Saturday, October 8, 2011

Slow-Cooker Lentil Chili

You may remember that I recently pledged to arm-wrestle Mother Nature into submission, where the summer temperatures were concerned.  My weapon of choice: chili. I decided to just ignore the heat and proceed as if fall had actually arrived, making chili and corn muffins, stew and biscuits, as well as the occasional chai latte.

I don’t know if I can actually take credit for the change in the weather, but I will note that today is the first rainy day we’ve had in this part of Texas for quite awhile.  Not a day with rain–we’ve had a few of those lately–but an actual rainy day.  And if I have to keep coming up with chili recipes to ensure that this happens on a regular basis, that’s a mission I am more than happy to accept.

Earlier this week, The Hubs got an email from Whole Foods that included a recipe for lentil chili.  It sounded good, so he suggested that I give it a try.  When I looked at their recipe, though, it seemed a little bland and very heavy on the tomato flavor.  The Hubs is a big fan of tomatoes, but The Girl and I prefer them in moderation.  (Chili is one of those things I don’t even bother trying to get The Boy to eat.  It’s a losing battle, so I just give up before I begin.)  What I wound up doing was using my basic chili recipe, increasing the amount of liquid so the lentils would have some to absorb.

I also added an extra pepper, for color and extra vitamin C, since we’re heading into cold and flu season.  (We are, Mother Nature.  Do you hear me?  Cold and flu season.)  Finally, I used fire-roasted tomatoes–they add a smokey, slightly sweeter flavor than plain diced tomatoes.  Since lentils are hugely nutritious–packed full of fiber, folate, protein, and iron–I decided to forgo any meat at all.  If you’re hesitant to make meatless chili, you could certainly brown a pound of ground beef or chicken and add it to the mix.  And, like any version of chili, this one tastes great topped with guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese, or crumbled tortilla chips.

This recipe makes a lot of chili.  By which I mean, it fills the crock pot to the top.  One batch of this chili will feed a crowd or, because lentils are very filling and freeze well, will feed your family for two or three meals.

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Slow-Cooker Lentil Chili

Ingredients:

1 package brown lentils (about 2 cups)
2 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 small can diced green chilies
1 small onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
7 to 8 cups vegetable broth
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. chili powder
1 T. cumin

Directions:

Place dry lentils, tomatoes, chilies, and chopped vegetables in the slow cooker. Pour in 4 cups of the broth, add the spices, and stir to combine. Pour in enough broth to fill the slow cooker.

Cover, turn to high, and cook 4 hours, until the lentils are soft. Take the lid off the slow cooker about 30 minutes before you're ready to serve, allowing some of the liquid to evaporate.

Serve with guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese, or tortilla chips.

 

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One Response to “Slow-Cooker Lentil Chili”

  1. 1

    jennifer — February 8, 2013 @ 1:43 pm

    Is this recipe gluten free? The only gluten ingredient that I am seeing is (possibly) the veggie stock. I’m preparing a dinner for a friend this weekend and she has recently started eating a gluten free diet. Looking for an easy, healthy crock pot recipe that is also gluten free. This looks great, and I also started with the whole foods recipe! Thank you :)

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