A spicy, smoky, sumptuous chilli, bursting with flavour. Succulent, meaty jackfruit is bathed in spices and a rich tomato sauce, accompanied by black beans, and sweet and charred roasted squash and red pepper. Perfect for cold days, or any time you need a little comfort.
Bean chilli is absolute classic vegan fare. In the UK it seems to be the established dish to serve if you aren’t overly familiar with plant-based cooking but have to cater for a non-meat eater. Years of vegetarianism has meant that I have eaten pretty much every sort of bean in every sort of bean chilli, in almost every sort of setting. It’s a good thing I quite like bean chilli.
I’ve never actually written down a recipe for the chilli I make at home, which probably explains why it’s different every time I make it, but this iteration I thought was worth officially documenting. Jackfruit has a wonderful meaty texture and is a complete flavour sponge, making it an ideal addition to bold South American flavours. Cumin, coriander seed, smoked paprika and cayenne add some aromatic spice, accompanied by garlic, tomatoes, and chillies for that all important kick of heat. Butternut squash and red pepper are roasted to bring out their sweetness, and then the whole thing is baked in a hot oven so that the edges char and the flavours intensify.
Because this isn’t a particularly wet chilli, it can be used in loads of different ways. You could pile it on a tortilla, with rice and loads of guacamole and salsa for a banging burrito, you could stuff it into tacos, or make enchiladas (try the cheesy sauce from my macaroni cheese recipe). You could use it to make loaded nachos, or heap it onto a baked potato with a generous dollop of vegan sour cream. You could even add a little more liquid and spoon it over a mound of rice for the classic bean chilli experience.
How to make smoky jackfruit chilli
To start, pre-heat the oven and put a large saucepan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the cumin and coriander seeds and toast for a few minutes until aromatic. I much prefer using whole spices here because the flavour comes through much better, but you could also use the same amounts of ground cumin and coriander, and add them with the other spices. If you do use the seeds, once their scent starts to waft through the kitchen, tip them into a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder and grind to a coarse powder.
Return the saucepan to the heat, add a little oil, and fry the sliced onion for 10-12 minutes until soft and starting to take on a little colour. While these are frying away you can slice your garlic and chillies, and prepare the butternut squash and red pepper, by cutting them into chucks, and spreading them on a baking tray with some oil, smoked paprika and salt and pepper.
Add the garlic and chillies to the onions, and fry, stirring frequently, for a couple of minutes. Then tip in the coarsely ground cumin and coriander (or ground cumin and coriander) along with smoked paprika and cayenne pepper. Stir fry for another couple of minutes, then add a tin of chopped tomatoes, a little sugar, some salt and a teaspoon of dried oregano. Add some vegetable stock powder to the empty tomato tin and fill ¾ full with hot water. Give it a stir, then tip into the pot (the tin will be hot so use oven gloves!). You can make up 300ml of vegetable stock in a measuring jug, but I like to get the last remnants out of the tomato tin, and it saves on washing up.
Drain the jackfruit, and tip onto a chopping board. Often the core or outer edge of the jackfruit is a little tougher than the flaky petals, so cut any of these tough sections away from your jackfruit chunks, and finely slice them. You can leave the sections of petals whole as these will flake and fall apart while cooking. Tip the prepared jackfruit into your pot, give everything a good stir, and bring to the boil. Put the butternut squash and pepper into the oven at this point, and cover and simmer the chilli for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, uncover the chilli, add the black beans, and give it a good stir. You can also add some liquid smoke at this stage for some extra smoky goodness. Check on the squash and peppers; give them a shake to make sure they’re not sticking and return to the oven. Continue to cook the chilli uncovered, stirring often, for 5–10 minutes, so the liquid reduces. (A few eagle-eyed viewers might notice that in the photos I chucked the red pepper into the pot before I remembered that I was meant to be roasting it. It was still very tasty but it could have been tastier).
