes, chopped
– 2 tins chopped tomatoes
– 10 sundried tomatoes, drained of any oil and chopped to a pulp

**Note.  You don’t have to add the fresh tomatoes here.  Just sub with another 2 cans of chopped tomatoes.  I have also started to use frozen diced squash and sweet potato and it works really well.  I just throw the equivalent amount of frozen veg onto lined baking tray and pop in the oven at 200 C for half an hour while I’m getting the rest of the other ingredients ready, and once cooked I give it all a good chop to make the chunks a little smaller**

– 100g tomato puree
– 2 heaped tsp each of ground cinnamon, cumin and coriander (tweak to taste though)
– 1-2 tsp brown sugar
– Chilli powder/flakes/paste to taste – I use 2 heaped tsp of a BBQ rub designed for beef here (but still vegan).  It has a lovely warmth to it.  But add as much or as little chilli as you like.
– 2 vegetable stock cubes
– 2 tins kidney beans, drained and rinsed
– 2 tin black beans, drained and rinsed
– 300g red split lentils **  Not part of the original recipe, but I’ve started adding this to boost the overall protein content **
– A little water
– A bunch of fresh thyme and a sprig of bay
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


I cook without oil but, if you use it, start by heating a tbsp in a very large pan over a high heat.  Fry off the onion, garlic, squash and sweet potato until it begins to take on a bit of colour.

Add the vine and cherry tomatoes along with the sundried pulp and tinned tomatoes, stir well and continue to cook over a high heat for a few minutes.

Add the tomato puree, spices and a pinch of sugar along with the chilli powder, vegetable stock cubes, beans and herbs and stir well to combine.  Add a little water if needed.

Now bring the whole lot to the boil, pop a lid on the pan and reduce to a simmer.  Let the chilli gently bubble away for an hour, then take the lid off and give it a good stir.  You’ll notice that the sweet potato has broken down, thickening the chilli and adding a lovely hint of sweetness.  Check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if needed.

Now pop the lid back on but pop a wooden spoon under one edge to allow steam to escape.  Continue to cook and reduce down for a further 20 minutes or so.  The final product should be rich and thickened.

Serve in warmed bowls with your choice of toppings.  We like a chunky guacamole and a dollop of cashew cream on ours and a few tortilla chips crumbled over the top works a treat!  Thanks to my brother for that last tip 😉

When served up with 80g of cooked quinoa, this recipe contains a massive 21g of protein, a massive amount of micronutrients and all for under 420 calories!!



K x



7 thoughts on “Chilli for a crowd

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