A hearty, healthy meal for Veganuary

Who doesn’t enjoy a good chilli? Packed with rich, smoky flavours, there are few meals so comforting, warming and satisfying for a midweek family meal or weekend treat in front of the TV. Not only is it easy to make, it’s also perfect for making in bulk and freezing.

If you’re doing Veganuary but don’t yet have a stockpile of recipes, chilli is a great one to try. There are as many recipes for plant-based chillis as there are vegetables, but this one is super-tasty (and see the top tips to make it super-speedy, too!) and doesn’t rely on meat substitutes. We’ve used vegan cheese both as a topping and to mix in to the chilli itself for extra indulgence (we recommend Asda’s free-from mature cheddar or Applewood’s smoked vegan cheese).


  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Preparation: 10 min
  • Servings: 4-6
  • Cost: Medium
For the roasted butternut squash
  • Butternut squash: 1
  • Olive oil: ½ tbsp
  • Cayenne pepper or smoked paprika: ½ tsp
  • Cumin: ½ tsp
  • Seasoning: to taste
For the chilli
  • Vegetable oil: 1 tbsp
  • Onion: 1 (red or white), diced
  • Garlic: 4 cloves, crushed or finely chopped
  • Cumin: 1½ tbsp
  • Smoked paprika: 1½ tbsp
  • Black beans: 2 cans (800g), drained and rinsed
  • Red kidney beans, pinto beans or mixed beans: 1 can (400g), drained and rinsed
  • Chopped tomatoes or passata: 1 can (400g)
  • Chipotle paste: 3 tbsp
  • Vegetable stock: 1 cube dissolved in 350ml boiling water
  • Lime: 2 (1 juiced, 1 cut into wedges)
  • Coriander: 10g, roughly chopped
  • Vegan cheese: 120g, grated
  • Mint: 20g, leaves chopped
  • Spring onions: 4, sliced
  • Coconut yogurt: 200g
Pre-heat the oven to 220˚C/200˚C fan/400˚F/Gas mark 6. Halve the butternut squash lengthways 1, then scoop out the seeds with a spoon, peel and chop into 1-inch pieces 2. Put on a baking tray with a drizzle of oil, the cayenne or paprika, cumin and seasoning and toss until coated. Bake for 20-25min, until tender 3. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Once hot, fry the onion for 4-5 minutes or until softened 4. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then add the smoked paprika and cumin and stir for 30 seconds. (If the pan looks a little dry, add a further drizzle of oil.) Add the chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5-6 minutes, then add your drained, rinsed beans, lime juice, stock and chipotle paste and bring the mixture to the boil. Cook at a simmer for a further 5 minutes, then use a potato masher to lightly crush some of the beans. Keep stirring until the mashed and whole beans reach a rich, thickened consistency 5. Stir through the coriander and a third of the cheese until well combined. Serve topped with the roasted butternut squash, chopped mint, sliced spring onions and remaining cheese, and the lime wedges to garnish. The coconut yoghurt goes well as a dollop on top or to the side for dipping 6!
☑  To reduce cooking time, you can leave out the squash and still have a delicious meal. You could also replace the garlic with garlic paste when you cook the spices (around 1½ tbsp, according to taste), and use tomato frito or passata flavoured with onion and garlic to replace the onion and chopped tomatoes. Another swap for extra ease is using pre-prepared butternut squash, either fresh or frozen!
☑  If you don’t have any squash, you can use roasted sweet potato instead (use the same seasoning, but roast for 45 min to 1 hour at 200˚C).
☑  If you miss the texture of mince in your chilli, simply cut down on the number of beans and add some minced meat substitute. Add to the pan after the spices and fry for 5 minutes before adding the tomatoes. You won’t need to mash any of the beans in this case.
The beauty of chilli is its versatility. You could serve with rice, use as a hearty jacket potato filling, or simply warm some tortillas (the wraps or the chips!) and have some fantastic finger food. Sliced avocado (or guacamole) and salad make great accompaniments for any of these options.
If you’re still struggling to find plant-based recipes that don’t take too much effort, check out EAT.PLNT’s fabulous range. We recommend the Spinach and Chickpea curry– yum!