Slow cooker series part 1: Vegetarian Chilli

My slow cooker (or crock pot) is one of my favourite and most used pieces of equipment in the kitchen. Not only can you prepare meals in advance, you can also do so without adding any fat. Plus they use only a bit more electricity than a traditional light bulb and therefore are cheaper being on all day than heating the oven for an hour.

I tend to use my slow cooker on a work day and make enough to have 2 meals out of it. I prefer recipes with minimal preparation and very rarely pre-cook anything.

This recipe is very easy to prepare and is high in fibre and micronutrients. Depending on your toppings or accompaniments it can be cow’s milk, soya and gluten free as well as being vegan. I’ve also popped a bonus recipe at the bottom for tortilla chips.

It looks like a long list of ingredients but if you find frozen ingredients you don’t have to do any chopping at all! It only takes about 5 minutes to combine, 10 minutes extra for chopping (I’m pretty slow!). If you do have time to fry the onions beforehand you would get a slightly nicer end result.

Disclaimer: this recipe is about as authentically Mexican as Dick Van Dyke’s English accent is in Mary Poppins! However, it is still yummy!

Ingredients

  • 1 onion chopped (or the equivalent from a pre-prepared frozen bag)
  • 3 peppers deseeded and chopped (or from frozen)
  • 1 can of green lentils rinsed and drained
  • 1 can of butter/cannellini/kidney beans
  • 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can of sweetcorn or similar amount of frozen sweetcorn
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • chilli powder or fresh chillies according to taste, I put in 1/2 tsp or 1 chilli
  • a splash (approx 1 tbsp) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 stock cube or bouillon of choice

Method

  1. put all the ingredients into the slow cooker and mix
  2. cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 5-6

Serve with rice, we use basmati as it’s low GI. The choice of toppings or accompaniments include: grated cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, fresh coriander and homemade tortilla chips – see below.

Child’s portion:

And a grown-up portion!

Tortilla Chips

These are really easy to make if you have time and you can control how much salt you and your children have. I used 3 tortillas for 2 adults and 2 small children but had way too many! You can use corn-chips or other gluten-free options if you prefer.

Cut up the tortillas into shapes, I used scissors, and brush with a little oil. You can add salt or other flavourings at this point if you wish. Arrange on a non-stick baking tray.

Bake in a hot oven (200ºC) for 5-10 minutes until golden brown. It’s really easy to burn them so keep an eye out!

If you do not eat them all straight away, store in an air-tight container or bag. If they lose their crunch, pop them back in the oven for a couple of minutes or even the toaster. Enjoy!

Free printable-4
Click here for more dairy free recipes 
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