Vegetarian Chilli & Jacket Potatos

I don’t eat mince meat, not for any belief or reason other than I despise the way beef mince smells when cooking, its always bothered me.

When I met my now husband nearly 10 years ago he was horrified, absolutely horrified that i made all mince dishes with Quorn or Soya Mince. Truthfully if i hadn’t told him I doubt he would have noticed.

The problem i have always faced is I love so many foods that are made with mince, I love lasagne, I love bolognase (particularly with garlic bread in both instances) and now I adore vegetable chilli. I make mine in the slow cooker, it doesn’t taste any different really but I love Love LOVE being able to switch it on first thing and have an easy dinner ready 8 hours later.

The recipe i have based my vegetable chilli on was actually from the NHS Change for Life. If you are not based in the UK the NHS is our wonderful health service who during 2020 have been the true soldiers of the pandemic and we are so grateful for each and every person that works for them.

But I digress… this recipe doesn’t seem to be part of the change for life campaign any more which is such a shame as I think it is a fantastic starting recipe and it makes about 8 portions. I make a huge batch and freeze it and then make all sorts of dishes, all of which will feature on this blog throughout the year.

The below recipe is my adaptation of the NHS Change for Life recipe. I have upped the quantities on some ingredients and substituted part of the mince for red lentils to bulk out the chilli to save on costs.

200g Soya Mince / Quorn Mince – £1.34
100g Dried Red Lentils – £0.23
2 Small Onions – £0.18
2 Large Carrots – £0.17
300g of Frozen Peppers – £0.43
800g chopped tinned tomatos – £0.56
4 tbsp tomato puree -£0.13
1 tbsp lazy garlic – £0.07
1 tbsp lazy chilli – £0.07
400g tin of Kidney Beans – drained £0.30
1 x vegetable stock cube -£0.03
100ml Boiling Water
1 tsp Mixed chilli flakes £0.10
Generous helping of Black Pepper – £0.10

1 x Baking Potato per person – £0.25
20g Cheddar Cheese per person – £0.09

Total Vegetable Chilli Cost – £3.71

Price per portion of Chilli – £0.46
Price with a Jacket potato – £0.71
Price with a Jacket Potato & Cheese – £0.80

1) Peel and chop the Onions and Carrots. If you have a food processor, I pop mine in and give it a couple of 5 second blasts to chop properly. If you don’t have a food processor have no fear! Just finely chop the onion and then chop the carrots so they are all roughly the same size.

2) In a pan, cook the lentils as per the instructions on the packet.

3) In a separate pan heat a splash of olive oil and fry the onions, after a couple of minutes add the lazy chilli and garlic. Fry for a minute or so.

4) Boil the kettle, measure 100ml in a cup and add the stock cube – stir until disolved

5) Add the frozen mince, frozen peppers to the onions and, garlic and chilli and give it a good stir. Add the drained kidney beans, tinned tomatos, tomato puree, cooked lentils and vegetable stock. Mix thoroughly.

6) Bring the contents of the pan to the boil and then turn down to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 25/30 minutes stirring occasionally.

7) When the timer has gone off give the chilli a final stir, season to taste add a few more chilli flakes for good measure and the chilli is ready to be served.

Note – if serving with a jacket potato, I like to nuke mine in the microwave for 10 minutes (remembering to stab your potato with a fork before it goes in!) And then I put in a hot oven for around 45 minutes to 1 hour to get the skin nice and crispy, if I am feeling adventurous I drizzle with a bit of oil and sprinkle over garlic salt and black pepper before it goes in the oven.

If you are pressed for time or don’t particularly like a crispy spud… I hear some people don’t… a microwaved spud with certainly do.

Please remember costs are rough estimates and these will change depending on time of year or where you shop. Where possible supermarket own foods are used for costing purposes.

I hope you enjoy reading the blog and trying out these recipes. If so please give me a like on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and don’t forget to sign up on our contact us page for updates to the blog!

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