Elle's 'superwoman would eat this' vegetarian chili con carne

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Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 5
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 209.7
  • Total Fat: 2.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 4.0 mg
  • Sodium: 645.5 mg
  • Total Carbs: 34.9 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 10.9 g
  • Protein: 12.1 g

View full nutritional breakdown of Elle's 'superwoman would eat this' vegetarian chili con carne calories by ingredient
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Low fat, cheap, high nutrient and high flavour! Low fat, cheap, high nutrient and high flavour!
Number of Servings: 5


    2 medium onions, chopped
    2 carrots, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, chopped or mashed
    2 slices of bacon or bacon substitute (optional) fat removed, cut up
    3 sticks celery, finely chopped
    2 bell peppers, ideally red but green will do, chopped
    2 red chili peppers, medium size, seeds removed and finely chopped (can also use 1 tsp. dried chili instead)
    800g/2 can drained red kidney beans
    350g closed cup or other mushrooms

    1 tbsp. ground cumin
    1 tbsp. ground paprika (smoked for preference)
    1/4 tsp Splenda or other sweetener (trust me!)
    1 tsp. cayenne pepper (use black if you don't have cayenne to hand)
    1 beef stock cube OR stock pot OR cup home made stock


This can be easily turned into regular chili con carne by using ground or minced beef in place of the mushrooms - personally I like to keep the veg when I make the meat version also as it gives extra flavour and nutrition for less calories - but keeps the boys happy!

You can substitute most of the veg for other veg, basically whatever you have in, but the mushrooms are particularly useful to give the 'meatiness'. I also like to use spinach, butternut squash, aubergines or cougette on occasion.

To make life super easy, you can keep bags of the base ingredients chopped and ready in the freezer, i.e. the carrots, onions, garlic etc.


Finely chop all the veg apart from the mushrooms, which should be roughly chopped to add texture.

Spray a heavy based pan (I use a large le Creuset casserole for preference) with a low-cal cooking spray (or use a tsp. olive oil and note that the oil is not included in the calorie count for this recipe). Place the pan on a low to medium heat.

Add the onions, garlic, celery, carrots (bacon if used) and chili peppers gently for about 5 minutes until softened.

Add the bell peppers and heat for a few more minutes.

Add the mushrooms and continue cooking on a medium temperature for a further 2-5 minutes until softened.

Stir in all of the spices and the stock, plus the sprinkle of sweetener (you can also use 1/2 tsp sugar instead, just remember to add in the calories if you are counting!).

Throw in a glass of red wine (for preference, but white, or indeed a splash of dry martini will do if you have it - or if you want to be really spartan, leave the wine out and save a few calories - I think that's a crying shame though....!).

Add the drained kidney beans (make sure to rinse with cold water first).

Bring the mixture to the boil then turn down the heat and put a lid on the pan so that it can simmer for 20 minutes (or longer if you have time and want to improve the flavour).

I like to serve this with crushed sweet potato, brown rice or just on its own as a sort of chunky soup for healthy options, but it also works really well with nachos, cheese and guacamole if you are being naughty :-)

Serving Size: Makes 5 "man sized" servings

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