Chilli Non Carne


A good chilli recipe is essential for feeding a crowd, for slinging a pile of stuff into a pot or slow cooker and forgetting about it, and for a hearty, almost effortless dinner. Serve this version with a pile of plain rice, or atop greens or salad for a healthier alternative, on buttery mash (sweet potato, polenta or plain old potato), in wraps, in toasted sandwiches, or however you please. Leftovers can be half blended, half left chunky to make a hearty, spicy soup for the next day’s lunch or light dinner. This freezes wonderfully, and the flavour develops if you cook it and cool it, and warm it back through later on.


  • 2 large onions
  • 6 fat cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp cumin, seeds or ground
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 × 400 g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 × 400 g tin of black beans
  • 1 × 400 g tin of kidney beans
  • 1 × 400 g tin of jackfruit in brine or water – I like Summer Pride
  • 175 ml red wine
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or red/white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder


  1. First peel and finely chop your onions, and peel and finely slice your garlic. Toss both into a large pan, along with the oil. Add the spices, and salt and pepper and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes to sweat the onions and soften the garlic without burning or browning them.
  2. Tip in the tomatoes. Drain and thoroughly rinse the black beans and kidney beans, and add those too. Drain the jackfruit and tip it in, and pour in the wine and lemon juice or vinegar. Add the cocoa powder, and give everything a good stir. Bring to the boil very briefly, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 40 minutes until the sauce has thickened and is glossy and dark red, and smells amazing.
  3. You can serve this now, or if your timeframe and energy bill allow for it, cook it for another 20 minutes with a splash of water to stop it drying out, to really pump up the volume on the flavour front. Allowing it to cool and then blasting it back through with heat will produce a similar effect if the thought of an hour of cooking on the hob seems excessive!
  4. Serve hot, but it’s also delicious fridge-cold, as my midnight snacking tendencies will testify.

To serve


  • Wedges of lime
  • Tortilla chips