What I love about cooking this easy chilli bean recipe is that you can use it in so many ways. Make it hot and spicy for chilli lovers or mild and aromatic.
Serve with gluten free wraps one day and with rice the next. Use the leftovers (if there are any!) to make a quick soup, or full of flavour as part of a Buddha bowl.
I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t like this chilli bean recipe – oh, I do know someone who doesn’t eat beans, but then I just make this recipe with lots of vegetables, without beans and use tofu instead.
If you’re new to being vegan, you might find beans a bonus in your diet. I love them and never get bored of eating beans. And, like chickpeas, they provide a great source of plant protein, which is something you can keep in mind when first switching to a vegan diet.
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Health Benefits of Including Beans in Your Diet
Beans are a high fibre food, meaning they are digested slowly without causing a spike in blood sugar levels and being a great food for anyone who is type 2 diabetic. They may even help to lower blood sugar levels and prevent someone from developing diabetes (type 2).
High fibre foods are also excellent for including in a weight management diet, as they make you feel fuller, therefore reducing the appetite and helping towards weight loss.
Beans are especially helpful for promoting a healthy gut, though some people do have issues with bloating after eating beans and there are also people with allergy to beans so they are not necessarily suitable for everyone.
Beans are a great source of protein (which we look into below) and are so versatile, they make excellent inclusion for a plant based diet. As well as protein, they’re rich in antioxidants, and antioxidants in turn are responsible for keeping free radicals under control.
Free radicals cause cell damage and too many free radicals are associated with inflammatory disease and ageing, so it’s important to include a good source of antioxidants in your diet.
In fact, the antioxidants in beans are thought to reduce the risk of cancer due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
Beans as a Vegan Protein Source
Protein is essential for repairing our bodies and growing muscle, as well as being useful in a weight loss management program as it fills you up more and keeps hunger levels low while reducing the likelihood of cravings.
It’s one of the most repeated topics out there: whether a vegan can get enough protein, and where from.
Well, to the first question, yes, vegans can get, not only enough protein, but also from a healthier source than meat and dairy. And for the second question, it is a post in its own rights, but in brief, vegans can source protein from beans, chickpeas, tofu, tempeh, nuts & quinoa to name just a few sources.
In fact, all types of peas and beans offer a great source of vegan protein, from kidney beans, pinto beans, soy beans and lentils too. Beans & legumes are a great source of plant protein, which is low saturated fats, unlike the meat or dairy protein source.
Amino Acids are the Building Blocks of Protein
Protein is made up of 20 amino acids, 9 of which can’t be made by our bodies and which are therefore called essential amino acids as we have to eat them in order to get them. We can’t produce them as we can the other 11 amino acids.
So what are the essential amino acids called?
The 9 Essential Amino Acids
Of all the beans, soy is the only one that contains all the 9 essential amino acids, making it a source of complete protein. But the other beans can be combined with rice (among other things) to complete the amino acid profile and provide all 9 of the essential amino acids.
Beans are low in methionine high in lysine while rice is high in lysine and low in methionine so they combine perfectly to give you a great plant based source of complete protein.
It used to be believed that you need to consume them all at the same meal, but you can actually get all the essential amino acids throughout the day by eating a variety of foods.
(And if you eat the beans with quinoa, quinoa in itself is also a complete protein.)
The Importance of Cooking Beans Properly
Beans contain a compound called lectin, which is toxic to the human body. Kidney beans have the highest concentration of lectin but all beans contain lectin. It’s thought that the lectin acts to protect the bean from being eaten – like a kind of built-in insect repellent that also repels animals as they can smell the lectin.
We humans can’t smell it, see it or taste it, yet it can be extremely toxic and cause extreme and severe vomiting and diarrhoea as your body tries to eliminate the toxin.
Therefore, it’s extremely important to cook dried beans properly. First of all, be sure to soak them overnight and then discard the water and use fresh water to boil the beans.
Boiling the beans destroys the lectin but eating partially cooked beans can still be dangerous so it’s important to cook them until soft and property cooked.
It takes time and planning to cook dried beans properly. An alternative is to buy jars or tins of ready cooked beans, which I find convenient and tasty.
Vegan Chilli-Sin-Carne Recipe with Beans
I hope you enjoy this easy chilli bean recipe, to serve with rice or wraps or quinoa, hot or mild, juicy or more dry, however you like it.
You can adapt this easy chilli bean recipe to suit your moment and the added bonus is that it doesn’t take long to prepare. Plus, it’s a pretty safe bet if you’re cooking for other people. Jazz it up or jazz it down, it’s nice either way.
For me, this recipe is right up there among my favourites when cooking for other people, along with Nasi rice, Bami noodles, stuffed eggplant, eggplant parmesan and eggplant curry.
How to Make this Easy Chilli Bean Recipe
Finely chop an onion, 3 cloves of garlic and 1 piece of fresh chilli and fry in a little olive oil.
Next add some finely chopped courgette and a generous teaspoon of cumin powder. If you love cumin like I do, you can add even more.
Add some finely chopped red pepper and some oregano and salt.
Next come sliced mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms have shrunk and are cooked through. Add a jar of chilli beans, borlotti beans, kidney beans, black beans or other bean of your choice.
Stir fry for a few minutes before combining the 4 chopped tomatoes and heating through. Cook for a few minutes to reduce the tomatoes, taste the mixture and add some tomato passata to taste. Add a little bit of water and heat through.
If you’re cooking in advance, now’s the time to turn off the heat and cover the food until you’re getting ready to eat. When you’re ready to carry on, heat the chilli beans and do the taste check.
Serve with rice, quinoa, gluten free wraps or anything that takes your fancy! And as always, I love to have some cashew nut sauce on the side!
So here’s the concise version of the recipe. Go ahead and play around with it to make it how you like it. I’m sure you’ll re-make this time and time again; it’s so quick and easy and tasty.
Easy Chilli Bean RecipeCourse: Main courseCuisine: Mexican InspiredDifficulty: Easy
Make this chilli bean recipe spicier or milder, juicier or dryer, however takes your fancy. Delicious every time!
1 jar/tin borlotti beans (or others of choice: kidney beans, black beans. . .)
3 cloves garlic
1 piece of fresh chilli (to suit preference)
1 chopped onion
1 chopped red pepper
1 chopped zucchini
4 sliced mushrooms
4 chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon cumin powder
Oregano to taste
2 tbs Olive oil for cooking
- Fry the onion, garlic and chilli in a little olive oil.
- Add a little salt and a teaspoon of cumin.
- Add the chopped courgette, then after a moment the chopped, red pepper, and heat for a few minutes. Finally add the mushrooms.
- When the mushrooms are cooked, add the beans and fry in the mixture for a few minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes and stirring through.
- Allow the whole lot to cook until the tomatoes begin to lose their shape. Pour in a little water and 2 teaspoons of tomato purée, or to taste.
- You can turn it off and leave it to infuse the flavour, or you can serve it immediately. I always like to cook it in advance and then re-heat.
- Always do the taste test to check the flavour. You can add extra chilli, water, soy sauce, salt, pepper, herbs, or whatever flavour you prefer.