Mexican Chilli Beans & Jalapeno Salsa

This versatile vegetarian bean dish is inspired by the Mexican flavour of Chilli con Carne, but is a bit lighter and fresher. It can be used in exactly the same way, in tortillas, tacos, for nachos or even with rice, polenta or cornbread.

The recipe is straightforward. Make a flavour base first, before stirring through a mixture of beans. The Jalapeno salsa that accompanies the beans is super quick, with a quick blitz in the food processor and has a good punch of heat. This is a great mid-week dish to feed your family.


Mexican Chilli Beans

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large red onion, finely chopped

2 medium red capsicums, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

stems of a bunch of coriander, finely chopped

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp dried oregano

700g tomato passata or 800g tinned tomatoes

1 tablespoon brown sugar

3 tablespoons lime juice, plus extra to finish

400g can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

400g can black beans, drained and rinsed

400g can butter beans, drained and rinsed

salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Jalapeno Salsa

1 large bunch coriander, leaves and some stems, roughly chopped, equating to about 3/4 cup coriander (Reserve most of the stems for the beans)

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 spring onion, white and green parts

10 cherry or grape tomatoes

2 tablespoons pickled Jalapenos

1 tsp sugar

2 tablespoons lime juice

salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

to serve

finely grated cheese (Manchego or Cheddar)

Sour Cream

soft tortillas, corn chips, tacos, rice, polenta or corn bread (Take your pick!)


Mexican Chilli Beans

Heat a large saucepan over high heat. Pour in the oil, add the onion and sauté until softened and charred in places. Add the red capsicum, then pan-fry until very soft. Add in the garlic and chilli and stir for a minute. Turn the heat down if needed, to prevent it from burning. Spoon in all the spices and herbs and stir through to toast for a minute.

Pour in the tomato passata, brown sugar and lime juice. Turn up the heat and pour in about 1 litre of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and reduce, stirring every so often for about 46 minutes until well cooked and thickened. If the mixture is thickening too quickly, turn the heat down a little and add a little water. At the end of the 45 minutes it should be fairly thick and well flavoured. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.

Tip in the drained and rinsed beans and stir through. Cook for 10-15 minutes, adding a little water, if needed to ensure the mixture is thick, but not too dry. TIP – It should be spoonable.

Serve while hot.

Jalapeno Salsa

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until a fine sauce forms.

to serve

To serve in a flour tortilla, first spoon a generous amount of the salsa on the warmed tortilla. Scoop on some beans, then top with sour cream and grated cheese. Fold and roll up and enjoy immediately.


  • The beans can be kept in the fridge for up to few days and frozen for longer. Substitute the beans with any that you have on hand. For example, you could just use 3 cans cannellini beans.
  • The salsa can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days and is best served from fresh (not frozen).