It does take a little time to make. If you want to reduce the cooking time you can choose tinned lentils. A lot of the simmering time is to allow the lentils to cook. If you choose pre-cooked lentils, you can reduce this to about 15 minutes. The chili also tastes great with red lentils, and these are a bit quicker to cook. (I make this with red lentils about 50% of the time)
Chili is also a versatile meal. For the veggie option I have gone with peppers and courgette, but some corn, carrots, celery or broccoli will also work well depending on preference and what you have available. This version is made with kidney beans and chickpeas but again you can choose any beans you like.
I have made chili for years without adding smoked paprika or dark chocolate but I really think that these bring the flavour to the next level if you have either or both on hand.
I like a very spicy chili so will often choose a combination of fresh chili and cayenne pepper powder in order to increase the heat. We make this at home for dinner for all of the family including our three young kids, leaving out the chili/cayenne pepper and the kids love it. These can then be added separately to our own plates.
This is a great recipe for batch cooking. You can double up and make twelve large dinner size portions at once, and refrigerate/freeze the extra portions. This recipe makes six large portions so if you don’t have too many hungry mouths to feed, you can keep the extra portions for later.
From a nutritional point of view, I recommend serving the chili with wholegrain rice. This it is more nutritious than white rice. If you can’t wait the 40-45 minutes for wholegrain (brown) rice to cook, easy cook brown rice takes less time.
- 250 g of dried green lentils
- 2 400 g tins of beans of choice such as kidney, black, pinto, chickpeas
- 2 400 g tins of chopped tomatoes
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 medium sized onions
- 1 red pepper
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 courgette
- 1 fresh chili or one teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 3 tablespoons of tamari or soya sauce
- 3 teaspoons of ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika optional
- 20 grams of dark chocolate optional
- Rice for serving approx. 70g dry weight per portion
- Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves, and peel and chop the onions. Cut the chili in half, de-seed and finely chop. (or keep the seeds if you want extra heat)
- Put the garlic, onion and chilli into a large pot on medium to high heat along with a few tablespoons of water for a couple of minutes. Stir regularly to avoid sticking and add another splash of water if the pot becomes too dry
- Half, de-seed and chop the peppers, and chop the courgette into pieces.
- Add the peppers and courgette to the pot along with the cumin, cinnamon, coriander, smoked paprika, tamari and vinegar and cook for another two minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add the two tins of chopped tomatoes, the lentils and two tins of beans. Fill both of the empty tomato tins with water and add to the pot. Bring to the boil, then bring down to a simmer for about 35 minutes, stirring regularly to avoid sticking to the pot.
- 5 minutes before the end of the 35 minutes, add the squares of dark chocolate, and stir in once sufficiently melted.
- Cook the rice according to the instructions, allowing about 70g of dried rice per portion. Wholegrain (brown) rice will often take around 40 minutes to cook. Easy cook wholegrain takes less, and white rice is usually the quickest.
- Taste the chili to check if lentils are sufficiently soft. If not, leave to simmer for another few minutes.
- Serve the chili on a bed of rice with some chopped fresh chilies if desired