A vegan chilli recipe and #recipeofweek (13-19 April)

chilli non carne recipe

I just don’t feel right – me

It’s been quiet on here for the last week or so. The truth is I haven’t been well for some time. As many of you know, I have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but recently I’ve suffered from myriad symptoms that I thought I’d long since left behind. Extreme pain and chronic exhaustion being the worst of them. I haven’t felt like doing much at all for the last six weeks but I ploughed on, and then this last week it finally got on top of me. I need to make a change before it impacts on my life, work and family.

So what am I going to do about it? I’m going back to being vegan. Bear with me, there’s method in my madness…

I’m vegetarian, as you all probably know, but my family are not. For two years earlier in my twenties I was vegan because hospital stays and laboriously completed food charts showed me that eggs and milk were my main triggers (along with white flour to a lesser degree). As a vegetarian, veganism seemed a small step to take. It was tough to adjust but the impact on my health was immediate. I got stronger, healthier, happier. Over the years, I’ve tentatively reintroduced dairy, eggs and white flour into to my life – I’m a foodie, it’s hard not to, but somewhere on the way things have gone wrong,  it’s time to take a step back to what I know is right for my body. So here goes. I’m vegan. That’s that.

Now, please don’t all run away at once. I know this is a foodie blog and refined flours and sugars, butter, cream, cheese and eggs feature in most of my recipes. To an extent, that will have to change. You will see more brown rice, dairy alternatives, egg replacement etc, but you don’t have to use those – where not so obvious, I’ll try to highlight how you can switch the recipe to non-vegan if you want to.

I will not evangelise about the politics of veganism – I’m not here to tell you what’s right or wrong. My family will continue to eat dairy, eggs, meat and fish, so you won’t see me on my high horse. I’ll still feature dairy products, creamy cakes and even meat recipes from time to time, as I always have, because this blog is about my whole family and our experiences, not just mine. All that I’d ask is that while you’re here – be you impartial observer, staunch vegan, avid meat-eater or somewhere in between – you’re respectful of everyone’s views, challenges and lifestyle choices.

Ok that’s enough of that. Now, here’s what we had for dinner tonight…

Chilli non carne with long grain brown rice

A simple meal, nothing technically impressive, but a nutritious, high protein, dairy-free, egg-free and meat-free meal – and that’s what I need right now.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pack meat-free mince (any version that contains no eggs or dairy)
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder (plus some extra to finish)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 3 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 8 blocks of frozen spinach
  • Half a handful of basil
  • Seasoning to taste
  • Enough long grain brown rice for four people


  1. Warm the oil in a large pan
  2. Fry the mince with the until completely defrosted
  3. Add the tomatoes, nutmeg, chilli and oregano and simmer for 10 minutes
  4. Add the spinach and simmer for another 5-10 minutes until the spinach is fully cooked through
  5. Meanwhile, cook the rice
  6. Just before serving, stir in the basil and season to taste
  7. Dish up the rice, top with the chilli, then for the grown ups, sprinkle with a little more chilli powder(or lots if you like it hot)

If you like, you could add a drained can of kidney beans and maybe some butter beans, carrot slices or sweetcorn when you put in tomatoes. It would work with anything you like really!

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  1. says

    Hi, what a great blog…and a fab recipe. I am vegetarian and cook something similar with lentils or dried TSP (very ’80’s veggie) if I can get hold of it! I find Sainsbury’s value strong cheese is the best veggie option out there…
    Will share a recipe via the link.
    Thanks, Sam
    Samantha Schofield recently posted…Granny’s Sewing BibleMy Profile

  2. says

    Glad to hear you are feeling better and I think you are amazingly brave. As a long term veggie I would struggle to give up a good strong cheese. I will interestingly await more of your amazing recipes, this chilli will definitely be made very soon. I find that my carnivore of a husband will eat the meat free mince and we enjoyed a shepherds pie earlier in the week.

  3. says

    I’m a veggie, and in my house we have 4 veggies and 4 meatatarians. We all respect each others views and food has never become a point for argument. I totally agree, it’s just the way it is, it doesn’t need a political debate at 5.30pm every day :D

    I love nutmeg with soya/wheat mince – it gives it a real depth. Hope your digestive system is less of a nightmare already :)

  4. says

    Hi there. We follow each other on Twitter but I’m not sure we have ever chatted (as is the way in large blogging circles!!!)

    I too have recently gone vegan for health reasons (and will also be blogging about it, without the politics!)

    Looking forward to trying this recipe out and hearing how you get on x
    Beadzoid recently posted…The Lullaby TrustMy Profile

  5. says

    I don’t have a recipe but I do wish you back to ‘fighting fit’ health as quickly as can be. Going vegan seems to be the answer for you. I switched our family to wholemeal everything recently and all 5 of us gave rice the thumbs up – so much tastier!

  6. says

    I think you know your body and that if it works for you then it’s a good idea. I look forward to seeing some vegan recipes and I may even give them a go! Hope it helps you feel better.
    TheBoyandMe recently posted…365 #15My Profile

  7. Anna Croft says

    Hope you feel better soon! My mum suffers IBS and I do think my daughter does too :( I would actually love to be a vegan I just struggle with recipes so looking forward to reading your future recipes xx

  8. Mum of One says

    I thought you had been a bit quiet. Sorry to hear you have been feeling horrid. I suffered with IBS terribly for a number of years in the past and it was truly awful. I really hope you feel back to normal soon x

  9. says

    It’ll be interesting to see how you adapt your recipes to suit your new way of life. Looking forward to reading them and possibly trying them out. Have linked to you from my recipe post.