Niomi Smart’s Mexican chili bowl on Valentine’s Day


Whether you’ve endured love, friendship, a heartbreak or a toothache this Valentine’s Day, I hope that everybody had a wonderful day. Valentine’s day is one of my favorite celebrations. Not because of large capitalist corporations claiming that “their R4000 Spa package is the best way to show you care this Valentine’s Day”, but because it is a day to be creative and show your loved ones just how much you appreciate them. Since my significant other wasn’t too impressed with his cut-out card and half-eaten chocolate (whoops) last year, I thought I would step it up a notch and bring out the 1970’s housewife in me and make him a scrumptious V-day meal.

Recently I’ve been trying to stick to a plant-based diet. This created a bit of a predicament as Kyle (the significant other), is as much of a herbivore as Fred Flintstone.  So, I knew that I had to create something that would tickle his taste buds, but also save all the animals. Needless to say, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to open up my trusty Eat Smart cookbook. As if it were fate, the first page I opened happened to be a plant-based Mexican Chilli dish. There are three things Kyle loves most in life – his Ukelele (otherwise known as ‘the other woman’ he spends so much time with it), rugby and Mexican food. So, thank you Niomi Smart, for creating the perfect compromise for Kyle and I on Valentine’s day.

I decided to try something a little different for this cooking post by creating a short (but sweet) video so that you can all see just how simple and fun this dish is to make.

Here it is! (My first attempt so please be kind!)

What you’ll need: 

  • 1 onion
  • 1tsp coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 6 button mushrooms
  • 60ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp yeast extract
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tin kidney beans (drained)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 150g quinoa
  • 1/2 vegetable stock cube
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • One avocado

Step by step guide: 

Step 1: Dice the onion and fry in coconut oil until golden brown.  Add the crushed garlic and fry for a few more minutes.


Step 2: Chop up the red pepper, and mushrooms and add to the onion. Also add the crushed garlic, veg stock, and yeast extract. Simmer these ingredients for 5 more mins.


Step 3: Add the tin tomatoes, tomato purée, and kidney beans. Thow in the bay leaf and the listed herbs. finish off by seasoning with a dash of salt and pepper. Bring pot to the boil and then simmer for 15-20 mins.


Step 4: This step is optional. You may choose to just have corn tacos or some wild basmati rice. I was pretty hungry this day so I chose to make quinoa and bought some hardshell tacos from Woolworths SA.


To make the quinoa, add two cups of water to one cup of quinoa. Add the vegetable stock cube and simmer until all the water is absorbed.

Step 5: I also decided to make my own simple guacamole. It complemented the dish really well. Simply, mash up one avocado, add a tablespoon of lemon juice and a dash of black pepper.


Step 6: This step is up to you! I chose to mix the quinoa into the pot and serve in the taco shells with a big dollop of guacamole on top.

Step 7: Devour and enjoy!



Happy cooking everyone!

Love Jenna







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