Vegan lentil chilli*

*I served this dish with a dollop of natural yoghurt when styling, as I don’t follow a vegan diet. This is not compulsory and the recipe is otherwise 100% vegan. 

I love a big bowl of chunky chilli packed full of spices and topped with fresh coriander. When I was growing up we always had beef chilli as it’s what my family preferred, but spending three years on a university food budget meant that meat was often booted off the menu. Veggie chilli is now my preferred (unless my mum is cooking, in which case her recipe trumps all) and the added lentils in this dish makes it just as filling as the traditional beef version. Warming, satisfying and delicious.

Serves 6-8


(Looks like a lot but it’s a really easy recipe!)

  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 10-12 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 courgette, sliced into rounds and halved
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 orange pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 celery sticks, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 150g red lentils
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 400g tin kidney beans
  • 1 400g tin cannellini beans
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 500ml stock
  • 1-2 tsp chilli powder (or more if preferred)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 squares of 70%+ dark chocolate (dairy-free if making the vegan version) or ½ tsp cocoa powder (optional)

To serve (all optional)

  • Natural yoghurt, spiced with a pinch of ground cumin
  • Avocado
  • 1 red chilli, sliced



  1. Heat a little oil in a large wok or pan and fry off the onion, courgette, peppers and celery for 5 minutes or so until they start to soften. Add in the mushrooms, garlic, salt and all the spices and cook for a few minutes more.
  2. Add the lentils and stir until coated in the spices and veggies. Pour in the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, beans and stock and stir again until fully combined. Pop a lid on the pan and bring to a simmer, then cook for at least 25-30 minutes. If it’s too watery, remove the lid and cook for a further 5-10 minutes to cook off some of the liquid. Chilli just gets better with time so the longer you can cook it for the better (up to an hour and a half).
  3. At the end of the cooking time, add in the coriander, followed by the dark chocolate and stir until combined. Pop into bowls and top with a dollop of natural yoghurt, some avo, a handful of chopped coriander or a few slices of fresh red chilli if you’re brave enough!

Thanks to the lentils in the recipe, you don’t need to prepare anything to serve alongside the dish – however, you can always prepare some rice, polenta, tortillas etc. if you fancy.


Samantha x

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