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Quick black bean chilli

Diana Henry / 01 December 2015

Diana Henry's quick black bean chilli recipe is ideal for using up store cupboard staples.

Quick black bean chilli
Diana Henry's quick black bean chilli. Photograph by Laura Edwards, food styling by Joss Herd.

Cooking time

50 minutes




  • 1/2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 red pepper, halved, deseeded and cut into cubes
  • 225g (8oz) butternut squash, peeled and deseeded
  • 1 red chilli, halved, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp plain flour
  • ½ x 400g tin cherry tomatoes
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) vegetable stock or water
  • 3 tsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp soft light-brown sugar
  • 1 x 400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1½ tbsp chopped coriander

To serve

  • Sliced avocado
  • Chopped spring onion
  • Wedges of lime


Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the onion over a medium heat until soft and golden. Add the pepper and butternut squash and cook on a medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until just softening. 

Add the chilli, garlic, cumin and oregano and cook for a further minute. 

Stir in the flour and cook for about 30 seconds, then add the tinned tomatoes, stock or water, tomato purée and sugar. Season. 

Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and cook, covered, over a low heat for about 20 minutes. The pumpkin should be tender.

Stir in the drained, rinsed beans. The mixture should be thick but not dry – you may have to add a little more water or stock. Season well. 

Bring to a boil again, then turn down the heat and cook, covered, over a low heat for about 10 minutes. The beans shouldn't fall apart during this time – they just need to soak up the flavours around them - so check to see that they’re okay. 

Stir in the chopped coriander and check the seasoning.

Serve with boiled rice – brown or white – or warm tortillas, with avocado, chopped spring onions and wedges of lime. Sour cream and or grated Wensleydale or Lancashire cheese or crumbled feta also work well.


This recipe does leave you with half a tin of tomatoes but that’s roughly what I use for a tomato sauce for two anyway. Or you can just double the recipe and put a batch in the freezer – it freezes well.

See our collection of Mexican recipes for more kitchen inspiration.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.