ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Very Veggie Lentil Chili” from Cheap Fast Good, by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross*
TIMING: 1 hour
TOOLS: Just a nice soup pot
COOK TYPE: Stovetop
HEALTH: You can’t beat a pot of lentils with vegetables for heath. And the only way you can mess this up is by pairing it with something truly horrible, like canned rolls or something.
EXPERIENCE: I make lentils pretty regularly, so I guess I was just looking for yet another way to prepare and serve them. I found this old recipe–on the spreadsheet–already marked up from a previous use. My notes articulated that this recipe was not to be thought of as a chili, but just as a lentil dish: the first would create an expectation that would not be fulfilled. So I came up with a name before I even started: Chilied Lentils.
Truth is, I’m not even sure Chilied Lentils is very representative, here. And I’m also not going to highly endorse this recipe. If you want to add more lentils to your life, I would do a search for “lentils” from The Recipe Blogger homepage and try something else. But, if you really want Chilied Lentils and you want them now, I’m also not going to discourage you. These are fine, and they are chock-full of almost whatever veggies you have lying around.
NOTES: For pairings, I would think sort of Southwest. Quinoa would be good. So would a corn bread.
The original recipe also makes way too much for the average family. Even with this half-recipe I’ve given you, you should have leftovers.
I would change the veggies based on the time of year and what I had in the fridge. The squash, especially, could become zucchini, summer squash, sweet potato, or acorn squash. You could also add some spinach or kale near the end of cooking. You could also swap out the carrots for corn.
- Dump 4 cups veggie (or beef) broth into a soup pot and turn heat to high. Once it comes to a boil, add 1 1/4 cups brown lentils. Stir, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped bell pepper, 1 small diced butternut squash, 1 chopped carrot, 2 cloves pressed garlic, 1-2 tablespoons tomato paste, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1-2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Stir, re-cover, and cook for another 20 minutes. Check occasionally for moisture and add water if needed.
- Check lentils for done-ness. When soft enough, remove pot from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic or cider vinegar, and hot sauce to taste. Taste for salt and pepper.
Serve with quinoa or cornbread and an optional spread of grated cheese, sour cream or crema, diced avocado, wedged lime, diced white onion, julienned radish, and chopped cilantro.
*Recipe changed from the original.