Mushroom & Lentil Vegan Chilli

Chilli has to be my all time favourite dish. The recipe took me a while to get right but even the most devout meat eaters agree that this is good!
My uncle had the first Mexican restaurant in Soho, London called La Cucaracha. We used to go there regularly as children, it was the coolest place. A basement in Soho full of character, Mexican music and food to die for. I loved their chocolate chilli con carne served with hot tomato salsa and guacamole. Yes Mexicans put raw cacao in their chilli! My version of course is plant based but it has all of the authentic Mexican herbs and spices. The trick is to cook it slowly to give the spices a chance to develop and become really aromatic.


  • 1 large red onion 
  • 2 cloves of garlic 
  • 8 chestnut mushrooms
  • 1/2 small red pepper, diced
  • 200g red lentils (soaked for 1 hour and rinsed)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cube of vegetable stock 
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cans of red kidney beans (rinsed)
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika 
  • 1 tsp chilli powder 
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • 2 tsp cumin powder 
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder 
  • freshly ground pepper 
  • water


  1. Chop the onion and fry until soft then add garlic.
  2. Place a little more oil in with the onions and add all the powdered herbs and spices. Cook for a minute.
  3. Chop up the mushrooms and add to the onions. Stir and cook until they release their juices. Add the diced red pepper, veg stock, salt and pepper.
  4. Rinse the red lentils and kidney beans and place in the saucepan. Now add the cans of tomatoes and enough water to cover all ingredients and a little more. Place on a low heat on the hob and cook for one hour. 
  5. You may need to add more water if the liquid evaporates. 
  6. The chilli is even nicer the next day when all the spices mature in flavour.
  7. Serve with basmati rice and salad. I love guacamole so always have some on the side.


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