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Main Dishes

This week is Meat Free Week here in Australia so I am posting a delicious smoky, hearty chili recipe that even the biggest meat eater will love!  I adapted this recipe from a cookbook called Spilling the Beans. The use of chipotle in adobo sauce gives it a smoky flavour, which when combined with beans makes an excellent meat substitute. Chipotles are smoke-dried jalapeño chilies. Here in Australia you can find cans of chipotle in adobo sauce from specialty fruit and veg shops.

This dish is so nutritious as it is contains capsicum (red bell pepper) which is loaded with vitamin C, sweet potato which is full of beta carotene, and most importantly beans. Beans and other legumes are so important for good health as they are packed with fibre, protein, B vitamins, folate, iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc and magnesium. Beans are especially important for maintaining blood sugar levels as they are among the lowest glycemic index (GI) foods, and they are high in soluble fibre which helps slow down the rate nutrients are absorbed into the body. In 2012, a 12 week intervention was done on people with type 2 diabetes who had their diet supplemented with a cup of beans a day. The results? Lower heart rate, lower blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol, lower triglycerides, and lower blood sugar. See the study here.


In fact, did you know that legume consumption is the most important dietary predictor of survival of older populations regardless of their ethnicity? See that study here.

The cornbread recipe is so moist and delicious and it has a hint of coconut flavour from the coconut oil. It is a whole grain dish as it includes polenta and wholemeal flour, however, it does contain sugar so keep your portion sizes small!

For The Chili


  • 1 tbls extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 onion minced

  • 1 red capsicum (red bell pepper) seeded and chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves minced

  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

  • 28oz (796mL) canned diced or whole tomatoes

  • 2 cups canned black beans rinsed (try to find bpa-free cans)

  • 2 cups canned red kidney beans rinsed (bpa free)

  • 10oz (284mL) vegetable broth (I use Massel brand)

  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder or other chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

  • 1 tablespoon canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt



In a large heavy pot over medium high heat, drizzle olive oil and saute onion and capsicum (red pepper) for 5 minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in sweet potato, tomatoes, beans, broth, chili powder, maple syrup, chipotle, cumin and salt. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes until sweet potato has softened. Serve hot over a bed of brown rice with a slice of cornbread.

For the Coconut Cornbread


  • 125 grams (1 cup) wholemeal flour

  • 120 grams (3/4 cup) polenta or yellow cornmeal

  • 135 grams (2/3 cup) sugar

  • 6 grams (1 teaspoon) salt

  • 15 grams (3 1/4 teaspoons) baking powder

  • 1 egg beaten (or vegan egg replacer to make vegan)

  • 235 mL (1 cup) milk or soymilk

  • 80 mL coconut oil melted


Preheat oven to 200 C (400 F). Lightly grease an 8 inch (roughly 20 cm) square or round cake pan with coconut oil. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients. Mix in all wet ingredients and stir until well combined. Pour batter into greased pan. Bake in oven 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes.

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