Chili con carne: this is the easiest recipe ever – and you can go meat-free, too

This chili con carne recipe is easy and fail-safe – and you can swap out the carne for a veggie mince if it you want a meat-free meal

Chili con carne
(Image credit: Lidl)

Want a big comforting pot of food that's easy to make and will last you half the week? Chili con carne is the way to go. The perfect crowd-pleaser, it's really easy to make in one pan – and even better in a slow cooker; just throw in all the ingredients in the morning and come back to dinner in the evening. 

This recipe is tasty but seriously simple – and if you're not a meat-eater, you can swap out the mince for a meat-free alternative, and still get great results. In fact, most people won't even notice they've gone veggie for a meal. Better still? You can use the leftovers for days and they'll still taste great: put them in jacket potatoes, pitta and fajitas for a days' worth of dinners. 

For more great food ideas, don't miss our dedicated recipe page.

  • Thanks to Lidl for this recipe

How to make chili con carne

(Image credit: Lidl)

Ingredients:

  • 600g steak mince (or a vegetarian alternative)
  • One to two garlic cloves, minced 
  • Two tins chopped tomatoes 
  • One tin kidney beans, rinsed 
  • One packet chili con carne seasoning 
  • One onion, finely chopped 
  • Half a pack of coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped 
  • One pepper, finely chopped 
  • Two beef stock cubes, made up into 380ml stock 
  • Two to three spring onions, finely chopped 
  • 300g long grain rice 
  • Oil

Method:

1. Pour 2 tbsp oil into a large non-stick pot (not frying pan, unless it's deep), and gently fry the onions for a few minutes; add garlic, and cook until soft, being careful not to burn the either.

2. Add the mince to the pan and cook for a few minutes until browned. If you are cooking with vegetarian mince, you can skip the browning step. 

3. Put the peppers into the pan and add the seasoning, too, and stir to mix well. If you don't have seasoning, you can sprinkle in chili flakes to taste (like it hot? Half a teaspoon upwards will suit; if you don't like it hot – be more cautious) or chopped, fresh chili. It's difficult to get the latter right in terms of quantities, but we'd suggest starting with a maximum quarter of a teaspoon and tasting as the chili stews to see if you need to add more. 

4. Want to up your veg quota? We add finely chopped carrots in now – they'll disappear into the chili mix so won't start veg-phobic children, and they'll also make it go further.

5. Once the mince is well combined with the other ingredients, add the chopped tomatoes, coriander stalks, beef stock and the kidney beans. Stir thoroughly and bring it to a gentle boil. Want a more tomato-y mix? We like to add a good squirt of tomato pureé now too.

6. Reduce the heat down to a gentle simmer, and cook with the lid on for 25 minutes. You can, of course, cook it for longer – just keep an eye on it so that it doesn't dry out; if it does, add more stock. About 15 minutes before you're ready to serve, add the kidney beans.

7. While the chili is cooking – and with 10 minutes to go before you're ready to serve – cook the rice and chop up the rest of the coriander leaves and the spring onions.

8. Serve the chili over the rice with a sprinkle of chopped coriander leaves and the spring onions.

9. Sides? We love a good dollop of soured cream on the side, another dollop of mango chutney (random but it works!) and – for the younger members of the family who need convincing – grated cheese...

Read more: