The smokey goodness of this chili will have you wondering if it's meat after all.
I love red lentils because they cook very quickly. They also take on a texture and colour that effortlessly resembles ground meat, making them the perfect substitute in traditional meat dishes like bolognese or chili. I always have lentils in my pantry. Lentils are amazing for your health. Remember to rinse your lentils well until the water runs clear.
A lot of chili recipes call for the addition of some kind of sugar. I like using cinnamon instead because it adds just enough sweetness and makes the chili smell extra comforting. Cinnamon is coincidentally very good for you.
This recipe is a great base to play with. For example, when I have mushrooms in the fridge, I love adding them, quartered. Add hot pepper flakes or chili powder if you like it hot. Depending on your tomatoes, you may want to add some tomato paste.
This recipe is also better made ahead; the longer it sits, the more flavorful it becomes. It reheats beautifully.
Makes 2 large bowls
SMOKEY VEGAN LENTIL CHILI
🥣 1 tbsp Cumin
🥣 1 tsp Garlic powder
🥣 1 tbsp Sweet smokey paprika
🥣 1 tsp Hot smokey paprika
🥣 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
🥣 1 Sweet onion, diced
🥣 1+ Cloves of garlic, minced
🥣 1 tbsp Tamari (adjust to your liking)
🥣 1/2 can of Crushed tomatoes
🥣 1/3 cup of Red lentils
🥣 1 can of Black beans, rinsed and drained
🥣 Light drizzle of balsamic vinegar
🥣 Tomato Paste
🥣 Sprinkle of dried oregano
🥣 Vegetable broth instead of water
🥣 Garnishes such as avocado, corn chips, cheese...
Start by gently toasting the cumin, garlic powder, paprika, and cinnamon in a large pot. When fragrant, add a swirl of olive oil, the chopped onion, and the garlic. Stir for a few minutes. The spices and oil will combine and make almost a paste.
If using mushrooms, add them now.
Add the 1/2 can of crushed tomatoes with 1/2 cup of water. When it starts to simmer, add the lentils and the tamari.
Stir, then cover, and let bubble. Check on it occasionally; you may need to add more water.
My lentils usually take approximately 20 minutes to cook. When your lentils are soft, add the black beans and season to taste with salt.
Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar to taste, give it another stir, and you're good to go!
⬆️ Served here with sliced scallions