Aubergine chilli is a hearty meal that’s naturally vegan and easy to make in just over an hour. This chilli sin carne is a super healthy dish that you can serve over rice or accompanied by tortilla chips. You won’t even notice it doesn’t have meat in it!
A smoky aubergine chilli is the perfect comfort dinner for meatless Mondays or simply when you want a warming plant-based recipe.
You can make it as spicy as you want and serve it with anything from tortilla chips and rice to coriander and mashed avocado. If you’re not a vegan, you can top it with some yogurt or sour cream or even a bit of grated cheddar.
Chilli typically takes hours to cook, but I’m all about quick and easy recipes, so I’m taking a few shortcuts here without compromising the taste. If you have time, you can simmer this aubergine and lentil curry for up to two hours to allow the flavours to bloom, but it’s a super tasty meal either way.
What do you need to make vegan aubergine chilli?
To make this veggie-loaded chilli, you need aubergines, a red pepper, adzuki beans, and lentils, but you can also add some other vegetables such as butternut squash or sweet potatoes if you want.
If you don’t have adzuki beans, you can substitute them with red kidney beans. I like to use adzuki beans in recipes because they’re half the size of kidney beans but have just about the same texture. Adzuki beans have a slightly nutty taste, and they don’t absorb the flavours of the ingredients as much as kidney beans.
I use canned beans and lentils in this chilli for convenience, but you can use dry beans and lentils if you want — just make sure you cook them until tender first.
Spices are everything in a chilli, and I use a mix of smoked paprika, ground cinnamon, ground coriander and chilli powder. A traditional chilli has dark chocolate in it, which you can chop it finely and add it with the tomatoes.
How do you make it?
To make this chilli quickly, I dice the aubergine into 1-inch cubes, which I fry in just 1 tablespoon of olive oil until slightly charred. To make sure the aubergine doesn’t absorb too much oil and is not bitter, salt the cubes and allow them to sit for 10-15 minutes before frying.
You can also roast the aubergine in the oven if you want, or put it on the grill on high and cook until burnt if you want a smoky flavour. Allow it to cool, then peel off the skin and set it aside.
I like my method because you still get that charred taste, but you don’t have to use the oven or a grill. One-pot meals are the best ones, and this is one of them.
Once the aubergine is cooked, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fry the onion for 1 minute until slightly softened. Add the red pepper and carrot and cook for 5-6 minutes until the veggies soften.
Stir in the garlic and continue to cook for another minute until fragrant. Add the tomato paste, smoked paprika, ground cinnamon, ground coriander, and chilli powder and stir to combine. Mix in the Worcestershire sauce and stir until it evaporates.
Add the chopped tomatoes and then transfer the aubergines back to the pan. Add the beans, lentils, and stock, and stir to combine. Bring the chilli to a boil, then lower the heat, cover with a lid, and simmer for 30 minutes, occasionally stirring so the chilli doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Take the lid off and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes until the sauce thickens. Stir in the lime juice and season to taste. Serve over rice, accompanied by tortilla chips, if you like.
Meal prep and freezing tips
This vegan chilli is ideal for meal prep. You can make a big batch and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat the chilli on the hob or in the microwave and serve it with rice and tortilla chips.
You can also freeze the chilli to have a delicious meal ready in the freezer for those nights when you don’t feel like cooking. Freeze it in airtight containers or Ziploc bags for up to 3 months.
To serve the chilli after freezing, thaw it in the fridge overnight and then heat it on the hob, adding a bit of water or veggie stock if it looks too thick.
If you liked this easy aubergine chilli, have a look at some of my other easy vegan recipes:
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 large aubergine, diced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp chilli powder
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 x 400 g (14 oz) chopped tomatoes
- 1 x 400 g (14 oz) tin azduki beans, drained
- 1 x 400 g (14 oz) tin lentils, drained
- 750 ml (3 cups) vegetable stock
- Juice of 1 lime
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan that has a lid. When the oil is hot, add the diced aubergine and cook for 8-10 minutes over medium heat until slighlty charred. Remove the aubergine pieces from the pan and set them aside.
- In the same pan, heat the rest of the olive oil and fry the onion for 1 minute until slighlty softened. Add the red pepper and carrot and cook for 5-6 minutes until the veggies soften.
- Stir in the garlic and continue to cook for another minute until fragrant. Add the tomato paste, smoked paprika, ground cinnamon, ground coriander, and chilli powder and stir to combine. Mix in the Worcestershire sauce and stir until it evaporates.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and then transfer the aubergines back to the pan. Add the beans, lentils, and stock, and stir to combine. Bring the chilli to a boil, then lower the heat, cover with a lid, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasioanlly so the chilli doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Take the lid off and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes until the sauce thickens. Stir in the lime juice and season to taste. Serve over rice, accompanied by tortilla chips, if you like.
Amount Per Serving Calories 402Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 0mgSodium 924mgCarbohydrates 72gFiber 20gSugar 23gProtein 18g
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.