I really love vegetables and I’m proud to create a chilli recipe that puts them in the centre. This fantastic chilli base is complemented with beetroot, squash and black beans. The beetroot gives an earthy sweetness and a beautiful rich purple colour, whilst the squash provides contrast in colour and texture, becoming so soft, it almost melts in your mouth. Serve it with tortilla chips, lots of optional toppings and enjoy with friends.

Chilli in a bowl topped with soured cream and corriander. Tortilla chips and guacamole are served to the side

This is a perfect weekend dish to prepare as it takes time to cook. If you don’t want to be tied to the stove, you can always pop the cooked onions, tomatoes and chili mixture in a slow cooker with the vegetables and cook it long and slow for maxium flavour release. The cooked beans are best added prior to serving so they don’t get too mushy.

Tortilla chips are great for scooping up the chilli, and it’s a great excuse to have chips for dinner! Lots of optional toppings can be added – avocado, lime, coriander, sour cream and grated cheddar cheese are my favourites. Such choice makes this a great dish to share with friends.

Dried chillies

People can often be put off by dried chillies, but don’t be. The rich, deep, smokey, chocolatey, fruity, flavour you can achieve from a selection of dried chillies is incredible. Don’t despair if you don’t have any though. You can supplement them for a jar of chipotle chilli paste and some chilli flakes/powders. Chipotle paste only contains 5 – 20 % chipotle chillies depending on the brand, but manufacturers tend to do a good job of adding fruit purees and acid to balance to heat and creating a more rounded flavour than one would get with one type of chilli. You can get away with using it at a pinch, and it is widely available in most supermarkets these days.

In this chilli I used a total of 11 chillies: 2 casabel, 2 guajillo, 3 ancho and 4 chipotle. I found this to be a nice balance of flavours without totally overpowering heat. These chillies and others are readily available in the UK from reputable online stores and they make great gifts for foodie friends! Here’s a link for these chillies casabel, guajillo, ancho, pasillo and chipotle chillies.

A selection of dried chillies on a blue plate. Contains 2 casabel, 2 guajillo, 3 ancho and 4 chipotle
Chilli in a bowl topped with soured cream and corriander. Tortilla chips and guacamole are served to the side

Ultimate vegetable chilli

A fantastic chilli base complemented with sweet, earthy beetroot, soft squash and black beans.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine British, Fusion, Mexican
Servings 8 people
Calories 237 kcal


  • Large sauce pan or slow cooker
  • Blender (optional)


  • 6 – 12 dried chillies I use a mixture of casabel, ancho, chipotle and guajillo but see notes
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 800 g tinned chopped tomatoes (2 tins)
  • 1 small bunch beetroot, peeled and chopped into 2 cm pieces
  • 1 butternut squash, or any other squash, chopped into 2 cm pieces about 800 g in total
  • 1 tin black beans, drained approximately 240 g of cooked beans if not using them from a can
  • chopped coriander, to serve
  • 1 avocado, sliced to serve
  • 1 lime, sliced to serve
  • sour cream, to serve
  • cheddar cheese, to serve


  • Place the dried chillies in a jug and pour boiling water (about 500 ml) on them and let them rehydrate for 20 – 25 minutes (you want to keep the water for later).
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan on a medium/high heat. Fry the onions for 10 – 12 minutes until they become golden brown.
  • Add the garlic and stir for a few more minutes.
  • Add cumin and tomato puree and stir for a few more minutes.
  • Add the 2 tins of chopped tomatoes and and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the water from chillies to the tomatoes
  • Take the stems out of the rehydrated chillies and place the chillies into the tomatoes. Use an immersion blender to blend into a puree. If you don't have a blender, chopping the chillies finely will be fine.
  • Add the beetroot to the tomato and chilli mixture and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add the squash and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes.
  • Add the black beans and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Season and serve in a bowl with tortilla chips, a liberal amount of chopped coriander, sour cream, slices of avocado and lime.


If you find it hard to get hold of dried chillies, you can swap these out for some chipotle chillie paste which is readily available in most supermarkets


Calories: 237kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 7gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gSodium: 166mgPotassium: 1054mgFiber: 10gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 10556IUVitamin C: 39mgCalcium: 110mgIron: 3mg
Keyword beans, beetroot, chilli, squash
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