Golden Ale Vegetarian Chilli

Vegetarian Chilli con Carne Recipe

Chilli is one of the best dishes with which to experiment – if an ingredient is dark, rich and flavourful, it can probably be put to good use in this classic American dish. Indeed, Stout Chilli was on our menu not so long ago and the intense, rich notes of the Bristol Beer Factory’s ‘Milk Stout’ resonated wonderfully with the meat. Vegetables, however, seem to work better with something lighter than stout, so it seemed only natural to develop a recipe for Golden Ale Vegetarian Chilli.

It’s not difficult to make a vegetarian chilli feel remarkably close to its meat-based counterpart – chilli con carne. A lentil here and a bay leaf there can easily be made to instil so much texture and flavour that you’ll never really notice the disappearance of your cow.

Vegetarian Chilli Recipe

Any golden, pale or brown ale will work wonders here, though a brew as strong as stout would likely upset the balance of your chilli. In fact, rather than make recommendations about the flavour profile of your chosen ale, it seems a better idea to advise you to choose a beer you already enjoy. This way, your simple vegetarian chilli will be both delicious and personal to you.

Local connection: The South West is positively teeming with fantastic ale for you to sample. As mentioned before, the Bristol Beer Factory has a fairly comprehensive range of different and wonderful ales for you to peruse. However, Bath Ales also produce some really top-notch real ales, with Gem and Barnsey leading the way. New kids on the Bristol block, Wiper and True, should also be considered – I can personally attest to the deliciousness of their intriguing and flavoursome range of beer.

Golden Ale Vegetarian Chilli

Serves 4


• 15 dried red chillies, soaked overnight and roughly chopped

• 3 onions, roughly chopped

• 2 green peppers, roughly chopped

• 2 cloves of garlic, mashed

• 3 tbsp oil

• 4 bay leaves

• 3 tsp cumin, freshly ground

• 1 500ml bottle of golden or pale ale

• 20g dark chocolate

• 2 tins of plum or chopped tomatoes

• 1 tsp tomato puree

• A generous handful of red lentils

• 1 tin of kidney beans

• 1 tin of chickpeas

• 1 tsp of salt


1. Gently fry your chillies, onions, peppers and garlic in oil for around 10 minutes – set aside the water used to soak the chillies. Add the cumin and bay leaves and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

2. Pour in the chilli water you set aside followed by the ale, chocolate, tomatoes, tomato purée and lentils. Cook for 1 hour to thicken before adding the kidney beans, chickpeas and salt. Serve with rice or flatbread.

Golden Ale Vegetarian Chilli

Cost: Vegetarian chillies are always relatively expensive and even with the addition of a bottle of ale the entire dish should set you back no more than £4.

38 comments on “Golden Ale Vegetarian Chilli

  1. countrywoodsmoke
    October 20, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Cracking recipe mate, I love a good veggie chilli, the addition of the ale and chocolate make it top notch.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 1, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      Thanks, Marcus – going to add coffee next time.

  2. Claire Bailey
    October 20, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Looks beautiful!

  3. Kier
    October 20, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    I still have not ventured to add chocolate to my chili, but I think it is about time to try it. Looks like a fantastic dish.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 1, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      Please do, it’s the best thing you can do.

  4. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
    October 20, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Love a good chilli, but have yet to make one with beer! Thanks for the suggestion!

  5. spree
    October 20, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Well, isn’t that just NUM?! Yes it is!

  6. tyrmi
    October 20, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Will make this tomorrow

  7. angelica | table twenty eight
    October 21, 2013 at 5:48 am

    Brilliant – looks delish.

  8. Bee
    October 21, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Amazing. I’m definitely trying this one out this week!

  9. spicebox travels
    October 21, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Lovely recipe!

  10. francesca
    October 21, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Big like. was looking for a nice chili recipe to introduce my very foreign boyfriend 😉

  11. Conor Bofin
    October 21, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Lovely Nick. Really lovely. I approve of the long list of ingredients, particularly the chocolate.

  12. Chica Andaluza
    October 22, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Wonderful – I think in a chili for me it’s the flavours and not the meat that are my favourite, so this would be fantastic!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 1, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      Exactly – I’m sure you’d not be disappointed.

  13. Veronica Sheppard
    October 23, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Using dark chocolate seems so smart–chili & chocolate together are one of my favourite combos. Will have to give this a try!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 1, 2013 at 3:45 pm

      They work so well, especially here. You must try it out.

  14. Skye
    October 24, 2013 at 7:03 am

    Love the idea of adding ale to chilli. Makes it so much more exciting. And a lovely warming dish for the upcoming winter season.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 1, 2013 at 3:45 pm

      It works very well indeed. It was very warming – so hot!

  15. movita beaucoup
    October 24, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Alright, you’ve captured fall in a bowl. Quit showin’ off.

    (Also: YUM.)

  16. CristineGzr
    October 26, 2013 at 11:01 am

    WOW! I made this yesterday for vegetarian friends visiting and they loved it! I added some cubed winter squash but everything thing else was according to your recipe. I really enjoyed the flavors, perfect! thank you, you also gained 2 new followers.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 1, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it – I appreciate the followers 😀

  17. Nick Jones
    November 1, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    why did you not invite me over?

  18. plain_speaker
    November 3, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Just made this – absolutely delicious!

If you like my recipes, photos or food please leave a comment here...