Proteins: Black bean chili

Who doesn't love a good ol' pot of chili? There are so many bean-based versions out there these days that it hardly surprises anyone when you serve it without ground-up meat. Not to mention, by sneaking in some crumbled tempeh you really meat up the texture and make the veggie-ness of it all almost indiscernible. Win.

As always, veggie-fying a common meat dish comes with some amazing health benefits. As a legume, black beans straddle the vegetable and protein world, giving you the joys of both in one mouthful. Think of the protein, iron and zinc you would find in meat, plus heroes of the vegetable kingdom such as fibre, folate and potassium. Beans are also known to regulate your blood sugar, insulin levels and cholesterol. Happily, black beans also contain the highest antioxidant content of any legume. We could all do with more of the humble bean in our lives and this chili is a great way to get it.

While Mexican in vibe, this chili is extremely versatile. You can throw it on a baked sweet potato, use it in a whole bowl, bulk it out into a soup - the world is your... chili. See what I did there?


  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 2 large red bell peppers, chopped

  • 4 sticks celery, chopped

  • 4 medium carrots, chopped

  • 2 medium red onions, chopped

  • 8 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 tbsp chili powder

  • 2 tbsp ground cumin

  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika

  • 2 tsp dried oregano

  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels

  • 2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes

  • 6x 400g cans black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 200g tempeh, crumbled

  • 3 cups vegetable stock

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 1 tbsp lime juice

  • Box of sandwich bags

  • 1 large freezer bag

  1. In a soup pot, sauté the bell peppers, celery, carrots and red onion in the olive oil for 5-10 minutes on medium heat

  2. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika and oregano. Sauté for 1 minute.

  3. Add the diced tomatoes, corn kernels, drained black beans, crumbled tempeh, vegetable stock and bay leaves. Stir as you let the mixture reach a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat so it maintains a gentle simmer. Stir occasionally, and remove from heat after 30 minutes. 

  4. Once it has finished cooking, place 3 cups of the chili in a blender, blend thoroughly, and return the blended mixture to the pot. This step gives the chili a much thicker texture and richer flavour. 

  5. Add the lime juice and stir through

  6. Transfer the chili to a large heatproof bowl or casserole dish, and place in the fridge overnight to cool 

  7. Once cool, spoon a half cup of the mixture into each sandwich bag, until all of the mixture is used. Seal the bags with minimal air inside, and place inside the large freezer bag. Label the freezer bag with “black bean chili” and the date, and store in the freezer until required

PROTEINSCourtney Allely