{Recipe} Chilli Beans

As I mentioned last week, this month marks my 17th year of veganism. Thus, I thought it appropriate to feature a recipe that has been a staple since the early days of my life as a vegan.

Following, is a veganised version of a meal my mum made regularly when I was a child – Chilli Con Carne.

The original veganised version used kidney beans, but the recipe has evolved in my household to include other beans as well. My mum still makes this dish regularly, and I now make it for my family. All of my children enjoy it.

We call it, simply, Chilli Beans.

All those years ago, when I dropped a bombshell told my mum that I wanted to become vegan, she wondered what on Earth she was going to cook. Thankfully, she did the sane thing – she started making vegan food for the whole family!

Chilli Con Carne was one of the first recipes that she veganised, back in ’96, when no-one used the term ‘veganised’! In fact, no one I knew even used the term ‘vegan’. We were few and far between! In my experience, veganism was not very well understood.

Some of you are gesticulating at your screens, hollering: What is she talking about?! We are still misunderstood! I agree.

However, these days I feel as though I am part of a community, a movement.  Back then, in the early days, I felt quiet isolated. I developed a habit of not mentioning my veganism unless I really had to. Hearing others implore ‘But where will you get your iron from’? and ‘What about protein’? became tiresome quite quickly.

Thankfully, by the end of ’96, my new boyfriend (now my husband!), had embraced veganism.  So, too, had my sister. In fact, some of our peers (mostly fellow uni students) began to embrace animal rights. Some of us who advocated for women’s rights – and human rights, in general- saw a logical connection with animal rights.

As a woman, and a mother, I object to the enslavement of cows for the purpose of collecting their lactation fluids for human consumption. Primarily, I object to the theft of their offspring. As a woman, mother, and feminist, I can not support an industry that rips newly born babies from their mothers. I do not make a distinction merely because these mothers are of a different species.

Today’s Recipe

This recipe is simple to prepare. You can use cooked or canned beans. I like to cook beans, like chickpeas and kidney beans,  in my pressure cooker. I freeze the leftovers, so that I have beans on hand whenever I require them. By all means, use canned beans if you want to.

In this recipe, I prefer to use a combination of beans, specifically kidney beans and chickpeas, or kidney beans and cannellini (white) beans. You can also add sweet corn kernels or chopped red capsicum (bell pepper).

This is a hearty, comforting meal.  Perfect for a weeknight, as it is quick to prepare (provided your beans are already cooked! or you are using canned beans).

We usually cook Chilli Beans at least once a fortnight. The beans can be served in a variety of ways, including:

  • with corn chips, guacamole, and salsa
  • with whole wheat or spelt wrap bread, and raw salad vegetables
  • with gluten-free savoury crepes
  • with brown rice, jasmine rice, or quinoa AND a side dish of steamed broccoli or a big raw vegetable salad
  • with whole baked potatoes, halved (see photo below)
  • with salad vegies, guacamole, and chilli sauce, in tacos



Quantity: Serves 4-5

Ingredients – 

3 cups cooked or canned* beans (kidney beans OR kidney and chickpea OR kidney and white beans, OR your favourite beans)

1 x 400g can of tomatoes 

1 medium-sized onion, chopped

1/4 cup chopped red capsicum (bell pepper) OR sweet corn kernels (optional)

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (1/8 tsp is mild, and kid-friendly)

pinch of dried chilli flakes

1/8 tsp salt


1.Oil free method – Heat  1/4 cup of water in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Then add chopped onion, and saute until translucent. Stir occasionally, with a wooden spoon.  Add more water, a tablespoon at a time, if onion begins to stick to the saucepan. (Alternatively, saute onions in 1 Tbsp olive oil).

2. Add minced garlic, and spices. Stir well. Cook until fragrant, stirring regularly. Add 1 tbsp water. Stir.

3. Add beans, and mix until beans are coated with spices and onions (Add capsicum or corn kernels now, if using, and stir well).

4. Liquidise tomatoes with an immersion (hand held) blender or in a small food processor, until smooth. Add tomatoes to the saucepan. Stir well.

5. Bring mixture to the boil. Then, cover saucepan and turn to a low heat. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Remove lid, and simmer gently for 2 minutes.

7. Serve with preferred accompaniments.

* 3 cups of beans is roughly equivalent to 2 x 400g can of beans.



I am thrilled to announce that Made of Stars is listed as a Top 12 blog for vegan and vegetarian parents in Soulness Magazine, a new online magazine.

Soulness Magazine aims to provide ‘information and practical guides on holistic healing, simplicity, yoga, ayurveda, health, ecological gardening and spirituality… [plus] delicious vegan and vegetarian recipes….’

I extend my gratitude and appreciation to Mihaly Kozak, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, for featuring Made of Stars in the first issue of Soulness. It is a lovely surprise!

This is what Soulness Magazine says about Made of Stars:

‘Made of Stars is an excellent blog dedicated to raising vegan children. Ally shares the joys of raising ‘four tiny vegans’ with her husband, Mat. Ally gives readers a unique perspective since her background is in social work and family violence. It’s not a surprise, considering her professional experience, that Ally would be so passionate about leading a compassionate vegan lifestyle. Ally shares wonderful tips on how to instill vegan values, eg. compassion, in children, how to eat out as a vegan family and mouth-watering recipes’.  

I am truly moved by this positive and thoughtful description of me and Made of Stars. 😀


The first issue of Soulness Magazine is available here. Check out pages 6-9 for descriptions of the Top 12 vegan and vegetarian blogs for parents in 2013. 

I was happy to discover that Soulness Magazine features an article by Leo Babauta, creator of Zen Habits, one of my favourite blogs. The article is called How to Fail at Habits.

