Dinner, Lunch
Comments 3

Mushroom, Clove and Black Bean Healing Chili

I made this for my lovely partner Matt when he was suffering from a bout of what he was calling “pathetic – itus”. You know  after you exert yourself in ALL OF THE WAYS, and then suddenly have time to relax, and in that time you fall ill?

I think he was fully deserving of the time and space to go through the inevitable bout of pathetic-itus, as he had just finished a Masters degree WHILST being my rock in a long-distance relationship whilst I am grieving (if that isn’t one-in-a-million, I’m not sure what is).

I put in here what I know to be extremely healing for your body when you’re not quite at your peak: anti-fungal garlic, anti-oxidant rich mushrooms, stimulating cayenne, anti-microbial cloves and anti-bacterial red onion. ALL of the anti’s, in one hearty, delicious dish, with black beans and rice. Mmmm.


Garlic really is incredible. It’s a ‘diaphoretic’, which means it increases perspiration. When infections like colds and flu (or pathetic-itus) rise in the body, diaphoretics are invaluable as they promote the eliminations of the toxins through your sweat glands. I am forever blown away by what foods and herbs can do for us! Cayenne pepper also has this effect, which is why I added it to the chili. I just wanna make you sweat! ( Okay, that sounds so much more creepy than when the lyrics were flying around my head. I’m really sorry).

You may have used clove oil before to treat tooth ache. This is because cloves are full of eugenol which is  anti-septic and anti-inflammatory – it relieves pain and treats infections. You may also see clove oil as an ingredient in mouthwashes e.t.c because of this fact. Used in food, cloves have a similar effect. Cloves relieve upper respiratory infections (Hoffman, 1983), improve your digestion and as they are an anti-inflammatory, eaten regularly (along with other anti-inflammatory foods), they may keep you in good health in general.

The word “superfood” is being flung around an awful lot these days, and it seems that most fruits and vegetables are now being labelled as ‘superfoods’, the prices are being hacked up and we’re all buying into it. In my opinion, if you already eat a plant based, wholesome, balanced diet, you needn’t worry about making up for anything with said ‘superfoods’. Just eat lots of greens and vegetables and you’re laughing. Mushrooms are now labelled as a superfood, with things like chaga and shiitake mushrooms being sold for around £6/100g. It is really tempting to buy into these things with all of the promised optimal health benefits, but be rest assured that simple old chestnut mushrooms are just as good for you, full of anti-oxidants and easier on the wallet.
The anti-oxidant that brown mushrooms are high in is called ‘ L-Ergothioneine’ (Hargreaves, 2008), which fights cell damaging free radicals and boosts your immune system. Perfect.

All in all, this is a meal that is not only hearty, warming, delicious and meaty (yay for us veggies and vegans!), it has numerous benefits for your health and will give that pathetic-itus a good kick up the bum.


  • 1 tbsp ghee (you could also use butter or olive oil to make it vegan)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 150g chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 1 tin black beans
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • brown/red/wild rice (I used red camargue and wild rice)
  • 200ml hot water
  • 3 cloves, mashed into a fine powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp of cayenne
  • 2 leaves of fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/3 vegetable stock cube
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • To garnish: 1 green onion, chopped


  1. Dice the onions, press the garlic and set aside.
  2. In a pestle and mortar, crush the cloves. Add into a small pan with a knob of ghee/butter/oil along with the pressed garlic and set aside.
  3. Heat the ghee in a large saucepan and then add the onions. Saute until the onions begin to sweat.
  4. At the same time, put the small saucepan with the cloves, ghee and garlic on a low heat and saute until the garlic turns golden.
  5. Whilst everything is saute-ing, finely chop the mushrooms. Add to the onion and cook until they begin to release their juices.
  6. Add the tinned tomatoes, salt, pepper, spices and sauteed cloves and garlic. Reduce to a low heat and cook slowly until boiling.
  7. The moment you finish adding the spices, begin cooking the rice. Add the rice to a saucepan and cover + 1cm with hot water and cook on a medium heat.
  8. Add the black beans and cook on a low heat for a further 15 minutes.
  9. Serve on top of a bed of rice and chopped green onions.


Anna xxx


Hargreaves, G. (2008). Phenomenal Fungi. Available: http://www.50connect.co.uk/articles/phenomenal-fungi. Last accessed 12 Sep 2015.

Hoffmann, D (1983). The Holistic Herbal. Dorset: Element Books Ltd. 38.


  1. Pingback: Recipe Index | Food for Thought

  2. It’s definitely feeling close to being chili season, despite the temps here in the Phoenix area still being over 100 degrees. 😦 This looks like a great dish to just feel good inside, even if you don’t (yet) have a case of pathetic-itus! BTW, I am so tired of this super food movement as well. All the basic staple foods once available at any coop or health food store for a reasonable price are now either hard to find (thanks to this anti-gluten trend) or packaged and labeled as a super food, and hence ten times more pricey.

    When will people realize the power of marketing to influence our minds? Just eat like a peasant – foods grown in the earth – like those who are and have been the longest lived, such as the Okinawans, 7th-Day Adventists, many African and Asian tribes, and cultures around the globe before our Western influences steered them off their native diets. They ate what they grew, not foods packaged and labeled ‘super foods.’ Most plant foods and sea veggies are super foods! ~Tracy


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