Veggie chilli with cornbread crust and pineapple salsa


Did you hear the recent news story that we should all be eating ten portions of fruit and veg every day? I know that a lot of people will find this really difficult and some members of my own family are no exception! With R we are lucky to get two or three portions into him.

If you're looking for a recipe that helps you go a long way to meeting that target in one meal then look no further. This vegetarian chilli contains onion, squash, pepper, carrot, beans and tomatoes and if you serve it with the pineapple salsa that's seven different fruit and veg in one meal. Of course, you would need to eat exactly 80g of each (that's for an adult) for it to count towards your ten a day target but let's not dwell on that!


You can easily make this chilli without the cornbread crust to speed it up - it's delicious served with rice or over a baked potato (perhaps a baked sweet potato to help you get to ten a day!). However, I do think the cornbread crust makes it even more delicious and it's not that hard to make. The chilli on its own freezes beautifully and is easy to double up so you have a portion stashed away in the freezer for one of those days. And the same goes for the pineapple salsa, it's by no means essential but it does add a lovely sweetness to the meal, which can help if your child is reluctant to try the chilli. It's also delicious with guacamole on the side.


Here's how to make vegetarian chilli with cornbread crust and pineapple salsa

Ingredients (serves four adults)

For the chilli
Olive oil
Half a small butternut squash, peeled and diced (around 400g)
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp mild chilli powder (optional)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp dried oregano
1 red pepper, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
2 x 400g tins of beans (I used black beans and kidney beans), drained
Salt and pepper (optional, to taste)

For the cornbread crust
110g coarse cornmeal or polenta
35g strong white bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
225g natural yoghurt
1 medium egg

For the pineapple salsa
200g fresh pineapple, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 red chilli, chopped (optional)
Juice of one lime
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Salt, (optional, to taste)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan)/200°C/gas mark 6. Place the diced butternut squash in a roasting dish, drizzle with olive oil and roast for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Remove from the oven when cooked.
2. Heat a little olive oil in a large ovenproof saucepan (if you don't have one you can transfer to an ovenproof dish later). Add the onion, stir well, then reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and sweat for 10-15 minutes until soft. Remove the lid then add the garlic, herbs and spices. Cook for one more minute, then add the pepper and carrot. Cover with the lid again and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the carrot is beginning to soften.
3. Add the beans and the chopped tomatoes and stir in the butternut squash once cooked. You may need to add a little water as well if it looks dry. 
4. Cook over a low heat for an extra 10 minutes - or as long as you like. This dish improves in flavour the longer you leave it. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. While it's bubbling away make the cornbread crust. Place the polenta, flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda in a mixing bowl and whisk to remove any lumps. In a separate bowl beat the egg and beat in the yoghurt. When you are ready to bake, mix the two together and pour over the top of the chilli. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and a knife inserted in the crust comes out clean. NB: if you transfer the chilli to a shallow dish you may need to make extra crust to cover the whole of the top.
6. While the crust is baking make the pineapple salsa. It really is as simple as mixing everything together in a bowl. Red chilli looks lovely with it, but I usually leave this off so the kids can eat some.

NB: The cornbread crust recipe is adapted from a cornbread recipe from Dan Lepard's Short and Sweet book.

Veggie chilli with cornbread crust pineapple salsa vegetarian recipe

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