I was looking through my new cookbook for something to make for dinner tonight and came across this recipe. I'm not a huge chili fan (due to lack of good chili growing up--my mom's recipe is really gross, and I'm not especially fond of beans), but I have developed a liking for lentils lately (especially since they cook up faster than dry beans). As I was reading through the ingredients, cumin jumped out at me. Perfect! So I thought I would get past my chiliphobia and try it out.
Very Veggie Lentil Chili
from Cheap. Fast. Good!
2 cans (about 14 oz each) vegetable broth
1 lb (about 2 1/3 cups) brown lentils
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes
1 large onion (for about 1 cup chopped)
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced, or 4 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil, preferably extra virgin
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
hot pepper sauce to taste (optional)
shredded cheddar cheese, for serving
sour cream, for serving
1. Combine the broth and 1 1/2 cups water (see Note below) in a 4 1/2 quart dutch oven or soup pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, pick through the lentils, checking for stones or debris. Rinse the lentils and drain them. When the broth comes to a boil, add the lentils and bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook at a very slow boil for 20 minutes. (Partially uncover the pot if the contents threaten to boil over.)
2. Add the tomatoes with their juice. Peel and coarsely chop the onion and add it to the pot. Add the garlic to the pot. Add the tomato paste, ketchup, chili powder, cumin, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Stir to mix well. Simmer, covered, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes. Add a little more water or vegetable stock if all of the moisture evaporates.
3. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the oil and vinegar. Add hot pepper sauce to taste, if desired. Serve at once, topped with cheese and sour cream
NOTE: The water can be replaced with 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (canned or homemade) if you have enough on hand.
****I pretty much followed the recipe. I used a carton of vegetable broth that was just over 28 oz (which is what it calls for if using two cans of broth), so I added the other few ounces and reduced the amount of water. I forgot to cover the lentils while they were cooking, so all of my liquid cooked out and I ended up adding a few more cups of water. I didn't realize the tomato paste I grabbed was one with garlic and herbs, but as I had opened it before I noticed I used it anyway. I don't think it changed the taste drastically (although I could be wrong since I haven't made this before). I only used half of the amount of black pepper and didn't add the pepper sauce because my kids won't eat spicy foods.
I would rate this at 4 stars. I would definitely take this to a pot luck or as a meal to someone. (I am not rating it 5 stars only because I don't think it is dinner party worthy. It really is delicious, though.) It is super budget friendly and really easy to make. My family, even my picky boys, loved it. This will for sure be something we will eat again and again.