Happy Chilli

My version of a chilli con carne, but happier. It’s happy because it’s low budget, low fat and packed with vegetables! Happy AND healthy!

Happy chilli

Happy chilli


  • Fry light spray (or olive/sunflower oil)
  • Large onion – finely chopped
  • Garlic – finely chopped or even better, use a garlic press (I use about 4 cloves, but use less if you’re not a garlic fiend like me!)
  • Beef mince (I use extra lean steak mince as recommended by Slimming World but you can use whatever you like – Quorn mince etc…)
  • Chillies – dried or fresh – if you’re anything like me, the hottest you can get your hands on. If fresh – slice them thinly
  • OXO stock cubes – one each of beef and vegetable
  • Another brand of beef stock cube – whatever you have in your “store cupboard”
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Marmite – small blob (optional)
  • Tinned tomatoes – I use 2 x 400g tins
  • Tomato puree
  • Cumin, Coriander, Tumeric (about 2-3 teaspoons of each depending on your taste)
  • Paprika or Cayenne Pepper (1-2 teaspoons)
  • Oregano or mixed herbs (1-2 teaspoons)
  • Glass of red wine
  • Tin of red kidney beans
  • Vegetables of your choice (I normally add at least mushrooms and mixed peppers – fresh or frozen)
  • Sugar or Stevia sweetener to taste

To serve

I used nachos, grated mature cheddar cheese, Red Leicester, red & green jalapenos and yil’driz knoflooksaus (a branded Turkish garlic sauce sold in the Netherlands)… you can be as adventurous as you like! Or just keep it simple (and low fat!) by serving with rice, a jacket potato or homemade potato wedges.


1. Put a large saucepan / wok on medium heat and once the pan is warm add your cooking lubricant… I use my “hero” ingredient (Fry light 1 cal spray)

Fry light (1 calorie spray)

Fry light (1 calorie spray)

2. Cook the onions for about 5 mins, stirring frequently. A little bit of colour is ok but they shouldn’t be brown. Add the cumin, coriander, tumeric, paprika / cayenne pepper and chillies and continue cooking for a few minutes (stirring often.)


3. Add the garlic and continue cooking / stirring. If you’re using mushrooms add these in at this point and fry for a few minutes.

4. Add the mince to the pan and brown. Increase the heat a bit so it fries rather than stews. This should take around 5 mins. While it’s cooking, break the mince up with your wooden spoon so it’s all in small pieces and you don’t get huge lumps in your meal.

5. Add the stock cubes (with a little bit of boiling water if necessary.) Little tip: with OXO cubes, you can easily open them without getting your hands dirty. Just pull out the four corners and then squeeze the middle so it fills the foil package. Then just rip down one of the sides 🙂



6. Add the red wine, tinned tomatoes, oregano / mixed herbs, tomato puree, a dash of Worcestershire sauce and a blob of Marmite (if using.) Bring to a simmer. If you’re using frozen peppers add these in now.

7.  Season with salt and pepper and give the chilli a thorough stir. Make sure it’s bubbling gently and then cover and simmer for minimum 20 mins. If you have time, cook for 1-2 hours for more depth of flavour.

8. Stir occasionally (every 20 mins or so) to check it’s not sticking to the bottom of the pan. If it looks too thick, add a little water.

9. Add the red kidney beans and cook for another 10 minutes. Give it a little taste and add sugar or sweetener if required. (And seasoning.)


10. When ready, the sauce should be thick. If not, add a little flour or simmer for longer with the top off. Once it’s the right consistency, take it off the hob for 5 – 10 mins before plating up.

Are you happy? 🙂

Happy chilli

Hayley x

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