Lentil and Black Bean Chilli – Feed 4 for £6

I’ve never much been a fan of chilli cone carne; I’ll eat it but usually it’s a bit harsh and acidic for me because of the tinned tomatoes and I’m not that keen on kidney beans. However, I love the principal of it; plenty of chilli, spice and flavour and I’ve been working on my own version for a while. I think I’ve cracked it. My Lentil and Black Bean Chilli has all the same flavour but none of the meat; I promise, you won’t miss the minced beef at all. I’ve said this is enough for four but actually it’s probably enough for six and it’s amazing with homemade guacamole and plenty of rice.

Lentil and Bean Chilli - All That I'm Eating (1 of 2)You will need:

  • 2 onions, finely diced £0.20
  • 2 peppers, finely diced £0.66
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed £0.05
  • 2 chillies, chopped £0.30
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika £0.09
  • 2 tsp ground cumin £0.10
  • 600ml hot vegetable stock £0.20
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes £0.78
  • 4 tbsp sundried tomato paste £0.50
  • 1 tsp dried oregano £0.05
  • 2 tsp sugar £0.05
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree £0.12
  • 2 cans green lentils, drained and washed £1.00
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and washed £1.50
  • Salt and pepper £0.02

Total cost £5.62 – if you used dried lentils and beans and soak them overnight it would be cheaper. Serve with rice, baked potatoes or nachos, whichever you prefer!

Fry the onion and pepper in a little oil in a large saucepan for around 15 minutes or until softened.

Add the garlic, chilli, paprika and cumin and cook for two minutes.

Add the vegetable stock, tomatoes, sundried tomato paste, oregano, sugar, tomato paste and salt and pepper. Bring the pan to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.

Finally add the beans and lentils and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

This is great served straight from the pan as the lentil and bean mixture has a lovely texture but if you keep some to have for the next day it’s really good and a little bit thicker.

Lentil and Bean Chilli - All That I'm Eating (2 of 2)This wasn’t originally meant to be a vegetarian chilli, indeed, version one contained smoked bacon (which is well worth the addition if you fancy it) but as it was so tasty and filling without adding beef mince I didn’t see the point in putting it back in. I love how cheap this is to make; it’s a fantastic store cupboard recipe that uses all sorts of cans that are inexpensive to buy. If you’re a bit sceptical about whether you’d enjoy the lentils instead of the beef I fed this to my Dad who is very much a ‘meal without meat isn’t a meal’ kind of person and it got the full thumbs up from him. And that’s a good enough seal of approval for me.


  1. Michal Vilimovsky says

    Great recipe. I like chilli and lentils and I shall definitely try it out. I just retweeted it to share it with more people, if you don´t mind. Keep up your great work!

  2. says

    Flavours sound glorious Caroline! Hearty and gutsy and yes I agree you don’t really need the meat in this case. Also love how frugal this is. A great one to bookmark x

  3. says

    I find if you cook the chilli on low for about an hour you lose the acidicy canned taste from the tomatoes. My mum used to make chilli for years and I hated it !! But I found a way to make it that I really enjoy. It’s such a good dish 🙂

  4. says

    I am not an expert with chilly con carne. I have made it just 3 or 4 times altogether. Having said that, I love it! I am interested in your meat free version here. I am trying to eat less meat now especially now that it is spring and we look for lighter and fresher dishes. Thank you for your recipe I am bookmarking it.

  5. says

    I used to always think chili was too heavy until I tried a vegetarian recipe and kind of “got it” after that. love your lentil and black bean version and I know I wouldn’t miss the meat. Love a hearty, nutritious, inexpensive meal like this. It’s great to make a big batch and enjoy leftovers, too.

  6. says

    such a wonderful chilli and lentil version makes us smile cause we are vegetarians…this would make a favorite wholesome,delicious and flavorful supper at home…loved the color of this stew as well…a beautiful recipe,thanks 🙂


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