Low Fat Chilli con Carne

Low Fat Chilli con Carne Recipe – all the flavour, half the fat!

This dish is a great favourite in my household where spicy food is enjoyed by all!  To taylor it to suit other palates adjust the chilli powder as suggested.  For those who like it extra hot, a garnish of finely chopped fresh chilli will liven it up a treat!

Reducing the meat content of this dish is a great way to reduce the fat and save on calories. Not only do the green lentils have a great mince like texture when combined in this way, they and the kidney beans are super low fat and high in soluble fibre which is known to help make you feel fuller for longer. Extra vegetables add lots of flavour and help count towards your 5 a day. For extra low fat options, try having very low fat cream cheese (like Quark, or supermarket own brand) or cottage cheese with it instead of sour cream and swap you usual guacamole for a fresh tomato salsa.

On a culinary note, adding the wine with the mince is a trick taught to me by an old friend. I find this helps to break up the mince and prevents it from forming lumps and getting tough in the cooking process but if you prefer to brown your mince before adding the wine, feel free!

Ingredients – serves 2-3

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder (or 1 level tbsp if you only have mild)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ glass of red wine
  • 250g extra lean minced beef steak
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp dried mixed herbs
  • a good grinding of black pepper
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 410g can red kidney beans
  • 410g can green lentils


  1. Dice the onion and peppers and add to the oil over a medium heat. Cover and cook until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the garlic, cumin, paprika and chilli powder, stir and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the mince and red wine and stir until the mince is well broken up. Allow the mince to braise in the red wine and veg juices until it begins to cook through.
  4. Crumble in the stock cube, add the can of chopped tomatoes mixed herbs, pepper and tomato purée and stir the sauce well.
  5. Bring the whole thing to the boil, give it a good stir and cover. Turn down the heat until it is gently simmering and leave it for 20 minutes. Check on the pan occasionally to stir it and make sure the sauce doesn’t catch on the bottom. If it looks like it’s drying out, add a couple of tablespoons of water and make sure that the heat really is low enough.
  6. Bring on the pulses! Drain and rinse the beans and lentils in a sieve and stir them into the chilli pot. Bring to the boil again, and gently simmer without the lid for another 10 minutes, adding a little more water if it looks too dry.
  7. Serve with steamed or boiled rice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *