Tuesday, November 06, 2012

teeny-weeny chili beanie

Think outside the bean. This vegan chili is made with lentils instead of more traditional chili-type beans


Don't hate me – but I'm not a fan of autumn. While everyone waxes poetic about the "brisk" weather and Crayola 64-Pack of trees changing colors, all I can do I pile on another sweater and avoid thinking about the piles of dead leaves and impending winter. I understand that "to everything there is a season," but I'm just not yet evolved enough to embrace this concept.

One good thing about autumn is that it always makes me crave chili; I rarely ever eat it any other time of year. I like the contrast; although this dish sounds "chilly," it's actually warm, comforting and spicy – just what the doctor ordered when the days grow shorter and colder.

Out of habit, I usually make the Chocolate Chipotle Chili from my first cookbook, but last week, in the throes of my chili craving, I was clean out of all conventional chili-types beans – kidney, black and pinto--but I had scads of lentils. Inspired by the use-up-what-you-have concept that Joey recently blogged about, I decided to try making chili with lentils instead.

I love the result--wee starchy bits nestled among fiery green poblano tiles, rounded out with some earthy mushrooms and sweet carrots. I also added soy curls for texture and bulk; they seemed so autumn-appropriate. As a rule, I like to eat chili over rice, but this tasted so complex that I ended up eating it as is, and also, strangely but wonderfully, over a bed of fresh baby spinach one day for lunch.

What foods do you crave when the weather gets chilly?

Lentil-Poblano Chili

Scoop it up with corn chips

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 medium poblano peppers, seeded and diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup soy curls (you can substitute another 1/2 cup of lentils)
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sour cream and nachos for serving [optional]


Serves 6 

In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium. Saute garlic, pepper, and onions until softish, about 5 minutes.

Add carrots and cook another 5 minutes.

Add mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes more. Lentils and all veggies should be soft at this point; if not, add 1/2 cup water and simmer for about 10 more minutes.

Adjust seasonings and serve with sour cream, corn chips, avocados or simply as is.

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7 comments:

Andrea said...

I commiserate with you about fall. Pretty colors aside, there's not much to like about fall here — rain, gloom and more rain make for a damp, chilly existence. Chili is the perfect antidote, I think, and this lentil version sounds like what I should serve next weekend to visiting family. I might add frozen corn kernels to keep with the use-up-your-pantry theme, but otherwise it sounds perfect.

Unknown said...

chili! and shepherd's pie. and soup x1000. ~erica in pdx

urban vegan said...

Erica! Hope you're keeping warm with good foods and good times in PDX. xo

Mattheworbit said...

This looks pretty good (despite it being the opposite season over here!)
I love Dreena's "Sweet potato lentil chili" from Eat, Drink and be Vegan - she uses red lentils, which kinda thickens and delicifies it all. Soy curls would be a great addition to any chili and NACHO FIXINS sound like an awesome side!!

Dreena said...

Dynise, I'm not an autumn/winter gal either - COMPLETELY relate!! Only the good autumn food gets me through (and tea. and chocolate) :) Mind you, I always terribly miss the abundant summer produce and fruits. Ahhh, well, your chili looks fabulous - and I love lentils in chili, they thicken it up so beautifully, make it so satisfying and hearty. I rarely add mushrooms to my chili. Why?? Next time, going to!

Casey said...

I was looking for something to have with an over supply of corn chips. Thanks Dynise :)

Claire said...

This sounds amazing! I've got to try it! Thank you x