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Vegetable Chilli with Lentils and Beans

Colourful, tasty and satisfying, this recipe uses seasonal vegetables and is good value for money.

The short cooking time retains the colour, texture and flavour of the individual ingredients.

150g cooked Puy lentils

I x 400g / 14oz can kidney beans, drained

2 tbsp sunflower oil

1 large or 2 small onions – peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic – peeled and chopped or crushed

3 red chillis – finely chopped (less if you prefer a less spicy dish)

1 teaspoon ground cumin and ground coriander

½ teaspoon paprika

2 carrots - peeled and chopped

2 red peppers – seeded and chopped

1 large or 2 small courgettes – chopped

175g / 6 oz mushrooms – wiped and quartered

2 x 400g / 14oz can chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp tomato puree

300ml / ½ pint vegetable stock (I use Marigold low salt Vegan Bouillon)

I tbsp each of fresh chopped chives and parsley

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Warm the oil in a large pan and add the onion, garlic and carrot.  Cook on a low heat for about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chilli, cumin, coriander and paprika and incorporate well.

Add the pepper, courgette, canned tomatoes, stock and tomato puree.  Bring to a slow simmer and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms, Puy lentils and kidney beans and stir well.  Once again bring to a slow simmer and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Finally add the fresh herbs, saving a few to garnish the dish before serving.

This tasty dish is a nutritionally well-balanced meal and can be served alone or with cooked wholegrain rice, couscous or a mixed seasonal salad.

Water soluble B vitamins and vitamin C are particularly sensitive to heat.  The longer the cooking process, the more of these nutrients are lost.

Fat soluble vitamins A, D and E are also reduced with heat, but are not quite as sensitive as their water-soluble friends!

The short cooking time of this recipe helps retain the properties of the antioxidant nutrients, which are all involved energy production and fighting free radicals.