The Live Below The Line Challenge

Live Below the Line: Bean Chilli

Bean Chilli

This was our favourite cheap meal from last year’s challenge, so when we decided to do the same meal for all five nights this year, it was the obvious choice. A can of Sainsbury’s mixed beans in chilli sauce is £1, but it does give plenty of flavour, so I’ve mixed one of those with a can of kidney beans and a can of aduki beans to bulk it out. Then there’s plenty of chopped tomatoes and onion, also for bulk, and some tomato puree, which stops it getting too watery. As I mentioned in this post, I’m using butter for frying, as it’s cheaper and more multi-purpose, plus it gives a bit more flavour. It’s not the best bean chilli I’ve ever made, but it’s not half bad.

Want to support us? Instead of donating money, we’re going to ask that you make a commitment to donating to your local food bank. Most big supermarkets have a donation point, so all you have to do is buy something extra when you do your weekly shop – just spending £1 a week could make a huge difference.

Print Recipe
Serves: 10 Cooking Time: 1.5 hours


  • 3 large onions
  • 3 fat cloves of garlic
  • Butter, for frying
  • A can of Sainsbury’s Mixed Beans in Chilli Sauce
  • A can of Sainsbury’s Basics Kidney Beans
  • A can of Sainsbury’s Aduki Beans
  • 2 cartons of Sainsbury’s Basics Chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Sainsbury’s Tomato Puree
  • Salt, pepper & sugar (all pinched from chain cafes, and I’m not sorry)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • Serve individual portions with 100g of Sainsbury’s Basics rice per person



Start by peeling and chopping the onions and garlic, and get them sizzling in a generous scoop of melted butter. While the onion softens up, drain the kidney beans and aduki beans and give them a good rinse – do not do this with the beans in chilli sauce!


Once the onions have become nicely soft & translucent, add all the beans, the chopped tomatoes, the tomato puree, and a splash of water. Give it all a really good stir and season with a generous pinch each of salt, pepper and sugar (the sugar is to balance the tomato puree out), and a teaspoonful of curry powder. Bring the whole thing to the boil, and then turn the heat right down and put a lid on. If you can, leave it to simmer for about half an hour, and then take it off the heat and let it sit for a further half hour – this will help the flavours to develop.


Finally, cook your rice according to the instructions on the pack, and serve up with some of the bean chilli on top. Do not add a sprinkling of fresh coriander, sour cream, tortilla chips, grated cheese or a cold beer, no matter how much you want to.

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