The twenty-minute black bean chilli

I can make fast, nutritious and delicious plant-based evening meals like nobody else. I mean it! Just follow these steps and you won’t go wrong. The amounts below are for two people; double everything for more eaters, or if you’re extra hungry.

1. On your way home from work stop by your local food shop.

2. Pick up a basket. In it put: 1 onion, 1 bulb of garlic, 1 green pepper, 1 tin of black beans, 1 jar/carton of tomato passata, 1 packet of rice, 1 packet of chilli powder & 1 packet of cumin.

3. Come home and prepare for your evening. Wash your hands.

4. Put some oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Chop half the onion.

5. Fry the chopped onion. Meanwhile chop 1 garlic clove and half the green pepper.

6. Put the chopped garlic & pepper in the frying pan. Stir.

7. Put four handfuls of rice in a saucepan with plenty of water on top and bring to boiling.

8. Add ½ a teaspoon of chilli powder and 1 teaspoon of cumin to the frying pan. Fry for 1 minute.

9. Open the passata and add several dollops to the frying pan. Stir in.

10. Open the tin of beans and drain them with a sieve. Add to the frying pan. Heat gently for about ten to fifteen minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of salt at the end and stir in.

11. Sieve the rice. Put in a bowl. Put the black bean chilli on top. Eat.

Our cultural landscape is littered with TV and cookbook chefs exhorting us to make that extra effort with our dinners. Meanwhile – and despite food scares and scandals – sales of ready meals are on the rise once again. We simply haven’t the headspace to make our own pesto; even so-called “dead simple” recipes require an hour or so of preparation, along with ingredients we probably don’t have in our fridge.

Plant-based meals are the hot new kid on the block of allergy-free nutrition. I’m a lifelong carnivore myself, but I’m embracing this new way of eating with gusto. In any case, I guarantee the meal above will be as tasty as a ready meal, and much better for you. Adapt and expand as you wish – steam some veggies and dress with olive oil if you like, toast seeds (pumpkin seeds go brilliantly with this dish – see my easy-peasy recipe here) – but if you really need to save your brain, this meal stands well on its own.


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