Slow & Low Carbon Chilli Recipe

Prep Time:

4 hours

Cook Time:

2 hours






Dinner, Occasion, Freeze Me, Vegetarian, Vegan, Flexitarian

About the Recipe

This slow and low carbon chilli is PACKING flavour. Deep flavour comes from patience. This isn’t a difficult recipe, so don’t let the ingredient list or time needed put you off. Most of the time needed is for soaking or simmering.

This makes a big ol’ batch and is easily doubled. So treat it as a deserved showstopper for your next eco-friendly party, or freeze portions for quick meals later.

Wondering why we’re using dried beans? Cooking your own allows the beans to take on complex flavour from the aromatics and spices.

You won’t miss the flavour of chilli con carne, especially when these beans produce 99% less CO2e than 700g beef.

Dried beans also happen to be cheaper than canned counterparts, and can help us to reduce food packaging waste by sourcing dried beans from refill stations.


  • 100g dried black beans

  • 150g dried pinto beans

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds

  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns

  • 2 tsp cumin seeds

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

  • 2 tsp dried oregano

  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 300g onion

  • 250g mushrooms

  • 4 garlic cloves (15g)

  • 1 carrot (90g)

  • 1 celery stick (65g)

  • 2 fresh chillies

  • 15g fresh coriander

  • 800g passata

  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tsp soy sauce

  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

  • 850ml vegetable stock

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1⁄2 tsp salt

  • 20g dark chocolate

  • 1 lime

How to make the recipe

1. Soak dried beans in a large bowl or pan for at least 4 hours. Make sure the water covers the black and pinto beans by two inches. You could do this the night before or as soon as you wake up. Drain the beans when ready to cook, or after a max of 12 hours and keep in the fridge until ready to cook.

2. Prepare your spices. Heat a small saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and black peppercorns to the pan. Toast until everything’s smelling fragrant and lightly browned. This should take 2-3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat immediately and pour the seeds and peppercorns onto a plate. Grind the toasted coriander seeds and peppercorns. You can do this with pestle and mortar or spice blender, or use the end of a rolling pin in a sturdy bowl to crush the spices. Mix the remaining ground smoked paprika, ground cinnamon and dried oregano into the bowl too.

3. Prep your vegetables. Finely dice the onions. Peel and mince the garlic cloves. Dice the carrot and celery stick. Finely chop the chillies. Finely chop the mushrooms; you can do this in a food processor. Pull the leaves from the coriander stems. Roughly chop the coriander leaves and set aside for later. Finely chop the coriander stems.

4. Heat a large stock pan over medium heat. Add the diced onions and cook for 3-4 mins. Then add the carrots and celery and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Finally add the garlic, chilli and coriander stems and cook for 2 minutes.

5. Add the mixed spices to the pan along with half the passata. Stir everything to coat the aromatics in the pan and allow the tomato passata to thicken slightly.

6. Add the apple cider vinegar, soy sauce and maple syrup. Add the drained beans to the pan and stir.

7. Pour over the vegetable stock and remaining passata. Then add the bay leaf and salt. Bring everything to a boil and simmer for 1 hour. Stir the pot occasionally.

8. Add the mushrooms and cook everything for a further 30 minutes. 

9. Finally add the dark chocolate and cook for another minute or two, stirring. Remove from the heat and leave everything to rest for at least 15 minutes. If leaving for longer, reheat the chilli gently just before serving.

10. Serve. Taste to see if you'd prefer anymore salt. Top the chilli with coriander leaves and a squeeze of lime. Serve in bowls alone, or with half a baked potato or sweet potato to keep this low carbon.