|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?
|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]
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.