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An easy recipe for vegetarian/vegan chili made with hearty lentils and plenty of spice.
You know what’s hard? Blogging. You know what’s also hard? Being a parent. You know what’s STUPID hard?? Being a blogging parent. Especially one who trades baby duty with her spouse, so that really, the only time you truly have to sit down and edit pictures and write a blog post is after that baby goes to bed.
Which, I am so grateful, is around 7:30pm. But I’ll tell you what, the inside of my eyelids look pretty good to me once I know my kiddo is looking at his.
Enter: a case of my editorial calendar getting away from me.
Sunday morning, I woke up to 3 blog published blog posts from Fresh April Flours. Uhh… What? I don’t typically post on Sundays, and I certainly wouldn’t post 3 posts in one day, so what the heck?
This was a perfect example of my editorial calendar getting away from me. Unfinished, pictureless posts getting dragged and dropped onto “January 15th” because it “sounds so far away” and I’ll “move them once that day gets closer” in order to get the 2017 blog schedule “off to a good start.”
Are you other parents laughing yet? Not really at me, but with me, because you totally get it?
The truth of the blogging matter is that making the recipes has proved to be the easiest part of this whole juggling act that is the full time working parent with a side job and somewhat semblance of a social and personal life.
And since I dropped down to nursing just at bed time, I have exactly 1 less hour of “free time” during my full time workday since I’m not pumping. Turns out, that’s when I did all my editing and writing. And I got really good at it.
I may have to take a page out of my friend/fellow blogger Julie‘s book and get creative at 3 in the morning?? We will see. But for now, cut me some slack while I get my life together? And stay with me when we all realize that’s basically impossible right now? #momlife
So let’s talk simple and easy and makes-a-bunch and freezes well and tastes-so-good-you-won’t-even-know-its-vegetarian/vegan. How about that for a mid-week pick-me-up? (How many hyphens do you think I can use today?)
I think we all can use a little more “easy” in our lives, especially those of us who can’t manage to handle a calendar, yes?
First, let’s talk lentils. Have you ever worked with lentils before? Because I hadn’t until this soup came into my life.* Red lentils are the way to go here, because apparently, other colors of lentils don’t break down in the same manner and will drastically alter the texture of this soup.
So, red. Which are actually orange, but… Whatever.
*This recipe came to me from my supervisor at work, who gave me a print out of the recipe he used. The recipe was actually so terribly written (seriously, awful) that I cannot even bring myself to link it up.
After digging a little, I found out that it originated from Wegman’s, so I’ll leave it at that. I changed it up a bit to make it easier to understand, and also use a whole bag of lentils as opposed to only a portion of it, because I really hate when that happens.
The soup is super straightforward, and I don’t think you’ll have any trouble figuring it out. You’ll sauté some vegetables in the beginning (onion, celery, green pepper, garlic), add in some spices (cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, chili powder, Tabasco [!!!]), then throw diced tomatoes, lentils, vegetable stock, and water into the mix and let it simmer until the lentils are tender.
That’s it. No immersion blender, nothing fancy pants about it.
What I really loved about this soup is that it seemed like it wasn’t going to satisfy my hunger. But it totally did. Without meat, sometimes I feel like something is missing, but this soup has it all.
Lentils give the soup a hearty texture, while the vegetables give a little bit of crunch and add some “chunks” to each bite to give it some substance. I wasn’t too sure about the Tabasco, but I trusted it, and it truly was a great addition to the overall flavor of this chili.
Don’t leave it out or sub it with something else!
If you’re looking for a meal that will warm your belly in this cold weather, something that you can split to eat now and freeze for later, and something that is a little different from the norm, this soup is it.
Plus, super easy peasy. I wouldn’t lie about that!
You can totally handle this. And your calendar.
Red Lentil Chili
- 1 lb red lentils
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 4 large stalks of celery chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 1-14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes I prefer petite, undrained
- 1 Tablespoon Tabasco sauce
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup cornstarch + 1/4 cup cold water
- Place the red lentils in a strainer or colander. Rinse with water and remove any lentil stones. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the salt, cumin, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and chili powder. Set aside.
- In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Place the onion, celery, and garlic in the pot and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the spices and continue to cook for about another minute, until fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes, Tabasco, water, vegetable stock, and lentils to the pot and simmer 20-25 minutes, until lentils are tender. When the lentils are done, combine the cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl and stir until dissolved. Slowly add to the soup and stir until evenly dispersed. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Soup freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before serving.