Chickpea Chilli Con Carne

There’s something comforting about coming home and knowing that you’ve got a tub of something in the freezer that you can just stick in the microwave and you can eat straight away. And my Chickpea Chilli con Carne is just that!

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Cooking large batches and storing it away is a great way to save money and prevent food waste. As a student, you have to find innovative ways to use up things in your vegetable box in the fridge and cans from the cupboard; chickpeas and carrots in a chilli might be somewhat unconventional but it works!

I counted the cost for the 1 meal and the 2 tubs that I made and it originally came to £1.06 per tub. But the tubs each gave me 2 meals and so realistically, the price of this chilli per portion is £0.64. I served this chilli in 2 ways, firstly with rice and a good dollop of sour cream, bringing the price up to £0.79 per person, and secondly with homemade tortilla chips and lettuce leaves (the recipe for the tortilla chips you can find by clicking here!) which brought the price up to £0.76 per person.

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With nutritional fibre and protein in the chickpeas and plenty of vegetables, this is a great way to boost your vegetable intake. I use both dried chilli flakes and chilli powder to provide heat in the chilli. And using what I had in the cupboard, I used a 500g jar of Bolognese to create the sauce to which I added plenty of spices to take away that pasta sauce flavour. And I didn’t have any onions at home so I just used the vegetables I had in the fridge but feel free to saute or sweat the onions to begin with.


1 tbsp sunflower oil

1 carrot, finely diced

1 green pepper, diced

500g beef mince

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp dried chilli flakes

1 tsp chilli powder (you can add more to suit your liking!)

100g tinned sweetcorn

1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained

1 x 500g jar of Bolognese sauce

Cornflour, to thicken

1 large tomato

Salt and pepper


In a large saucepan or wok, pour in the oil over a medium heat and cook the carrots and pepper until softened. Add in the beef mince all at once and start to break it up into pieces, whilst allowing it to brown slightly too. Stir occasionally and season.

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Add in all of the spices at this stage along with all of the sweetcorn and chickpeas and continue to mix and cook until everything is coated in the spices and leave for 5 minutes on a lower heat.

Add in the jar of Bolognese sauce and fill the jar up to halfway with water, swill and pour in the contents into the pan. Remove 4 tablespoons of the liquid and add 2 tablespoons of cornflour and create a slurry (mix the liquid with the cornflour) and add back into the pan and mix it through. This will thicken your sauce.

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Allow the chilli to boil on a high heat with no lid on for around 5 minutes until some of the water evaporates away, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile chop up a tomato into around 1 inch pieces and scatter on the surface of the chilli and allow those to cook and soften.

Give everything a good mix and leave for a further 5 minutes to thicken up. Taste and adjust the heat to your liking, adding in some sour cream if it’s too spicy.

To serve, spoon over the chilli over some rice and serve with sour cream or serve with homemade Paprika Cumin Tortilla Chips to help scoop up the delicious chilli!

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