If you’re on the lookout for a super easy and smoky spiced supper, this Burnt Aubergine Chilli recipe is the one for you!
Vegan chilli doesn’t get tastier than this. Readily available ingredients, minimal prep time and delicious results. Here’s how to make this burnt aubergine veggie chilli.
Products you need for this recipe
There are some important ingredients for this veggie chilli recipe:
- Dark chocolate – good quality dark chocolate works so well in this dish, trust me!
- Chilli powder – because it’s not ‘chilli’ without chilli!
- Dried oregano – it’s such a versatile herb and works really well with the spices in this recipe
- Ground cumin – warm, earthy and aromatic, with a bittersweet flavour, cumin makes this chilli extra special
- Smoked paprika – go for hot paprika if you want some extra heat or sweet paprika for a more rounded, subtle smokiness
- Ground coriander – the aromatic earthiness of coriander brings so much to this dish
- Ground cinnamon – the subtly sweet warmth of cinnamon works so well in this recipe. Try to find ceylon cinnamon, as it’s a cut above
- Dried green lentils – the earthy taste of lentils are the unsung hero of this dish. They really help the spices come through
- Molasses – the warm, sweet, smoky flavour of molasses gives this dish a real depth of flavour
Burnt aubergine veggie chilli recipe
Who doesn’t love a chilli con carne? Vegans and vegetarians, that’s who. Fear not… all it takes is a little bit of imagination to come up with a chilli sin carne recipe to blow your socks off.
This recipe is all about a few simple tricks to really get the flavours going. Tricks like charred aubergine. Never tried it? Ok, this is going to be interesting.
Also, for this recipe I have a bittersweet trick up my sleeve. Chocolate. Yes, you read that right. CHOCOLATE!
Chocolate in a chilli? Are you serious?
Adding chocolate to this burnt aubergine veggie chilli brings a whole new dimension of flavour. In the absence of meat, it does so much as for the all-round richness of the dish, helping to bring out the savoury flavours and spices.
Of course, we’re not talking about half a jar of Nutella here. Save that to accompany a late night Netflix binge.
For this recipe, the addition of chocolate is all about subtlety. With just a hint of good quality dark chocolate, you’ll totally transform this chilli into something really special.
What happens when you burn aubergine?
Have you ever heard of the maillard reaction? It’s basically a chemical reaction between the reducing sugars and the amino acids in the food. It’s what gives browned food that incredible flavour.
Different foods react in different ways to being cooked on a high heat. Meat is obviously amazing when browned (sorry vegans and veggies, it’s true). Lots of vegetables are too and none more so than aubergine.
When you burn aubergine, that big plump purple vegetable collapses. You’re left with a shrunken vegetable with cracked skin. Peel that skin, however, and you’ll uncover the most delicious, smoky creamy inside. It’s absolutely divine!
What lentils work best in this dish?
I’ve gone with dried green lentils. You can also use puy lentils or brown lentils.
What beans work best in this dish?
For me, red kidney beans work best.
What to serve with this dish
Keep it simple and serve hot over rice, with whichever accompaniments – think coriander leaves, sour cream, sliced avocado or grated cheddar.
Brown rice or basmati rice are best.
More glorious aubergine recipes
Want to explore this underrated vegetable? There are so many amazing ways with aubergine. Here are just a few:
- Japanese miso eggplant – beautiful umami flavours that will send your taste buds into overdrive
- Melitzanosalata – a traditional Greek dip that uses charred aubergines to great effect. Like this burnt aubergine veggie chilli, you place the aubergine onto a lit ring to char completely, before whizzing it up in a food processor with garlic, oil and herbs
- Mutabal – a Middle Eastern marvel, this dip is ridiculously easy to make and tastes absolutely fantastic!
- Masala grilled aubergine – healthy, delicious and simple, this is an Indian starter you HAVE to try
- Brinjal bhaji – a delicious healthy curry, this recipe proves that aubergine can be a star ingredient
- Vegan aubergine recipes – vegans rejoice! These vegan aubergine recipes are so good you’ll be serving up seconds
Burnt Aubergine Chilli Recipe
- Total Time: 2 hour 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Diet: Vegan
This Burnt Aubergine Chilli is vegan, healthy and easy to prepare - a perfect treat to warm your taste buds. Serve with rice and avo.
- 2 aubergines
- 15ml (1 tbsp) olive oil
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 150g (¾ cup) dried green lentils, rinsed
- 400g (14oz can) kidney beans, drained
- 45ml (3 tbsp) molasses
- 400g (14oz can) chopped tomatoes
- 25g (1oz) 100% dark chocolate, chopped
- 1g (¼ tsp) chilli powder
- 2g (2 tsp) dried oregano
- 4g (2 tsp) ground cumin
- 4g (2 tsp) smoked paprika
- 2g (1 tsp) ground coriander
- 2g (1 tsp) ground cinnamon
- 750ml (3 cups) vegetable stock
- 1 lime, juiced
- brown rice
- sour cream
- grated cheddar
- coriander leaves
- For the Burnt Aubergines: Place each eggplant on a gas hob and turn a quarter every 5 minutes. The process should take 20-30 minutes in order for the eggplants to be completely charred all over and completely cooked through. They will have a “collapsed” appearance.
- Remove from the heat and set aside to completely cool down. Once cool enough to handle, peel off all the blackened skin until you’re left with just the flesh. (You might need to rinse off the last black bits under running water. Pat dry with a paper towel afterwards.) Chop roughly and set aside.
- For the Vegan Chilli: Heat the oil in a large frying pan.
- Add the onion and carrots, and fry over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until the vegetables have softened.
- Add the aubergine, lentils, beans, molasses, tomatoes, chocolate and all the spices.
- Pour in the stock then stir well.
- Bring to the boil then lower the heat to reach a slow simmering point.
- Cover with a lid and cook for 1½ hours. Check in every now and then to stir and check the liquid level. If the chilli is looking on the dry side, add a splash of water to loosen things up.
- Remove the lid and check the consistency of the chilli. If it’s on the watery side, continue to simmer for another 15 minutes until a thick, saucy consistency is achieved.
- Stir in the lime juice and season to taste.
- Serve with accompaniments of your choice. Enjoy!
- Feel free to play around with the types of dried pulses you use in this recipe. While puy, red and green lentils don’t need soaking, other items such as chickpeas will need soaking in water the night before. Have fun playing with different combinations!
- You can use black treacle instead of molasses, which will lend a sweet flavour to the chilli. If you prefer saltier undertones, use soy sauce instead.
- This recipe can easily be frozen if you decide to batch cook! Check out my guide on freezing chilli.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Boil
- Cuisine: Mexican
Keywords: burnt aubergine chilli, eggplant chili, vegan chilli recipe, lentil and eggplant chili
This sounds amazing . I have to try it !
Perfect for a hot day in the sun!
Thanks, Alexis! I can confirm it's just as good on a cold winter day too!