Big batch vegetarian chilli

Batch cooking is one of the best ways to keep costs down and you don’t have to lose out on flavour just because you’re on a budget. I regularly make up a big pot of vegetarian chilli which I freeze and then cook with other ingredients to bulk out the meals.

Using this recipe as a base you can add anything you fancy. Try adding roasted vegetables such as butternut squash, courgettes or carrots. Serve with mango chutney and cucumber in yoghourt on a pile of rice. Sprinkle over some fresh coriander and/or toasted pumpkin seeds, just before serving.

This recipe is so easy and is about as cheap as you can get. I buy ‘basics’ tins from Sainsburys or stock up with lots of tins of tomatoes and kidney beans when I shop at Aldi, which I do every other week or so.

I think the key to making any chilli is to use lots of different chillies/spices – depending what you have in stock – you get a better flavour that way. You can control the level of heat you want with the quantities of the spices or by whether or not you include the chilli seeds, (which will make the chilli hotter).

Of course you could add mince to the mixture too – it doesn’t have to be a vegetarian dish. Just brown the mince and add to the defrosted chilli sauce and cook for about 40 minutes.

These quantities make about six servings, so double (or treble!) for a really big batch.


2 x tins of tomatoes
4 x tins of kidney beans
2 large onions
2 x garlic cloves
2 or 3 chillies
2 x bay leaves
Tablespoon cumin
Tablespoon chilli flakes
Teaspoon hot chilli powder
Tablespoon tomato paste
Teaspoon tabasco (optional)
Salt and pepper
Teaspoon olive oil


1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onions for about five minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, cumin and all the hot stuff (fresh chillies, chilli powder, flakes and Tabasco). Cook gently for about five minutes.

2. Add the tinned tomatoes then rinse each tin with water from a recently boiled kettle and add to the pot. Cook for about 10 minutes.

3. At this point I like to blend everything with a hand blender because it gives a lovely smooth sauce, but you could just brake up the tomatoes with a spoon.

4. Add the drained and rinsed kidney beans to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 25 minutes. Serve if you are eating a portion straight away or leave to cool and then ladle into containers for freezing.

Blend the sauce
With prawns & coriander
Ready to freeze

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