Lentil & Veggie Chili

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This tasty chili was born from a leftover bowl of salsa rojo.  Follow this link for the salsa recipe breakfast for dinner.  While the salsa definitely adds a great punch of flavor to this chili, I also made it without the salsa rojo and, although not as rich and flavorful, it was still mighty good.  If you want to go all out, make the rojo.  If tighter on time, skip it and just use the spices.  Either route, you will have yourself a bowl of hearty, warming and satisfying soup.  If you want to simplify even more, forget the process of toasting and grinding the whole spices and use a ground cumin and coriander instead.  I understand that time is often of the essence so do what you need to do to get a healthy, vegetarian dinner on the table at the end of a busy day.  Shortcuts are totally cool!  The point is to eat lentils and veggies – to move away from mass produced meat products to a more whole food diet right?  Take advantage of all the great time-saving products on the market.  Why not try Herdez Chipotle salsa in this soup?  Or even a packaged chili seasoning?  All good sources of flavor and EASY too – go for what works for you and your lifestyle.  Please note that I did cut the veggies rather large.  I like big chunky veggies in my soup – it just seems more substantial that way.  I served this chili with an open faced grill cheese sandwich – simple because I slid the bread and cheese under the broiler and within minutes, we had the perfect accompaniment to our lentil chili.

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Lentil & Veggie Chili
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds (or simple ground cumin)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds (or simple ground coriander)
  • 2 tablespoons Indian curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon ghee & 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ cup salsa rojo - follow the above link in text for recipe OR ¾ cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, cut large chunk
  • 2 carrots, cut large chunk
  • 1 cup cauliflower, cut large chunk
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable base - see above picture for type
  • Garnish - lime & cilantro
Instructions
  1. In saucepan, combine onion, carrot, celery, and cauliflower with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook until onion is soft. Add water, lentils, and vegetable base. Cook until veggies are tender and lentils are cooked - approximately 25-30 minutes
  2. More timely version - Heat a dry skillet to medium and toast cumin and coriander seeds 2-3 minutes. Add curry powder and oregano and toast 1-2 more minutes stirring often. Remove to a mortar and pestle and pound to a powder. In same skillet, heat ghee and olive oil. Add spices and tomato paste. Cook for a few minutes. When veggies and lentils are cooked, add this spice mix along with the salsa rojo to the saucepan and stir well. Serve with cilantro and lime.
  3. Shortcut version - Heat a dry skillet to medium and toast ground cumin, coriander, oregano, and curry powder for a few minutes. Add ghee, olive oil, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste cooking for 1-2 minutes. When veggies and lentils are cooked, add this spice mix to the saucepan and stir well. Serve with cilantro and lime.

 

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