Lazy Bum Chilli Sin Carne (vegan)

Chilli. The start of my love affair with cumin. Cumin is like the mother of dragons, it rules the food world and the food doesn’t even mind. Brownie points to whomever gets that reference. Anyway, back on topic: Lazy Bum Chilli Sin Carne. Lazy because it’s the easiest recipe (especially if you use frozen mushrooms like I did), Bum because it’s super cheap to make and Sin Carne because it’s of course made without meat. It’s a very hearty, ‘umami’ dish that I like to pair with basmati rice or use as a filling in a burrito (recipe for the latter will follow soon). I made this dish even before I went vegetarian, and I never missed meat in it! Don’t worry if you can’t find adzuki beans, it’s just what I had lying around. You can use kidney beans or black beans instead. To me, adzuki beans taste like an immature version of kidney beans anyway 🙂 This recipe makes a pretty mellow chilli so up the chilli flakes if you like it hot!

Ingredients (makes 4 portions):

  • A glug of olive oil (the amount depends on how much you like healthy fats, I love it so I put a decent glug in there but it’s completely up to you)
  • 1/2 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon of chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 4 medium sized garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups of frozen, sliced mushrooms (you can use fresh but then it’s not so lazy any more)
  • 2 cups of cooked adzuki beans (or kidney or black beans. If you want to cook dry beans: BOIL THEM FOR AT LEAST TEN MINUTES before simmering! Kidney bean poisoning isn’t fun)
  • Two 400 gram tins of chopped tomato (I like tomato a lot, if you’re not a massive fan you can definitely get away with just one tin)
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • Optional (I used all of these):
    • 6 dried bay leaves for an earthy flavour
    • 1 teaspoon of marmite for a ‘meaty’, umami flavour (you can also use vegemite – hello Australia!)
    • 1 teaspoon of vegetarian worcestershire sauce for an extra dose of umami
  • Salt, to taste
  • Coriander, roughly chopped (or some lime)


  • Fry the cumin, chilli and smoked paprika in the glug of olive oil over low-medium heat in a big pot until their scent perfumes your kitchen. This helps to bring out their flavours. Be careful not to burn them though, because the whole dish will taste bitter if you do!
  • Throw the garlic and onion in the pot and cook on medium heat until softened.
  • Do the same with the mushrooms and the beans.
  • Add both tins of tomatoes and the balsamic vinegar. You add these two after softening the other veggies because their acidity can prevent vegetables to soften.
  • If using, throw in the bay leaves, marmite and worcestershire sauce.
  • Let simmer without a lid on low-medium heat for about 30 minutes or until nice and thick.
  • Season the chilli with plenty of salt and stir it through.
  • Serve with the chopped coriander sprinkled on top. It’s not only pretty but it balances out the chilli flavours too so don’t omit!

Storage and tip of the day:

This chilli will stay fresh for about 3-4 days in the fridge and will keep for 4-6 months in the freezer.

It’s easy to make vegetarian and vegan food that lack in umami, the fifth meaty/savoury flavour. That’s why I research the crap out of umami foods and try to incorporate as many umami-rich ingredients as possible in my recipes. In this recipe you get an umami kick from the garlic, mushrooms, tomato, balsamic vinegar, marmite and worcestershire sauce.

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