I always make my chili mild-to-medium spicy, and then I serve it with a bunch of different toppings so that people can customize the heat level to their taste. I usually do chopped jalapeños, pickled banana peppers, store-bought salsa, and whatever assortment of hot sauces I cull from our refrigerator door.
And of course, don’t forget the cheese, avocado, sour cream, and cilantro….
This chili is gluten-free and vegan (before the cheese and sour cream on top, of course). It’s also so delicious it’s sure to convert even the most die-hard Texas beef chili fan.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 16 ounces dried black lentils (about 2 1/4 cups)
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- Grated cheddar cheese
- Sour cream
- Diced avocado
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Hot sauce, salsa, and chopped hot peppers
- Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, carrot, and garlic and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper and stir until the vegetables are coated and the spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the lentils, tomatoes, and 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, partially cover the pot, and simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
- Transfer 3 cups of the lentils and liquid to a blender and blend until smooth (you can also do this in a bowl with an immersion blender). Stir the pureed lentil mixture back into the pot. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Serve the chili in bowls and pass the toppings on the side.
- The chili will thicken as it cools, so don't worry if it's a bit soupy when you first take it off the heat.
- Nutrition information is for chili without the toppings.
Liz @ I Heart Vegetables says
I’m SO excited to try this! I love lentils!!! We have dinner with friends every Tuesday and I’m a vegetarian and one friend is gluten free so I’m always trying to find recipes like this! Thanks for sharing!!
Maresa | breakfast for dinner says
I have been looking for more lentil recipes – did you know that “pulses” are the food group of the year?! They are so delicious and cheap! Thanks for sharing – I will definitely try this out.
That chili looks SO good! I just bought some regular lentils, but I don’t think they would be as good. I hadn’t even heard of black lentils until this post. I will have to look for some next time I go grocery shopping. Thanks for sharing!
Trinity Bourne says
That sounds absolutely delicious. I really admire of your use of ingredients for the chili. Super healthy too.
Mary Kate Leopard says
This looks delicious!
This looks absolutely incredible! I am trying to eat local, in-season foods this winter….it’s challenging up here in Chicago! This recipe is PERFECT – lentils hold up really well in my long-term storage, I froze enough bell peppers from the summer to last me forever, and I have carrots still growing outside! So excited to try it!
I’ve yet to try lentils, but this looks super delicious, and seems like the perfect recipe for a Meatless Monday! I can’t wait to try it!
Lily @GastroSenses says
Never knew making chili is this easy. Excellent recipe !!
I had scribbled on my meal plan that I wanted to make something with lentils one night next week, so this one is going on the list. We love chili, and I never thought to make it with lentils. Great idea.