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Healthy Cooking: Spicy As You Like Lentil Chili

My Friend Debbie

     This is a tasty vegetarian chili made with lentils. Lentils were selected by Health magazine as one of the five healthiest foods. They are high in protein, containing all the essential amino acids but two and can be combined with grains such as rice to make a complete protein. They also contain dietary fiber, folate, vitamin B1 and minerals. Lentils are one of the best vegetable sources of iron, particularly important for adolescents and pregnant women who have increased requirements. Dried lentils are easier to cook with than dried beans as they do not need to be soaked overnight before using in a recipe. The seasonings in this recipe do not have to be followed exactly and can be adjusted according to your taste.



  • 2 cups lentils, rinsed and drained

  • 3 cups pure water

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 4 cups (or 1-32 oz. box) vegetable broth (preferably organic)

  • 1-2 (15-oz) can(s) diced tomatoes*

  • 2 T olive oil

  • 1-1 1/2 cups chopped onion

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 large carrot (about 3/4 cup), chopped

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 3/4 cup green or red pepper, chopped

  • 1-2 Tablespoons Chili Powder*

  • 1-2 teaspoons Cumin*

  • 1-2 teaspoons Paprika*

  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon Oregano*

  • 1/2 teaspoon Thyme

  • 1/8-1/2 teaspoon Cayenne*

  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon Dry Mustard Powder*

  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper*

  • 1/2-1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt to taste

  • 1 Bay Leaf

  • 1-2 teaspoons agave nectar or other natural sweetener (opt.)

  • 1/2 Cup shredded cheese, sour cream or chopped onion (opt.)

Note: * Indicates ingredients that can be adjusted for personal preference, especially for more spicy or less spicy flavor, depending on how spicy you like it.

Preparation Instructions:

  • Bring water and vegetable broth to boil

  • Add salt along with rinsed and drained lentils

  • Cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes

  • Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil over low heat until softened.

  • Add chopped carrot, celery, pepper, cooked onions and garlic to pot with lentils.

  • Add 1 can diced tomatoes to lentil mixture. Add second can if you like more tomatoes and a less thick and spicy chili.

  • Add chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, thyme, cayenne, dry mustard, bay leaf and black pepper according to taste (use lesser amount for milder chili and higher amount for more spicy chili).

  • Add sweetener if desired.

  • Cover and continue to cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice.

  • Taste for seasoning - add additional salt if needed.

  • Top with shredded cheese, sour cream or chopped onion.

  • Copyright © 2008-2015 Lucinda Bedogne, CNHP, CNC

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