*Schwartz sent me the chilli flakes featured for review, but all views and words are my own.*
Probably one of the first vegan meals anyone thinks of is vegan chilli and for a long while this was usually the standard option when eating out as a vegan, if there was an option on a menu at all!
Of course there are numerous vegan meals out there nowadays and restaurants are beginning to offer entire vegan meals, but before this plant-based revolution kicked in over the past few years, the prime vegan option was pretty much just a vegan chilli. Or a side salad and chips!
Luckily eating out is incredible for a vegan nowadays, in most places, as veganism is soaring. There are more options than vegan chilli (or nothing at all) and people are realising that all sorts of wonderful colourful and delicious meals can be made without the use of meat or dairy.
But, that’s not to say the humble vegan chilli should be forgotten!
In fact, it still remains one of the most delicious vegan meals out there and is one of my favourites. It’s also really quick and easy to make a vegan chilli so it’s perfect when you’re short on time, but still want a delicious warming and nutritious meal.
It’s also perfect when your fresh food is running out. You can make a tasty chilli using cupboard only ingredients that have a long shelf life. So long as you always keep some tins of lentils, beans and chopped tomatoes in your cupboard and chilli flakes on your spice rack, then you always have a chilli to hand!
These are the sorts of cupboard staples we always have hanging around as they are so versatile for so many vegan meals, so we always have the option to make a chilli whenever we fancy.
Health benefits of crushed chilli flakes
I type this as I’m eating the delicious bowlful of chilli you see featured in this blog post. To put it politely, it’s blowing my head off!
This vegan chilli is super-hot, which is just how I like it.
Often when cooking for the children we have to ensure everything is mild, but right now it’s the middle of the day and I have made this for lunch (and saved a portion for tomorrow too). The children are at school so I added a lot of chilli flakes!
Chilli flakes, such as the Schwartz crushed chillies I have used for this recipe, are great if you love to add some extra heat to your meals and like spicy foods. But, did you know they also have some health benefits?
Traditionally they have been used to help digestion, as well as add that much loved spicy kick to food. Here’s a look at the health benefits of chilli powder and crushed chilli flakes:
- They do contain some vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C, B6, K1, potassium and copper. But, they are eaten in such small amounts that they do not really contribute to your daily intake.
- They are also high in antioxidant plant compounds such as carotenoids and capsaicin (which give the chilli its hot taste). Antioxidants are widely known for their numerous health benefits.
- The capsaicin can help with pain relief such as heartburn and osteoarthritis pain.
- The antioxidant capsaicin can fight inflammation. In animal tests it has been shown to significantly reduce inflammation caused by arthritis. It is being studied as a treatment for humans for arthritis, psoriasis and diabetic neuropathy.
- According to a study published in the journal “Cancer Research” 2006, capsaicin can prevent prostate cancer cells from multiplying and can even destroy them.
- There are mixed studies about whether chilli flakes boost metabolism, but it’s widely used as a benefit of chilli on the internet. There is evidence to suggest that adding chilli to meals can speed up fat burning and may reduce appetite to aid weight loss.
- It can help with winter colds and blocked noses as the peppery heat can stimulate secretions to help clear congestion.
Quick and easy one-pot vegan chilli recipe
One of the very best things about vegan chilli is just how quick and easy it can be made using cupboard staples. It’s a great emergency meal that can be made when all your fresh food has run out, but you have some tins of beans and tomatoes in the cupboard.
It’s also a great washing-up saver as it can easily be made in one pot!
As well as being quick and easy, it’s also a versatile meal. You can bulk it up with lentils, use whichever beans you like and go crazy with some extra spices.
I rarely make two batches of chilli exactly the same as I simply use whatever needs using up in the cupboard, or whatever we have available.
Today I will share with you my chilli recipe from today that was absolutely delicious and very warming on this cold, wet and miserable December day.
This recipe makes four portions of chilli to serve with rice, a jacket potato, or as a topping on chunky rustic wedges. Or it makes three good sized portions to eat a bowlful by itself.
- 1x tin chopped tomatoes
- ½ tin green lentils
- ½ tin black beans
- ½ tin kidney beans
- A few sundried tomatoes chopped into tiny pieces
- Generous sprinkle of crushed chillies (I used Schwartz which you can purchase here: https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/257507670)
- A dash of balsamic vinegar
- A sprinkle of paprika
- A sprinkle of ground black pepper
- A sprinkle of onion powder
- A sprinkle of chilli powder
Simply drain the water from the tinned beans and lentils, then pop all the ingredients into one pot, mix together and heat gently.
Add a sprinkle of chilli flakes as garnish to serve.
The addition of balsamic vinegar and chopped sundried tomatoes really adds more depth to the flavour of the dish. The onion powder adds a moreish sweetness.
This is by far one of the tastiest chilli dishes I have made and I’ll be recreating this one for sure!
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