Butternut & black bean chilli

While I can handle a few days of feeling not-quite-myself, the past two weeks marks the sickest I’ve been in almost a year. Subsequently, I’ve been craving nourishing, wholesome meals.

And, well, this vegan butternut and black bean chilli ticks all the boxes. Hearty, and perfect for chilly evenings, the spice and kick of chilli is exactly what I feel I need. A creamy salsa with avocado, lime and coriander adds freshness, while ready-made corn chips add some needed crunch.

You’ll likely have most of the ingredients in your cupboards or spice rack – which also makes it quite an economical dish, essentially butternut + beans + tomatoes. Also, if you haven’t yet noticed, we’re smack in the middle of avocado season, so stock up while the going is good – you can never have enough salsa.

This recipe serves four, quite generously. I’d recommend cutting the butternut into quite small cubes, as they tend to take quite a while to cook. Essentially, the dish is done once your butternut is tender and the tomato sauce has reduced sufficiently. If your butternut is too large, your sauce will be done before the butternut is cooked – if this happens, just add a little more stock to the dish, and keep stirring until the butternut is tender.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
400g butternut, peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp sugar, to taste
a few drops of liquid smoke (optional, available here or here)
2 x 340g tins black beans, rinsed and drained
1 x 340g tin tomatoes
350ml vegetable stock
salt to taste

for the salsa:
2 ripe avocados, mashed
1 tsp lime juice
handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
handful baby tomatoes, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Place the olive oil in a large, non-stick pot and add the butternut. Fry over a medium-heat until the butternut is tender and slightly coloured. You can add a few drops of water to help it cook, if you feel it is browning too quickly. Once tender, add the garlic and onion and fry for an additional two minutes, until starting to soften. Add the remaining ingredients, and allow to simmer on a medium heat until the sauce has thickened to your liking. Once ready, taste and season with salt and sugar, as needed.

While the chilli is simmering add all the ingredients for the salsa to a large bowl, and gently stir to combine. Serve chilli with the salsa and corn chips, if desired.

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