Veggie on a Budget #1: Smoky Spicy Bean Chili


Ahhh, chili. Easily one of THE most comforting dishes out there. Anyone else agree? This is my SECOND chili recipe on the blog (the first was a Sweet Potato and Kidney Bean Chili) so you can tell it’s a favourite of mine! .

Since my veggie week you guys have been asking me (either by comments or messages on my Instagram posts) to share my favourite veggie-friendly recipes with you, and to share budget friendly recipes too! I’ve also had requests to share products I’ve found as good vegetarian protein alternatives, as well as where I find them! I am so excited to start sharing these with you and I plan to do a separate post on my favourite plant-based sources of protein in particular, as well as carbs and fats! So this recipe is the first of many ‘Veggie on a Budget’ meals! To be honest, pretty much all meal prep recipes I make and share are budget-friendly, but I’m excited to do special vegetarian-style ones for you. I’m a supermarket gal and my faves are Aldi, Tesco and Super Value!

In line with my transition towards increasingly vegetarian days/meals (in particular my work lunches, which I’ve been keeping meat-free since my vegetarian week), I wanted to take on a new chili recipe with my OWN faovurite mix of spices! I’ve been experimenting with lots of different vegetarian/vegan meat alternatives (tofu, tempeh, seitan, vegan/vegetarian-friendly sausages/burgers, and products like those from the brand Quorn), and recently I decided to try including Quorn ‘Mince’ and ‘Meatballs’ in my chili. And the result? A total taste and texture success! I loved the extra satiety the mince and meatballs added. You can absolutely leave it out either, especially if you want this to be a vegan-friendly recipe. The little hint of cacao powder is GOLDEN as well – do not omit!




  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp smokey paprika
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 bell peppers (aim for two different colours!)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 medium courgette
  • 2 400ml tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 400g tin of black beans
  • 1 400g tin of red kidney beans
  • 250g of Quorn ‘Mince’ (you can cook this from frozen, ideal!) or Quorn Meatballs
  • 300ml water +/- a little extra (I usually add water from rinsing the tomato tins!)


  1. Prepare your veggies first by chopping them up and setting them aside in small bowls.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot, and add the onions and garlic, and fry until the onions are translucent.
  3. Add all of the spices (except the cacao powder) to the onions and cook for another 3-4 minutes until coated.
  4. Add the carrots and peppers, stir again, then add the chopped tomatoes and water, and mix it all up until the veggies are fully coated in the spices – another 5-ish minutes.
  5. Next, its beans time! Add the kidney beans and black beans and stir again.
  6. Quorn time! Add the ‘mince’ or meatballs, whichever you’re using, and mix everything up for about 5 minutes until the mince is fully broken up into the chili. Add a little extra water at this time to ensure the solid ingredients are nearly covered by liquid.
  7. Add the cacao powder, a sprinkle of sea salt and a twist of black pepper, stir again and then turn the heat down to a simmer and cover the pot with a lid.
  8. Leave to simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring the chili 2-3 times during this period.
  9. If you’re serving this immediately, get preparing your side dish while the chili simmers! I love having this chili scooped on top of a baked sweet potato, or simply with a side of a grain like brown rice or quinoa! Alternatively if you’re going for a lighter meal its great with a side salad or courgetti too!
  10. Finally, I 100% recommend a spoonful of natural or greek yoghurt on top of this chili for the piece de resistance!


(Meatball-Style Chili with Avocado and Brown Rice)

Enjoy guys! I love using this recipe especially for meal prep for work – adding the Quorn mince/meatballs really packs in extra satiety and protein, and it’s proved perfect for meat-free work lunches for me! As I said above, chili is so versatile – an epic choice for a speedy dinner for you or a group of people! Tag me if you try this recipe out – @theirishbalance on Instagram or Twitter!

Ciara 🙂 x


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