I’m feeling rather pleased with myself as I write this, I must say, and for several reasons. Although, the main one being that my meat-eating family love this dish and from looks alone you cannot tell this isn’t regular meaty mince. On the taste, they said you can tell it’s plant-based but that this was not a bad thing at all. I pressed them for more comments on this recipe and they happily went back spoonful after spoonful. I had been wary about cooking with Sunflower Mince for them, but I am proud to report that they will be enjoying this with me next time and have a portion saved in the freezer.
So, what is it? Made from 100% organic sunflower seeds, this mince offers a meatless and soya free alternative to meat. This natural protein is also packed with fibre and it easy to use as there is no need to pre-soak the pieces.
I had never even heard of Sunflower Mince until a couple of months ago when I came across Sunflower Family UK at a local vegan fair. Positioned in between vegan café stalls, plant-power t-shirts and various beauty products, this unassuming little stall signposted for “bloggers” with the classic Instagram logo. It was time I introduced myself.
The mother-daughter duo who ran the stall were so friendly and so after receiving a box of the mince, we exchanged Instagram handles and I got to work. At this time, the company hadn’t branched much outside of Germany so all the instructions and previous recipes on their blog were, obviously, in German. Challenge accepted, I got out google translate and worked out a few ways I could cook with it. I first made burgers, but I annoyingly didn’t write out a recipe so I’ll have to leave you waiting for that one.
However, I am happy to say that I most definitely did write down the recipe for my Sunflower Mince and Kidney Bean Chilli and it is delicious. It couldn’t be simpler to make and is a perfect replica of a step-by-step recipe you’d come across when cooking meat. I add the Sunflower Mince to a spiced and fragrant onion and pepper mix and the dry, pellet like mince granules absorb all the flavour and the tinned tomatoes. Left to simmer and thicken, the mince continues to swell and take on a wonderful texture that goes so well with the rich sauce. I’ve added my secret ingredient, too, for a real depth of flavour to this chilli: raw cacao powder. There’s something about the dark chocolate taste that will always work beautifully with chilli and tomatoes. All in all, it is a crowd-pleasing, batch-cooking, time-efficient meal that will leave you feeling heartily satisfied, wholesome and nourished.
Serve this Sunflower Mince and Kidney Bean Chilli with brown rice, or any other cooked grain and for an extra special meal, bake up a batch of my Vegan Black Bean and Sweet Cornbread. I like to also enjoy mine with some cubes of avocado, slices of spring onion and some coconut yoghurt drizzled on top.
Sunflower Mince and Kidney Bean Chilli
A warming, hearty and comforting vegan-friendly chilli packed with vegetables.
- Olive or hemp seed oil
- 1 white onion, small dice
- 1 ½ bell peppers (any colour), small dice
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper**
- 1 x 76g pack sunflower mince*
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g)
- 3 tbsp tomato puree
- 400ml stock
- 1 tsp brown rise miso paste, optional
- 1 tsp harissa paste, optional
- 1 tin kidney beans, drained (240g drained weight)
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 tbsp raw cacao powder**
- To serve: brown rice or other cooked grain, cornbread, chilli flakes, avocado cubes, spring onion slices, coconut yoghurt
- Heat a large drizzle of olive in a large saucepan and fry off the onion and pepper for about 10 minutes until soft and caramelised. Add in the dried spices and garlic and fry for another minute or so, until fragrant.
- Stir in the sunflower mince, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, stock, brown rice miso paste and harissa paste, if using. Stir well, coven and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, season to taste with salt and black pepper and allow to simmer for 10 minutes with a lid on.
- Add the kidney beans to the sunflower mince chilli, stir again and taste for seasoning. Continue to simmer for about 20 minutes to allow the sauce thicken. Stir in the raw cacao halfway through this time.
- In the meantime, cook your grain of choice and prepare your toppings.
- Serve warm in bowls with your chosen side dishes. This chilli will last for up to 3 days in the fridge and will freeze well in portions.
*If you cannot find Sunflower Mince I recommend trying soya mince in this recipe instead, although I cannot guarantee the volume required.
**Sunflower Family avoid chilli and chocolate so feel free to leave out the cayenne pepper and swap the cacao for carob although I have not tried this myself.
I really look forward to hearing what you think of Sunflower Mince as a great alternative to meat and hope to see your re-creations of my Sunflower Mince and Kidney Bean Chilli on social media. Leave a comment below and tag me in your chilli – I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy.
With chilli love x