Vegetarian Chilli Con Carne with black beans, quinoa and plenty of veggies. A simple one-pot dish and perfect for beginners! It the world’s best vegetarian chili recipe!
What is the first meal you cooked when you first moved out of home?
Mine was Chilli Con Carne. I had never tasted it before, not that I remember. After living out of home for 2 months and living of canned potato salad, I was determined to learn how to cook and FAST!
In the seasoning pre-packaged meals aisle of Woolworths, I spent an hour deciding what dish to prepare. Photographs on the front of the spice mixes promised simple sophisticated meals filled with flavour. After mixing the spices with some onion, carrots and water you would have dinner!
After indecisively looking at the options, I selected Chilli Con Carne. Proudly, I took the packet home and prepared my first bowl. After taking my first mouthful, I was overwhelmed with delight. The recipe ticked all my boxes. It was delicious and Oh so perfect! Cooking, it seemed, wasn’t all that difficult after all!
Chilli Con Carne was everything.
- Being a one-pot meal, it was easy and simple to prepare.
- It was SO delicious and adaptable to different meals.
- It was freezable.
I added Chilli Con Carne to my repertoire and prepared it every week. I eventually became confident and learned how to create my own spice and seasoning recipe. I changed the ratios of vegetables and discovered how to make chili vegetarian, vegan and even gluten free! With time, the recipe became my own.
What I love about this recipe is that it’s a one-pot meal. It’s easy to adapt into other recipes like nachos and burritos. Most importantly, it’s completely delicious!
The Best Vegetarian Chilli Tips:
Chilli Con Carne, also known as “Chili” depending on your country of origin, is a stew containing chili, typically meat, tomatoes and beans. Spices vary from recipe to recipe, however, most recipes include paprika, cumin, garlic and coriander.
Despite the original name meaning “chilli with meat”, there are various no meat chilli recipes. Also known as “Chilli Sin Carne”, these meatless alternatives can include tofu, lentils or quorn mince.
In this recipe, I used quinoa as it’s high in protein and no pre-soaking is required like lentils.
With a little help of an easy homemade Chilli Con Carne seasoning, your Chilli will be infused with gorgeous, complex and rich flavours. The most typical chilli con carne spice mix is made up of your latin-based aromatics like onions and garlic. Followed by chilli, smoked paprika and cumin.
It is important to trust your taste and change the recipe to make the dish your own. Experiment with other herbs and spices like coriander, raw cocoa or even oregano. Lastly, limit the amount of salt for a low sodium chilli seasoning recipe.
A little tip from the iconic Nigella Lawson is to add a small amount of dark chocolate. Not only does dark chocolate balance the acidity from tomatoes, it also adds body and depth to the dish taking it up a notch!
The perfect meatless replacement for Chili is lentils, chickpeas, tofu or even quorn mince. My preference is to add quinoa. It adds a beautiful texture, while being equally high in protein and filled with other nutrients.
There are so many different meals you can prepare from a simple Chilli recipe.
Make the recipe your own by serving it with sweet potato, mushrooms, butternut squash, rice or even wrapped up in a burrito with some feta!
You can freeze Vegetarian Chilli Con Carne. To get the best texture and flavours from the meal, it’s recommended you freeze no longer than 6 months.
Chilli Con Carne Hints:
PLAN AHEAD to cook your dry black beans in advance. Cooked dry beans are tastier than the canned equivalent. I guarantee that you’ll never return to the canned variety once you’ve prepared them from scratch!
To help out, I have a post which outlines How To Cook Black Beans.
DOUBLE THE RECIPE to freeze portions for another day or for another meal.
WASTE NOT and finely chop the coriander stalks, distributing it in the mix. Trust me, it will make the flavours pop!
PLAY with flavours and textures by adding different herbs and aromatics like citrus zest, feta cheese or tortilla chips for a greater crunch!
Vegetarian Chilli Con Carne with Black Beans and Quinoa
Vegetarian Chilli Con Carne
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 red capsicum seeds removed, cut into cubes
- 2 Coriander sprigs washed, sprigs finely chopped, leaves put aside for garnish
- 1 cup tri-colour quinoa rinsed under water
- ¾ cups dry black beans cooked (or 2 x 400g can of black beans)
- 600 ml filtered water
- 400 g canned whole Italian tomatoes
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper*
- 1/2 tsp raw cocoa powder
- 1 tsp salt
- Brown rice cooked as per packet instructions
- Natural yogurt (or vegan equivalent)
- Cilantro leaves to garnish
- Avocado, cubed
- In a medium-sized pot, heat extra virgin olive oil over a medium heat. Add the red onion and cook for approximately 2 minutes or until the onions are clear. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Stir through the cubed capsicum, chopped coriander stalks and Chilli Seasoning. While stirring occassionally, cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Stir through the quinoa, black beans, canned whole Italian tomatoes and 600ml of filtered water. Bring to a gentle simmer, stir occassionally, and cook for 30 minutes until the quinoa is el dente. (If the beans and quinoa soak up too much of the liquid, add an additional splash of water)
- Serve on some fluffy brown rice with a dollop of yogurt and cilantro leaves to garnish! Bon Appètit! 🙂
Equipment: This recipe may contain links to products and equipment that I use and love myself. The links may contain affiliate links, meaning if you click the link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you.
Nutrition: The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and does not include any other condiments or garnishes. Although Curated Life Studio attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered as estimates and do not replace or substitute a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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Hey There, I’m Kylie. My passion is plant-based recipes and I want to help you create something gorgeous!
I believe in taking a slow approach to food – to eat locally, seasonally and consciously.
When I’m not taking photos, you can find me wandering the coastal paths of South-East Australia.