So here’s the slightly unusual part – take the butternut squash and peppers out of the oven, and tip the chilli on to the tray. Spread it out so the squash and peppers get mixed in and it covers the tray. You want a reasonably thin layer, so you may want to use two trays if they’re not particularly big. Return to the over for 15 minutes, then stir and re-spread and cook for another 5–10. The mixture should still be moist and the jackfruit succulent, but there’ll be little charred patches which add to the smoky flavour, and the texture of the jackfruit improves significantly.
If you want to use the chilli in tortilla wraps or tacos then it should be good to go straight from the oven. If you want a saucier chilli, then return the chilli to the pan and add a little vegetable stock until it’s your desired consistency. You could use it straight from the hob, and stir in the roasted vegetables, skipping the baking stage, but I find that both the texture and flavour benefits significantly from the extra oven-time.
If you give this recipe a try I would love to hear how you get on! You can comment below and use the star rating at the top of the post, or tag me on Instagram or Twitter @greedybearbakes.
Smoky Jackfruit Chilli With Black Beans And Roasted Butternut Squash
A spicy, smoky, sumptuous chilli, bursting with flavour
For the chilli:
- 2 tsp cumin seeds (or 2 tsp ground cumin)
- 1 tsp coriander seeds (or 1 tsp ground coriander)
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 large onion
- 4 fat garlic cloves
- 2 red chillies
- 250g butternut squash
- 1 red pepper
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 300ml vegetable stock
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1½ tsp sugar
- ¾ tsp salt
- 400g tin jackfruit
- 400g tin black beans (230g drained weight)
- ½ tsp liquid smoke (optional)
- salt and black pepper
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- small bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- vegan sour cream (I like Oatly Oat Fraîche)
- grated vegan cheese
- rice, tortilla wraps, nachos, or tacos
- Pre-heat your oven to 200C, and put a large saucepan over a medium heat. Once hot, add 2 tsp cumin seeds and 1 tsp coriander seeds to the dry pan, and toast for 2–3 mins, shaking the pan occasionally, until aromatic. Tip into a pestle and mortar or spice grinder and grind to a coarse powder. (Skip if using pre-ground spices).
- Return the pan to the heat and add 1 tbsp oil. Peel and finely slice the onion and fry for 10–12 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and starting to colour. You may need to turn the heat down a little to prevent them from burning.
- While the onion is frying, finely slice 4 large garlic cloves and 2 red chillies (de-seed for a milder chilli). Chop 1 red pepper and peel and chop 250g butternut squash into 2-3cm chunks, then spread on a large, deep, baking tray with the other 1 tbsp oil, 1 tsp smoked paprika, and a sprinkling of salt and black pepper.
- Add the garlic and red chilli to the onions, and fry for 2 mins, stirring frequently, then add the coarsely ground or pre-ground cumin and coriander, along with the remaining 2 tsp smoked paprika and ½ tsp cayenne. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly, then tip in 1 tin chopped tomatoes. Add a vegetable stock cube or a generous teaspoon of stock powder to the empty tin, and fill ¾ full with hot water (this is approx 300ml stock). Stir and add to the pan, along with 1 tsp dried oregano, 1½ tsp sugar and ¾ tsp salt.
- Drain the tin of jackfruit, slice off any tough sections of core from the jackfruit chunks and slice these finely, then add it all to the pan. Bring to the boil, then cover and turn the heat down to medium–low. Put the butternut squash and pepper in the oven to roast, while the jackfruit simmers away. After 15 minutes, remove the lid, add 1 tin drained black beans and ½ tsp liquid smoke (if using), and cook for another 5–10 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated*.
- Take the tray with the roasted squash and pepper out of the oven, and tip the chilli onto the tray, mixing everything together. You want a nice thin layer of chilli so you may want to use two trays. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then mix everything again and return to the oven for another 5–10 minutes, depending on how charred you like everything to be.
- If you want a more saucy chilli, put everything back in the pan and add a little more vegetable stock until the mixture if your desired consistency. Otherwise serve immediately in tortillas, tacos, on nachos, or heaped on a baked potato. Will keep in the fridge for 5 days or so.