I recently discovered the beauty of lentils. We had dinner one night, late, at a nondescript all-night diner. For some reason, all meals came with a bowl of soup: lentil or chicken noodle. I got the lentil simply because I was expecting typical, oversalted, crappy chicken-soup-from-a-can and I wasn’t interested in that. I was shocked to discover that it was the best lentil soup ever! It was beyond delicious. I’ve been thinking about that soup ever since and thinking about how to replicate it, but I haven’t yet.
However, that meal inspired me to get a big bag of brown lentils from the bulk section at the store during my next visit. This is the first thing I made with them. After seeing this recipe pop up in my RSS reader via Daily Garnish, I immediately added it to my to-make list. I made a few modifications based on what I had in the fridge, and I was super happy with the results. This chili is stick-to-your-ribs filling and chock full of veggies. It has all the heartiness of any other chili, thanks to the lentils. Love those things! It’s also ridiculously good for you—always a good thing.
First, get choppin’, because you’ll need to do a lot of it! Chop your sweet potato into a fine dice, your carrots into even slices, and mince your jalapeño.
Dice your onion, celery, and leeks (you can leave out the leeks, or double the celery or onion instead).
Sauté your celery, onion, and leeks with a tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat for about five minutes or until the onions are slightly translucent.
Stir in your carrots, sweet potatoes, and jalapeño. Cook for about 15 minutes…
…until they’re getting some color on them.
Add your lentils. You could use any kind of lentils here—red lentils cook much faster, though, and actually have less nutritional value. I like brown lentils because they stand up to cooking better and don’t turn to mush.
Add your spices (chili powder, paprika, and cinnamon).
Crack open a can of fire-roasted tomatoes…
…and add those too, along with your broth of choice. Vegetable broth will make this completely vegetarian, of course. I used beef broth because I had some to use up, but any broth will do. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes or until the lentils are tender and the chili is thick. Season with salt to taste, then serve.
I made some yummy pumpkin cornbread to serve alongside this chili and it was perfect. The flavors went together so well. That recipe is coming soon too!
This recipe makes 8 (possibly 10!) servings—it makes a LOT of chili. It’s a really cheap meal to make—all inexpensive ingredients, and it’ll feed you for days.
Such a tasty fall meal. Enjoy!
Lentil and Sweet Potato Chili
Adapted from Daily Garnish
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped leeks (white and light green portion only)
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
- 4 cups broth of choice (low sodium, fat free if using chicken or beef)
- 1.5 cups brown lentils
- 1 14.5 oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- salt to taste
- Heat olive oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and leeks and sauté for five minutes.
- Add sweet potatoes, carrots, and jalapeño. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Add broth, lentils, tomatoes, and spices. Mix well. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until lentils are tender.
- Season with salt to taste. Serve.
Per serving (8 servings)