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  • Writer's pictureCallum Weir

Comforting High Protein Easy Plant-Based Chilli

Updated: Dec 28, 2020

When you think of chilli, you think of texture, an explosion of flavour, an abundance of spices that light up your taste-buds when that first mouthful hits the tip of your tongue. Chilli is a worldwide winter warmer that is bound to get you through the cold nights, with such a warming and exuberant food personality and a beautifully rich aroma, which when left to sit for hours, overnight or days, the nature and flavour thrives and becomes stronger and flavourful than the moments before.

Chilli is one of my family's favourites, becoming a staple to our diet every week in the winter months, whilst sitting down in front of the fire, creating conversation and watching numerous shows on TV, in a bid not to leave the house when the temperature drops. This beautifully thick textured chilli became a comfort food for us.

Have I been guilty of eating this chilli every day for the next 2 days after the initial cook? Absolutely! I normally create more than the family can eat on the night we sit and feast, so I can take the evermore growing flavour with me into work, creating jealousy between members of staff when the aroma fills the office space, as I sit down and tuck into a delightful dish, with others peering over while they tuck into their Tesco meal deals.

While this is comfort food, it also includes most of the essential nutrients and minerals your body needs, in one serving (this recipe serves 4) this meal rounds off at 399 calories. The lentils, black beans and tofu create a very high-quality protein index, with all 9 amino acids being introduced to your system to help maintain and build muscle.

Although the carb content may seem high at 60.75g, I can assure you these are not the carbs to be scared of. In fact, it's quite the opposite! These are complex carbs which are a natural source of energy and will allow the body to optimise and function to the best of its ability, creating a great power source if you were to eat this before working out. With this in mind, the fat content which is relatively low in this dish (8.3g) is also a nutrient not to be avoided. Although in the past fat has been shied away from due to misinformation in the media, fats are essential for the body. Without any fat at all, our bodies would not be able to function, leading to deficiencies and illness. Luckily the ingredients in this meal are naturally occurring fats, which do nothing but allow the body to thrive.

I will list the exact minerals and nutrients your body will receive from this meal at the bottom, the main list will be in an infographic format, with a more in-depth list below.

I would love to share with you my recipe, so when winter rolls around this recipe can also rotate this meal into your diet, warming your souls and creating great conversation with your family and friends.

Although this recipe does not include meat, you will get the great texture and taste that any meat-based chilli can provide you with. It is incredibly flavourful and with the right ingredients you won't be left hungry after those last few mouthfuls. Below are all the ingredients and measurements needed to provide you with the most fulfilling chilli and taste experience to comfort and nourish your body.

Ingredients needed

  • 1 tbsp of Olive Oil 

  • 1 large Red Onion - finely chopped 

  • 400g Chestnut Mushrooms - finely chopped 

  • 3 cloves of Garlic - minced 

  • 150g of firm Tofu - pressed and crumbled

  • 1 tsp of Salt 

  • 1 tsp of Black Pepper

  • 2 tsp of Paprika

  • 2 tsp of Chilli Powder

  • 2 tsp of Cumin 

  • 3 tins of Chopped Tomatoes

  • 1 tin of Black Beans - drained

  • 1 tin of Green Lentils - drained 

  • A generous handful of spinach

  • 2 tsp of Balsamic Vinegar

The spices listed above are for my level of spice, but you can add less or more depending on how well you can handle heat. But I do encourage you to be as generous with the spice to get the best warmth and flavour and profile possible.

After the cutting and chopping of the vegetables, this recipe comes together on its own. There isn't much preparation unlike other chilli recipes, so you'll find that the majority of this recipe will be simmering whilst you can relax, getting up once in a while to give the ingredients a good stir in the pot.

This for me is one of the simplest recipes that I have readily available. It isn't overly complicated, it just takes some time to allow the ingredients to texturise, and for the flavours to come through.

Step by step guide:

Serves: 4

Prep time: 5 Minutes. Cook time: 30-40 minutes.

  • Pour the olive oil into a pan and turn on to medium heat.

  • Finely cut the red onion, garlic and mushrooms. Add to the pan, and stir until soft and golden. 

  • Add in the three tins of chopped tomatoes, mixing with the onions, garlic and mushrooms.

  • Open the tinned lentils and black beans and drain away the liquid. Once drained, stir these into the mixture.

  • Proceed by crumbling the tofu with your hands or fork, until it creates a crumb-like texture, to the mixture, and stir in thoroughly.

  • Add in the spinach, stirring until the it has wilted to half the size.

  • Time to season! Add in the salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, chilli powder and balsamic vinegar, stir and allow all the flavours to soak into all the other ingredients.

  • Cover the pan so that the chilli can simmer on a low heat for half an hour until the mixture has thickened. The longer you leave it simmering, the more flavour it will take on.

  • Stir occasionally to ensure none of the ingredients stick to the bottom of the pan.

  • When there is no longer a watery residue left over from the tomatoes, the chilli is ready to be served. (Dependant on your hob this process may be quicker or longer than this method states).

  • Plate up, serve and enjoy.

I would like to point out that I do not eat the plant-based chilli on its own (although I could!), I do like to partner this dish with sides.

My main go-to sides are as follows:

  • Wholegrain rice 

  • Kale with a Chilli drizzle

  • Avocado

  • A slightly toasted Wholemeal wrap (for dipping)

These are of course what I recommend, but you can add anything you would like as a side.

If you do decide to recreate this recipe, make sure to share your pictures on Instagram by tagging or use the hashtag #yumfu

Peace and plants 🌱


Trans-Fats 0g

Monounsaturated Fat 2.8g

Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1g

B1 (Thiamine) 0.27mg

B2 (Riboflavin) 0.1mg

B3 (Niacin) 1.25mg

B5 (Pantothenic Acid) 0.35mg

B6 (Pyridoxine) 0.27mg

B12 (Cobalamin) 0ug

Folate 145.9ug

Vitamin A 967 IU

Vitamin C 3.37mg

Vitamin D 200IU

Vitamin E 1.37mg

Vitamin K 5.2ug

Copper 0.27mg

Magnesium 65.07mg

Manganese 0.7mg

Phosphorus 171.7mg

Potassium 523.8mg

Selenium 3.8ug

Sodium 558.2mg

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