5 bean chilli

This is simple, speedy and satisfying. Putting into practice what we’ve been posting about zinc and immunity this week we have a bean bonanza that’s going to hit heavy with zinc whilst leaving you feeling full and fantastic. The beans are the centre of this dish but the herbs and spices pack a punch, providing silly amounts of anti-oxidants, for just the ¼ teaspoon you add of cinnamon it has the same anti-oxidant power as about 58g of the beans you're using [1]! It’s especially vital as according to some savvy scientists ‘cells require adequate levels of antioxidant defences in order to avoid the harmful effect of an excessive production of reactive oxygen species (pro-oxidants) and to prevent damage to the immune cells’ [2]. So just like zinc, anti-oxidants help keep our immune system in tip top working order.

So be liberal with your spices and think about how you can wack some into other meals you often munch. This dish keeps well, so double (or even triple!) the ingredients to chuck some in the freezer for super efficiency. Adding a few more ingredients is so much easier than cooking a whole new chilli the following week, plus it might just help you avoid the dodgy takeaways you give into when you’re spent.


  • 1 Tin mixed beans

  • 1 Tin adzuki beans

  • 2 Tins chopped tomatoes

  • 1 Tbsp mixed herbs

  • 1 Tsp paprika

  • 1 Tsp ground coriander

  • 1 Tsp ground cumin

  • 1 Tsp chilli powder (adjust to your taste)

  • 1 Tsp cocoa powder

  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

  • 3 Garlic cloves, diced

  • 1 Onion, diced

To serve

  • Lime wedges

  • Coriander

  • Sliced spring onion

Plus your choice of

  • Cooked wholegrain pasta

  • Baked potato/sweet potato

  • Wraps



  1. Fry spices in a big ol’ pan on a medium heat for a minute or two and add then add onion for 2 mins.

  2. Onced softened, add garlic until golden brown.

  3. Drain and rinse those bad boy beans and add these plus all remaining ingredients to the pan.

  4. Cook on a medium heat for 20mins and serve with baked tatties or whatever you like.

  5. Get some fancy toppings to pretend your a pro chef; sliced spring onion, coriander and lime wedges really bring it to life.

  6. Add these infront of your guests for extra ‘pro chef’ pizazz points.

Finally, I know what you’re thinking if you looked at the photo properly, ‘pasta, with a flipping chilli, are you mad?’ Well I guess a bit but there’s good reason for this:

1. Couldn’t get hold of any rice at the moment even if we wanted to

2. Rice has high levels of arsenic in, so we always try to grab alternatives

Unfortunately, this toxic substance called arsenic easily finds its way into rice as this food is grown in flooded fields so it transfers into the rice from the soil way easier [3]. Munching lots over a long period of time increases chronic disease risk such as the worlds biggest killer, heart disease [4]. It also affects brain function in children [5] so if you have to eat it then have it little and un-often, or like us grab some pasta (if you can get your hands on any!) or a spud and you’re good as gold.

As always don’t take our word for it, have a read through some of the evidence below and always follow the advice of your health professional.


1] Carlsen MH, Halvorsen BL, Holte K, Bøhn SK, Dragland S, Sampson L, Willey C, Senoo H, Umezono Y, Sanada C, Barikmo I, Berhe N, Willett WC, Phillips KM, Jacobs DR Jr, Blomhoff R. The total antioxidant content of more than 3100 foods, beverages, spices, herbs and supplements used worldwide. Nutr J. 2010 Jan 22; 9:3.

2] A Puertollano, M., Puertollano, E., Alvarez de Cienfuegos, G. and A de Pablo, M., 2011. Dietary antioxidants: immunity and host defense. Current topics in medicinal chemistry, 11(14), pp.1752-1766.

3] Rahman, M.A. and Hasegawa, H., 2011. High levels of inorganic arsenic in rice in areas where arsenic-contaminated water is used for irrigation and cooking. Science of the Total Environment, 409(22), pp.4645-4655.

4] Balakumar, P. and Kaur, J., 2009. Arsenic exposure and cardiovascular disorders: an overview. Cardiovascular toxicology, 9(4), pp.169-176.

5] von Ehrenstein, O.S., Poddar, S., Yuan, Y., Mazumder, D.G., Eskenazi, B., Basu, A., Hira-Smith, M., Ghosh, N., Lahiri, S., Haque, R. and Ghosh, A., 2007. Children's intellectual function in relation to arsenic exposure. Epidemiology, pp.44-51.