Main Meals

Chilli Con Carne

Delicious and warming chilli con carne with a meat-free option included in this recipe. This family favourite is sure to impress anyone who tries it! Serve with rice, atop a jacket potato, nachos or with a side of homemade cornbread. 

I’m sharing another of my family favourite dinner recipes. Who doesn’t love a big, steaming bowlful of freshly homemade chilli con carne, it’s the ultimate Tex-Mex comfort! It’s only recently that I’ve started to make my own chilli con carne completely from scratch and after several attempts I’ve developed a great chilli spice blend. I make this spice blend all the time and keep in a jar in my kitchen store cupboard ready for whenever I want to make a batch of chilli – my secret for authentic chilli flavour is adding lots of cumin.

Below is a tasty vegan chilli sin carne I made using my original recipe.

I took a butternut squash (roughly 1kg) and it chopped up leaving the skin on and deseeded it – keep the seeds and bake those to make a nutritious crunchy snack. I roasted the butternut squash along with 4 bell peppers (use any colours you like) with a tablespoon of oil, salt and black pepper for approx. 40-45 minutes until they start to pick up colour and the veg is soft.

While the veg was cooking I had my sauce on the stove top cooking away. Once the vegetables were cooked, I transferred them to the sauce along with a can of kidney beans and simmered everything for a few more minutes.

We served our chilli with rice, salted tortilla chips, a spoonful of vegan sour cream/mayonnaise and a wedge of lime to squeeze over the finished dish.

This chilli recipe always gets great reviews from anyone who has tried it, whether a meat eater or not!

(Serves 4-6)


Spice Blend:

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander/cilantro

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Generous pinch of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon paprika (I use smoked for the best flavour)

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt/powder

1 teaspoon mild chilli powder – omit if using fresh chilli


2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

1 red or white onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

400-450g (approx. 1lb) lean minced beef (I tend to go for 5% fat) – you can use a meat alternative instead if preferred

2 tablespoons tomato puree

1-2 green or red chillis, deseeded and finely chopped (optional) – adjust depending on how spicy you want the chilli

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

400g (14 ounce) can chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon sugar

200ml beef stock (if making vegetarian/vegan you can use a meat-free beef stock cube)

Juice of 1 lime

400g (14 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed – you can also use kidney beans in chilli sauce if you want


1. Sauté the chopped onion and red bell pepper until soft on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the minced beef and cook until browned and starting to colour – this will take about 10 minutes. Add the tomato purée, chopped chilli (if using), garlic and the spice mix. Cook for a further minute or two until fragrant.

2. Now add the chopped tomatoes and the sugar. Add the stock and the lime juice, bring the pot up to the boil and then cover and simmer for an hour stirring occasionally. After an hour remove the lid and continue to cook for another 30 minutes until glossy and all the stock has been absorbed. Finish by adding the beans and stir until they’re heated through.

3. Serve the chilli piping hot with rice, atop a jacket potato, with nachos and your favourite dips or with cornbread.

Love Mexican food? Try this Mexican Red Rice (Arroz Rojo) next!

Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread

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