The packet spice mixes you can buy at the supermarkets are great. They take all the guess work out of mixing your spices and they always have recipe suggestions on the back. However, I never feel like there’s enough veg in these recipes. 1 tin of chopped tomatoes and 1 tin of kidney beans, like the packet pictured below suggests, isn’t going to give me all the vitamins, minerals and fibre I need, especially when I won’t be using meat. Also, I like to have lots of textures, shapes and colours in my meals, that’s what makes something look appetising to me.
So I’ve taken inspiration from one of these packet mixes and pushed it to the next level. This recipe is packed with loads of gorgeous fresh veg, pulses and quorn mince. It’s easy, healthy and super tasty. I often serve this when meat-eating friends come round for dinner as it’s so packed full of flavours, they really don’t miss the meat. I usually make up a big pan and plonk it in the middle of the table with guacamole, sour cream, Tortilla Dippers, cheese and baked potatoes or rice and let everyone help themselves. Even my veg-dodging husband loves my Chilli Con Carne, and regularly requests I make a batch.
I have added extra herbs and spices as well as the packet mix as this recipe serves 6. It freezes really well in portions in air tight containers though, then just defrost and microwave it till it’s piping hot. So don’t be put off by the large quantity. Your left overs will make some easy mid-week freezer meals for you.
Ready in 55 mins (10 mins prep, 45 mins cooking) – Serves 6.
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 large white onion, finely diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes (more if you like a lot of heat)
- 3 large chestnut mushrooms, diced
- 1 small courgette, diced
- Half a squash, diced (no need to peel)
- 2 carrots, diced (no need to peel)
- 1 pepper, diced (any colour)
- 2 tins of mixed beans
- 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
- 1 packet of Chilli Con Carne spice mix
- Half a bag of quorn mince
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 1 teaspoon of thyme
- 1 teaspoon of basil
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1 teaspoon of vegan Worcester Sauce (if you’re not veggie or vegan, you can just use regular Worcestershire sauce)
- Half a teaspoon of nutmeg
- Half a teaspoon of Cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- Put the olive oil, onion, garlic and chilli flakes in a large pan over a medium/high heat and let it sizzle for 2 mins until soft but not browned. – Pic 1
- Add the rest of the veg, mix well and cook for 5 mins until it’s starting to soften. – Pic 2
- Add the quorn and packet spice mix and mix well. Cook for 5 mins to warm up the spices and infuse the flavours. – Pic 3
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the chopped tomatoes and mixed beans. Then half fill an empty tin of chopped tomatoes with cold water and swill it round to get every last bit of tomato flavour, poring it into the other tins as well if you like, and add to the pan. – Pic 4
- Mix well, cover with a lid or large piece of foil and let it simmer for 10 mins, stirring every so often so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the extra herbs, spices, lemon juice and Worcester Sauce. Mix well and simmer for a further 10 min stirring every so often.
- Taste and add seasoning or extra chilli if you feel it needs it. Turn the heat down so it’s just bubbling and leave the lid off. This will reduce the mixture a bit and intensify the flavours. Stir every so often and leave for at least another 10 mins. – Pic 5 and 6
- Serve with rice and guacamole, or with nachos and cheese.