Making a meatless chilli con carne is surprisingly simple; replacing beef or pork with grains like lentils and quinoa makes for a deliciously light, yet rich and filling meal. You might be thinking it's not going to fool you or the meat eater in your life, but I promise when you serve it up with a spicy smoky corn salsa and all the other accompaniments, nobody will have any complaints!


  • 1 tblsp coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 celery stick, finely diced
  • Large thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tblsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 tblsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 tblsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 250g quinoa
  • 250g puy lentils
  • 2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes
  • 1 l vegetable stock
  • 1 x 400g tin kidney beans, drained?and rinsed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Smoky Corn Salsa:
  • 2 corn on the cob
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 tblsp coriander stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp smoky Tabasco sauce

To Serve:

  • Natural yoghurt (optional)
  • 2 ripe avocados, thinly sliced
  • Large handful of coriander leaves
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges


  1. Melt the coconut oil in a large casserole over a medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and ginger and fry for 4-5 minutes until just tender.
  2. Stir in the garlic, red chilli, coriander and cumin seeds, chilli powder and paprika and fry for a further 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the quinoa, lentils, plum tomatoes and vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, season with salt and pepper and simmer gently for 45 minutes, or until the grains are tender and cooked through. Keep adding liquid if required until the grains are tender.
  4. Add the kidney beans and cook for a further 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning and cover with a lid until ready to serve.
  5. While the chilli is cooking, prepare the corn salsa. Boil the corn in a pan of water for 8-10 minutes, or until tender. Slice the cooked corn kernels off the cobs. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat.
  6. Add the coconut oil and fry the corn kernels, without stirring, until slightly charred. Stir through the chopped coriander stalks and Tabasco and season generously with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve the chilli in deep bowls, topped with avocado slices, spoonfuls of corn salsa, coriander leaves, lime wedges and a dollop of yoghurt, if using.