Mixed bean chili

This dish is so jam packed full of nutrients that it would be difficult to dream up a healthier dish to serve to your little ones (and big ones). With 5 different types of veg, iron from the spinach and anthocyanin from the kidney beans and black beans it’s pretty difficult to beat.

Provided that your littlest one has already mastered the pincer grasp (usually at around 8-10 months old) this dish makes a super baby-led weaning dish. I cook the beans for longer than recommended on the packet as I found that slightly softer beans are easier for Little Chickpea to manage.

Taste wise I think that it easily gives its meaty rival, chili con carne, a good run for it’s money and the added beans ensure that you won’t be missing out on your protein quota by going veggie.

Adding quinoa to the dish was a game changer for me. I used to serve chili with rice but with the quinoa already cooked into the dish you don’t feel the need to serve with any sides. Double win!

I don’t think you need any more reasons to want to try out this super family dinner recipe. Enjoy!


Ingredients (makes 6-8 portions):

  • 1/2 cup dried kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup black bean
  • 1/4 cup cannellili beans
  • 1/4 cup butter beans
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes + 3 cups water
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 peppers
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 leek
  • large handful of spinach (or 100g frozen spinach)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil


  • If using dried beans soak in water overnight.
  • Boil the beans in water for 45 min, you could add bouquet garni at this stage for added flavour if you wish.
  • Chop the onion, peppers, leeks, celery and garlic and add to a separate large pan with 1 tbsp oil (olive or rapeseed)
  • Heat the veggies whilst stirring for 5-6 min before adding the herbs, the tinned chopped tomatoes and cups of water.
  • When time is up on the beans drain and add to the pan with the veggies and tomato sauce.
  • Let the dish simmer away for 30 min before adding the quinoa (Ensure there is enough liquid left when you add the grains considering that they tend to double in size as they cook).
  • 5 min before the quinoa has finished cooking stir in the spinach.
  • (optional) When cooked spoon into bowls and top with soured cream and fresh coriander to serve.

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