Lentil Chili

I really really like culinary school. I’m learning lots of fascinating things about the intricacies of cooking (there are more cuts than just dice, chop, and slice!), I’m getting a chance to make things I’ve never made before (hello Hollandaise), and I get to hang out all day with other people who enjoy talking about food. Not to mention the dining time when I get to eat all the delicious treats the other kitchens have made! The only downside is that when I get home I’m too wiped out to bother cooking for myself. But I promised myself I would make something by the end of this week, and so here it is!

The only reason this is a lentil chili instead of a meat chili is because I happened to have a bag of lentils.

So many lentils!

My family visited over the weekend and dropped off more treats from our garden, such as jalapenos, bell peppers, and tomatoes, and therefore a chili seemed like the best use of these ingredients. I’m in finals right now for one of my labs, so this also seemed like a good chance to practice my brunoise cut with onions.

I think I need more practice…

I think the chili came out tasting quite fantastic, even though every time I taste it I notice something is missing. What could it be? Ah yes, meat. Alas, I am poor and lentils and beans are both considered good meat substitutions and I will just have to get use to them again. Remember that time I was a vegetarian for 6 years? Yea, I’ve learned since then.

It is good though, seriously.

If you’re looking for a healthy, tasty, cheap, relatively quick, vegetarian chili then this is the recipe for you! If you’re looking for something that has bacon, then just cook bacon, take the pieces out and sweat the onions in the bacon fat and crumple the bacony goodness on top later as a texture friend. Trust me.

Printer Version


½ cup lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 medium onion, finely diced (brunoise)
1 large green pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp cumin
½ cup red wine
1 tbsp honey
2 14.5oz cans diced tomatoes
1 15.5 oz can black beans
Salt and pepper

1 tomato, diced
Grated cheese

In a small saucepan, bring lentils to a boil in salted water. Lower to a simmer and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.

In a large sauce pan sweat the onions, bell pepper, jalapeno, and garlic until softened. Add spices and cook 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, simmer 1 minute, and then add honey, diced tomatoes, and black beans.

Add lentils and 1 cup of the cooking liquid to the large pan. Season to taste. Simmer at least 1 hour.

Serve with fresh diced tomatoes and grated cheese.