Also, Soulness states that it is seeking submissions from writers and bloggers. If you think that this free, online magazine reflects your interests and values, you may want to consider contributing an article.


Tell me about one of the first recipes that you veganised. Was it successful? Please share your experiences.

Every Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my own family – I hope your family enjoys it too.



About Ally
Mamma. Vegan. I blog at Made of Stars.

29 Responses to {Recipe} Chilli Beans

  1. trangquynh says:

    this dish looks so colorful and delicious ^^

  2. uberdish says:

    Your chilli beans look so delicious! I love the thought of eating them with a baked potato or some savoury crepes! Thank you, Ally for thinking of my crepes! 🙂 Congratulations on being listed in the top 12 in Soulness Magazine. I will be sure to check it out. I can’t recall the first recipe I veganized, but I do recall veganizing my mother-in-law’s celery root salad and apple pie. My family could not believe they didn’t include dairy! I love that. 🙂

    • Ally says:

      Thanks Angela 🙂
      You are welcome! We love your savory pancakes.

      It’s awesome when a vegan meal knocks the socks of someone who was not expecting to be impressed!

  3. Linda says:

    Yum! We have chilli beans a lot too. Acutally it started when my kids were small and they got the cookbook ‘Honest pretzels’ by Molly Katzen http://www.amazon.com/Honest-Pretzels-Other-Amazing-Recipes/dp/1582463050

    The recipe is Spunky Chilli and it was the first proper family meal that either of my kids learned to cook. My son even made it for a school cooking project in grade 5, where they had to make a slideshow of preparing a meal, and then bring some in to share with their classmates.

    Congratulations on your top blog listing too!

    • Ally says:

      Thanks Linda! I’ve since seen your chilli beans post! It sounds like Spunky Chilli was very popular in your house. My kids adore chilli beans. We always know that there won’t be any complaints when we make it, haha! I like that your kids learned to cook young. I think that it is an important life skill, and I have always been happy to encourage my children’s interest in cooking.

  4. Andra Muhoberac says:

    Chilli beans have always been a favourite with our family. With winter on our doorsteps it’s a great dish to make–AND eat!

  5. Andra Muhoberac says:

    Thought I’d mention that we’ve always used pinto beans. Very Mexican! Borlotti beans are a good substitute for pintos.

    • Ally says:

      I should try pinto beans. I seem to overlook them because they are a bit trickier to find locally. I hadn’t even thought to use Borlotti beans – but that would be nice too. I thought I was being ‘exotic’ moving away from kidney beans (after using them in this recipe for over a decade!). haha!

  6. Starr says:

    Wow! 17 years and going strong. You’re an inspiration!

    Chili is a great staple (I don’t know where I’d be without it). Yours sounds delicious! I would have never thought to add ginger to it.

    I honestly can’t remember the first foods I veganized, but I do remember the first dish I veganized for my parents. My dad is a food snob, so I wanted to make something fancy, without relying on anything they might consider “fake”. I ended up making Ratatouille and (veganized) Pumpkin Risotto. It turned out amazing and they were so impressed.

    • Ally says:

      I’m glad you knocked your parents’ socks off with your ratatouille and risotto! I gain the impression that you do that regularly these days with your amazing baking skills. Not just with your parents, either.

      The ginger is a nice touch in the chilli. I agree, it is a great staple. Quick, simple and nourishing.

      Thank you also, for your kind comments. 🙂

  7. Thomas says:

    great post Ally I love this recipe 🙂

  8. susykat says:

    Congrats again on being mentioned in Soulness Mag! I’m so glad your blog is getting the recognition it deserves 😀
    I love chilli beans, but it seems I really only eat this dish these days when I’m up visiting you guys! Because of that, I associate the dish with family. I love when I’m up there and Mum announces she is going to make it for dinner!

    • Ally says:

      Yeah, I reckon it is always better when mum makes it! She’s not a big fan of cinnamon though, so she doesn’t add that. That’s my secret ingredient. 🙂
      Thanks for your kind comments about the blog 🙂

  9. Hey Ally! Congrats on being listed as a top 12 blog – what an honor. Of course you deserve it girl!

  10. That chili dish looks super delicious. I love beans and can’t get enough of them! Congrats no your feature! That is so cool! I totally agree with you too, the theft of animals babies is what hurts my heart the most. It’s so heartbreaking. As a mom, I just can’t fathom how humans can be so callous and cruel.

    • Ally says:

      I agree Brandi, it is heart breaking. The sheer scale of the misery and trauma is overwhelming too.

      Thanks for your congratulations. I am a big fan of beans too. I’m going to try the chilli with pinto beans next time.

  11. sookisu says:

    Well done on your feature!! That is so good. I’m pretty sure that Chilli was one of the first dishes we ‘veganised’ too – that and thai curry, mmmmm

  12. Sophie33 says:

    This dish looks just so tasty, ally & congrats on the publish! 🙂 You & your lovely blog so deserves it too! 🙂 xxx

  13. Ally! Congratulations on 17 years of veganism and for receiving acclaim in Soulness Magazine. You put a lot of thought into your blog – and I’m continually dazzled by your commitment to raising your kids vegan – so the recognition truly is deserved 🙂

    My mum was also confounded when I told her I was becoming a vegetarian (like you, this was in the 1990s). Shortly thereafter I got my first tattoo and piercing. At the time none of these things was socially acceptable so she was a nervous wreck! Over time she’s come to accept my diet (although she’s still convinced I originally stopped eating meat purely out of adolescent rebellion!) and always makes me tasty vegetarian dishes when I go to her house to visit.

    Your chilli beans look great 🙂 I think the first dish I attempted to veganize was a split pea soup, the original version of which likely called for ham!

  14. Pingback: {Vegan MoFo} Muffins, More Chips and a Freaky Friday | Made of Stars

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