Sunday, January 22, 2012

Recipe for Vegan Lentil Chili with Roasted Red Peppers, Olives, and Green Onion

This Vegan Lentil Chili has both brown and red lentils, and it's loaded with flavor.

I have to admit I am enjoying the challenge of coming up with a meatless recipe every Sunday so it's ready on the blog for Meatless Monday, even when it's a Month of Daily Phase One recipes, which makes finding those vegetarian recipes a bit more challenging.  Luckily dried beans and lentils are approved for phase one, and this Vegan Lentil Chili was so flavorful that I think it's a perfect Meatless Monday recipe idea.  I love all things lentil, and couldn't resist adding some red lentils along with the regular brown lentils this recipe started out with.  I also added roasted red peppers and sliced olives for a little more flavor, and used canned vegetable broth as the base of the chili. This was delicious as-is, but if you like tart flavors I think a generous squeeze of lime juice would really be good.

You can find more meatless recipes by using the label Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index.  For Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers, check Meatless Monday at BlogHer, where I write a weekly post spotlighting one of the fabulous meatless recipe ideas I find around the web.

Heat the oil and then saute the onions until they're starting to brown.  Add garlic and saute about one minute more.

Then add the chile powder, ground cumin, dried oregano, and ground chipotle powder (or cayenne) and saute about 90 seconds more.

You can use all regular brown-green lentils like you normally find in the grocery store, but if you have red lentils, they will dissolve a little faster and thicken the chili, and the red ones add a nice sweetness.

When the spices are fragrant, add the brown lentils, red lentils, vegetable broth, water, and tomato sauce and start to simmer. 

When red lentils are mostly dissolved and brown ones are nicely tender, add the sliced green onion, sliced olives,  and diced roasted red bell pepper and simmer about 15-20 minutes more.  Serve hot.

Vegan Lentil Chili with Roasted Red Peppers, Olives, and Green Onion
(Makes 4-6 servings; recipe adapted from Lentil Chili with Cumin and Green Onions in the February 2008 Bon Appetit Magazine.  I could not find the recipe online.)

2 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped in small pieces
2 tsp. finely minced garlic
2 T Chili Powder (I used Penzeys Regular Chili Powder, which is quite mild.)
1 T ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
1/8 tsp. dried Chipotle chile pepper (or cayenne; use more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
1 cup brown lentils
1/4 cup red lentils (or use more brown lentils if you don't have red ones)
3 cans ( 14 oz. can) vegetable broth + 1 can water
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 can (6 oz) black olives, drained and sliced
1 jar (12 oz.) roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
lime slices for serving (optional)

Use a large dutch oven type pan so you have a big surface area for cooking the vegetables.  Heat olive oil over medium heat, then saute the chopped onion until it's starting to brown.  Add garlic and saute about 1 minute more.  Add the chili powder, ground cumin, dried oregano, and Chipotle or Cayenne powder and saute about 90 seconds more, or until the spices are fragrant.

Add the brown lentils, red lentils, vegetable broth, water, and tomato sauce and heat until the mixture comes to a low boil.  Reduce heat to a low simmer and let the mixture cook until red lentils are mostly dissolved and brown lentils are well-softened.   Cooking time will depend on how fresh the lentils are, but I simmered this for slightly more than an hour, adding more water a couple of times.  (Tomatoes make the lentils cook a bit more slowly, so if you're in a hurry don't add the tomato sauce until lentils are starting to get tender.)

While the mixture cooks, slice the green onions, drain olives and cut into slices, and drain the roasted red pepper and chop into small pieces.  When lentils are cooked, add green onion, olives, and roasted red pepper and let the mixture simmer 15-20 minutes more.  Serve hot, with slices of lime to squeeze into each serving if desired.

This freezes well.  For best results, thaw in refrigerator overnight and then heat in microwave or in a small pan on the stove.

South Beach Suggestions:
Dried beans and lentils are approved for all phases of the  South Beach Diet, but they are limited to 1/3 to 1/2 cup serving for Phase One.  However in a recipe like this where there are lots of other low-glycemic ingredients besides the lentils, you could have a larger serving.  I would limit this to a relatively small bowl for Phase One though, with something like a nice green salad on the side.

More Vegan Ideas with Lentils for Phase One:
Lemony Yellow Split Pea Side Dish with Garlic and Ginger from Kalyn's Kitchen
Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro from Kalyn's Kitchen
Lebanese Lentil Salad with Garlic, Cumin, Mint, and Parsley from Kalyn's Kitchen
Slow Cooker Vegan Lentil and Chickpea Soup from Soup Chick
Spicy Red Lentil and Tomato Soup from Andrea Meyers

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  1. Kalyn,

    I'm glad you posted this. I've been looking for a new chili recipe - in fact I hadn't made my menu for this week yet (oops!) and I think I'll add this to it.

    I've got everything but the olives.

    Can't wait to try it!

