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Monday, March 14, 2011

Meatless Monday: Lentil Chili

Lots of lentil chili
I don't have a lot of history with lentils and it's usually something on the menu that I will avoid. I don't know why, but lentils used to scare me a bit.

Feed 52, a blog that picks a food item each week and tasks readers to send in recipes based on that food, featured lentils and I began to have an open mind.

I really didn't know what a lentil was -- bean, grain? Turns out, it's a legume. A tasty legume that was rather inexpensive and a staple of many vegans.

I went simple for my first lentil recipe, lentil chili. And it was a hit with my husband and myself. Not enough to replace my classic chili recipe, but enough to put it into rotation.

Lentil Chili
from Whole Foods
8 servings (next time I will half this recipe or make it whole and freeze half)

8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 teaspoons salt-free chili powder
1 (16-ounce) package brown lentils (about 2 1/4 cups lentils)
2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Bring 3/4 cup broth to a simmer in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook about 8 minutes or until onion is translucent and pepper is tender. Stir in chili powder and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add lentils, tomatoes and remaining 7 1/4 cups broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes or until lentils are almost tender. Uncover and cook 10 minutes longer. Stir in cilantro and serve.

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