Rich sweet potato and black bean chilli

A substantial vegan chilli made with sweet potato and beans and some surprising ingredients that add oomph and meatiness.

How can a vegetarian chilli have the same oomph as the meaty original? You have to pack in as much savoury flavour as possible. I raided the kitchen cupboards for this, finding anything with that rich umami flavour to add in to the mix.

I found dark beer, soy sauce, my old friend marmite and gravy granules. Yes, good old Bisto. It’s a tip I picked up from Jack Monroe, who uses it liberally for any stew that needs meat without the meat. It works perfectly to thicken the chilli and give it that certain richness we all need from a chilli. Most Bisto granules are vegetarian, even the chicken ones, but do check the labels.

I’d like to say you may have noticed that I haven’t blogged for a while, but you probably haven’t because next to no one has been on this website – least of all me! Rather than provide excuses as to why I haven’t blogged, let’s just talk about the recipe!

This chilli recipe makes four hefty portions. We had the second portion the next day, and it tastes even better. It also freezes perfectly, so it’s a great standby for busy days. Serve with whatever you like your chilli to have – we had it with tortilla chips, sour cream and guacamole. It would be awesome used as a nacho topping with cheese, jalapenos and salsa.

  • Olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tsps chilli powder (to taste)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 tin of black beans, drained
  • 1 tin of haricot beans, drained
  • 150ml dark beer
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400g)
  • 1 tsp marmite
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp smoked Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tbsp Bisto gravy granules (reduced salt is best)

Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottomed pan and then add in the onion. Fry for 3-5 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds, stirring regularly.

Add in the spices and stir into the onion mixture, fry for 1 minute until combined. Tip in the sweet potato and both tins of beans and stir well. Top up with the beer and chopped tomatoes, then stir in the marmite, soy sauce and gravy granules. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to the boil and then simmer on a medium/low for 30 minutes with the lid on, stirring every now and again. Then take the lid off and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Taste and add seasoning as you need it.

Serve immediately with your choice of fixings!

This tastes even better the next day, so it’s great make ahead dish. You can also freeze it once cool and store for up to 3 months.


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