Magic chilli recipe

Magic chilli recipe: run faster and lift heavier with this magnesium-rich vegan dinner

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Big run or gym session lined up for tomorrow? Give yourself the best possible start by making this “Magic Chilli” recipe, named so for its mood and energy-boosting properties. It’s packed with magnesium, a mineral thought to improve exercise performance, as well as selenium – the edible endorphin producer!

If you’re looking for a healthy dinner or lunch to have before a run or strength training session, look no further. This vegan chilli is quick, simple and bursting with nutrients that’ll have you energised and ready to work hard.

“I call this ‘Magic Chilli’ because it is the ultimate mood-boosting dish, instantly bringing positive vibes to everyone who eats it,” explains the recipe’s creator, cook Gemma Ogston (author of The Self-Care Cook Book). “Rich in selenium to encourage all those feel-good endorphins, along with beans which are rich in iron and magnesium to help reduce tiredness, this is my go-to dish for ultimate vitality.” The beans are also high in plant protein while the brown rice is high in fibre “which looks after your gut”.

Magic chilli recipe
Gemma's Magic Chilli recipe is packed with magnesium, selenium and iron for all-day energy and endorphins.

Magnesium really is a mineral that all of us fitness fans should pay attention to. As Gemma points out, it can reduce tiredness but it also does a lot more. There’s some proof to suggest that it may boost athletic performance, with one study finding that athletes who supplemented with magnesium for four weeks ran, swam and cycled faster during a triathlon while also seeing reductions in stress hormone levels. That may partly be down to the fact that magnesium helps to move blood sugar into our muscles and dispose of lactate – the stuff that builds up during exercise and makes our muscles tired. Magnesium is also involved with over 600 reactions in the body, from helping to convert food into energy to repairing DNA and facilitating the contraction and relaxation of muscles. It’s a vital mineral for us all, but particularly if you exercise regularly.  

This is one of those dishes that almost tastes better the next day and it freezes well for up to six weeks – making it the perfect mid-week meal. It takes 10 minutes to prep and 30 minutes to cook.

Ingredients (serves 4)

250g brown rice

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp chilli powder

150g Brazil nuts, finely chopped

400g tinned kidney beans

200g tinned chickpeas

400g tinned chopped tomatoes

Juice of two limes

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

100g plant-based plain yoghurt or crème fraîche

Freshly chopped coriander

1 avocado, sliced

1 fresh chilli chopped


Cook the rice in a saucepan of boiling water for 25 minutes. Drain and put to one side. 

Meanwhile, heat the oil in another large saucepan.

Lightly fry the onion and garlic for about five minutes, until soft. 

Stir in the spices and cook for two minutes. 

Then add all the other ingredients, plus 125ml of water. 

Season with salt and pepper and stir well.

Simmer for 20 minutes. 

Serve the rice with the chilli in bowls, with a spoonful of plant-based yoghurt or crème fraiche, plenty of chopped coriander and sliced avocado. 

Sprinkle the chopped fresh chilli over the top.

Why not use any leftover chilli in a breakfast burrito? Simply add some cooked quinoa and wrap up in a tortilla with salad and chopped tomatoes – yum!

Image and recipe from The Self-Care Cookbook by Gemma Ogston.

Interested in picking up more simple and nutritious recipes? Make sure you check out the rest of our meal ideas in the SWTC library

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Miranda Larbi

Miranda Larbi is the editor of Strong Women and Strong Women Training Club. A qualified personal trainer and vegan runner, she can usually be found training for the next marathon, seeking out vegan treats or cycling across London on a pond-green Tokyo bike.

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