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Tropical Leaves

Chilli Con Carne 

This is another recipe in celebration of National 'Heart Month' - and its a gooden. Chilli Con Carne is often a classic dish in a lot of households, however I have adapted this recipe it so it has plenty of fibre - by adding lots of vegetables and beans & pulses and reduced the saturated fat content - all in the name of eating better for your heart (and plenty of other health benefits too). I do this dish in the slow cooker but it can also be cooked on the hob. 

Ingredients (Serves 6):

For the Chilli:

  • Rapeseed oil - I used a spray oil but up to 1 tablespoon if you are pouring from a bottle

  • 500g 5% fat minced beef 

  • 1 red onion - finely diced

  • 1 red pepper - diced 

  • 1 orange pepper (but choose whichever colour you have/prefer) - diced 

  • 150g button mushrooms - cut into quarters 

  • 2 cloves of garlic - finely chopped 

  • Half a chopped chilli (or more if you like it spicy)

  • 1 beef stock pot

  • 1 tablespoon of Worcester sauce 

  • 1 tin of kidney beans (400g tin)

  • 100g pearl barley

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil 

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano 

  • Salt & pepper for seasoning

  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes (400g tin)

  • 75g long grain rice per person (choosing brown rice will increase your fibre intake even more if you wish)

  • Chopped coriander to serve

For the side salad:

  • 400g cherry tomatoes - chopped into quarters

  • 4 spring onions - finely sliced

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • A handful of chopped coriander 

Additional extras if you wish:

  • 1 tablespoon of reduced fat creme fraiche 

  • A handlful of grated reduced fat cheddar cheese 


  • Turn the hob onto a medium heat and spray/add the oil to a large frying pan.

  • Once hot, add the onion, pepper, chilli & garlic and cook for approximately 5 minutes until soft. 

  • Add the minced beef - break down and cook until the mince is brown. 

  • Add the mushrooms, beef stock pot, Worcester sauce, pearl barley & dried herbs and mixed together. 

  • Add the chopped tomatoes and mix together (again). 

  • Season to taste. 

  • At this point if you want to cook it in the slow cooker, add the combined ingredients and switch on to low for 6-8 hours. Alternatively if you want to continue on the hob, turn the heat down to low and leave it to simmer for approximately 1 hour. 

  • 30 minutes before serving, wash the kidney beans in a colander and add to the dish and mix together.

  • Combined the side salad ingredients. 

  • Follow the instructions on your rice packet to cook your rice - generally rice takes about 20 minutes to cook.

  • Serve each person a portion of rice, chilli & salad. Creme fraiche or a sprinkling of cheddar cheese are both great additions if you wish. 

In this recipe the onion, peppers, mushrooms, chilli, kidney beans, pearl barley, chopped tomatoes, cherry tomatoes & spring onions are all sources of fibre - so plenty of it in this dish! I have recommended using a rapeseed oil, as it is a source of unsaturated fat (monounsaturated to be precise), which is better for your heart health than saturated fat. Minced beef can be high in saturated fat, however choosing the 5% fat version is a great way of cutting this down. 


For those with allergies/ intolerances/ dietary exclusions, here are some suggestions on how to adapt the recipe for your requirements*:

  • Dairy allergy - avoid the creme fraiche & cheddar cheese. 

  • Lactose intolerance -  if you stick with the portion of creme fraiche that I have suggested, even with a lactose intolerance you should be able to have this due to the low lactose content. 

  • Coeliac disease - swap the pearl barley for another tin of beans and check the stock pot & Worcester sauce labels (the stock pot I have used is gluten free but the Worcester sauce contains barley). Try and find a gluten free version or leave out the recipe.  

  • Low FODMAP diet - use a garlic infused oil instead of rapeseed oil & do not add the garlic cloves. Swap the red onion for 1 teaspoon of asafoetida powder. Swap the mushrooms for a diced courgette. Check the stock pot label to ensure that it does not contain any onion or garlic seasoning. Avoid the pearl barley. For the amount of kidney beans that the dish contains per portion, this amount should be tolerated - washing the kidney beans before adding them to the dish helps to reduce the FODMAP content. Only use the green part of the spring onion. As above, the creme fraiche should be tolerated in this portion. 

*Always check food labels for allergens before using ingredients. 

Tropical Leaves
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