  2. Thanks, hope you like it as much as we did!

  3. Now why don't I ever think to combine brown and red lentils? Great idea to give depth to the chili.

  4. Lydia I couldn't see the red lentils at all in the finished chile, but they added a lot of sweetness.

  5. You write:
    3 cans vegetable broth + 1 can water

    How many ounces is that, please?

  6. I've so been enjoying your meatless mondays posts also! I love both red and green lentils and this chili sounds like exactly the kind of bowl of comfort that I'd adore.

  7. Have you tried this recipe cooking in a pressure cooker? The lentil takes less time to cook and becomes soft [ one whistle=seven to ten minutes] and let the cooker cool naturally. This is how I cook the lentils at home.

  8. Another fantastic recipe!! My husband (a serious meat eater) will even eat this if I add a bit of cut up chicken. I just started doing lowcarb to get my blood sugar under control, and your website is a tremendous resource. Thank you so much!

  9. Duh. I don't know why I forgot the ounces for the vegetable broth. They are 14 oz. cans. I have edited the recipe, thanks.

    Joanne, thanks! Glad you're enjoying the Meatless Monday posts.

    Maya, have not tried lentils in a pressure cooker, but I love to use it for beans.

    Francie, thanks. So glad to hear my blog is useful for you!

  10. Are there beans in this chili? The pictures seem to have beans. But I don't see any in the recipe.

  11. Nancy, the chili has only lentils, no beans.

  12. Thanks for sharing this recipe. This will be wonderful on these cold winter days!

  13. Kalyn,

    This was one of those recipes that just rocked my world. Not only did I literally have all the ingredients on hand and both my vegan self and my omnivore husband adored it. He puts it at 3rd on his favorite soup list.

    The black olives were brilliant, I never would have thought about using them.

    Thanks for this. As always, your recipe is a hit. :)

  14. Sugaredpecan, hope you enjoy it!

    CrashTestVegetarian, glad you both enjoyed it so much! We loved it here too.

  15. Delicious looking chili! Hearty and filling meal

  16. While the pot is simmeringn is it covered or uncovered?

  17. I love that you've posted a vegan recipe. It sure does look delicious! pretty picture!

  18. Vijitha, thanks!

    Flipchick, there is no need to cover the pot.

    Sarah, glad you like it!

  19. I tried making lentil chili recently and I have to say I really liked the texture of the smaller legumes for a change. This one looks so pretty - love the bright colors!

  20. Jeanette, I agree; the lentils were great in chili!

  21. I love lentils! This chili looks wonderful!

  22. Jennifer, glad you like it.

    Even though I like to eat meatless meals and love finding a good vegan recipe, I am not a vegetarian and believe strongly that everyone has the right to make their own food choices. Therefore I will not post comments with links to posts or videos about why people should become vegans.

  23. I love this, comforting and healthy! Especially love the use of chipotle powder, too.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  24. I'm a huge fan of that ground Chipotle powder, so much easier to use than the canned Chipotles!

  25. I made this last night and am having some for lunch right now. I'll definitely be making this again.

    I gave the olives sort of a rough chop, so I will make them smaller next time.

    Thank you for all the good Phase One recipes this month - I've saved most of them in my email recipe folder.

  26. Lynn, so glad you have enjoyed the recipes!

  27. Just made and ate the Lentil Chili. What a winner! Deeeelicious! If anyone tries this, make sure you do the lime squeeze, it really adds pizazz. Love it Kalyn! Gotta tell my readers about his one.

  28. Thanks Chris, so glad you liked it!

  29. I stumbled upon this recipe because I want to make a homemade version of Pacific brand vegetable lentil soup with roasted red peppers. I'm addicted to that stuff, but it's not very budget friendly. This recipe sounds delicious and I will be making it this week! Thank you!

  30. I realize this is an old recipe, but I still wanted to say thank you! I tried this chili tonight and it came out wonderful. At first I was skeptical about the amount of liquids and it felt very soup-y to me, but in the end it reduced to a nice consistency. I thought the lentils worked really well. I'd made a vegetarian bolognese with red lentils, no idea why it had never occurred to me to try them in a chili.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing this recipe. It's delicious!

  31. I know that your website is intended for people cooking in the south beach style but despite never trying the south beach diet I use your recipes quite often. I really like that you use alternative grains in many of your recipes. It was the reason I first found your blog. I've also found many of your veggie sides to be quite tasty. My bookclub has a couple of vegans/veggies and so we embrace the fun of cooking a vegan meal for everyone. I am hosting this month and your Lentil Chili was just the ticket. Thanks for all the healthy recipes that you provide!

  32. I'm always hoping my recipes go beyond what people think of as "diet food" so I am thrilled you've been enjoying them so much!

  33. I have been searching for a chili recipe I love for a long time, and I am pumped to say I finally found it! This is delicious! I've been struggling with a clean eating challenge at my gym for a few weeks, so I can't thank you enough for this recipe! I ate 3 bowls of it last night when I made it haha I think I am going to have to make another batch in just a couple of days! I think the olives make it. Yummmmmmm!


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