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Tahini Cacao Chilli

Hi, I'm Tom. I've been working for Essential for 14 years, since Neolithic times it feels sometimes, situated at the Harvest shop in Bath where it all began 50 years ago. On that scale I feel like a mere spring chick'n!

Working in a co-operative is fun, challenging, sometimes frustrating and ultimately really rewarding. I could never go back to having a 'boss'.

It's great to be able to support small local independent producers and growers and to be able to get to know so many of our loyal customers. Our first customer still shops with us and we often get people coming in reminiscing about being brought in as a child and playing in the play-pen while their parents did the shopping, including some current staff members!
Tahini Cacao Chilli

I'm contractually obliged at this point to say 'I live on a boat'. My partner and I have been cruising on the Kennet & Avon canal for the last 15 years and have three children, all born on the water.


Inspired by a recipe in an old Viva! Cookbook that used peanut butter to give the chilli a great creamy consistency. I replace the peanut butter with tahini so our nut-allergic colleague can keep his EpiPen unused. Quantities are what we do to make a large pot to sell from our deli counter, you might want to scale it down!


TVP option:

Make enough stock to cover the TVP, dissolve the yeast extra into the stock and pour over TVP, leave covered (stir occasionally) until all the stock’s absorbed.

Veg option:


Heat oil in a pan and add the onions, turn the heat down, sprinkle the salt over the onions, stir in and sweat with the lid on ‘til the onions are translucent.
Add garlic and cook for another minute.
Add spice mix & cacao, stir it all together.
Put in just enough water to cover everything, turn the heat up and cook until the water’s all evaporated (I feel like repeating this step a couple of times makes it taste better in the end).
Add the tahini & tomato puree and a bit more water and stir until it’s all mixed to a smooth consistency.
Add the TVP or chopped vegetables and stir so it’s all coated with spices (if using the veg option I like to put the lid back on and sweat the vegetables on a low heat for a few minutes).
Add tomatoes, stir, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down, cover & simmer, stirring occasionally,  until all the vegetables are softened.
Stir in the beans and cook for another 5 minutes so the beans are thoroughly heated, though I think the longer you leave it all simmering together for the better it gets.