Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lentil Chili

Well, another 'Meatless Monday' has come and gone successfully.  I'm really starting to get the hang of this thing- and I'm happy to report that the boys are adjusting well!

Breakfast: Fruit smoothies
One part fruit, one part orange juice, one part vanilla yogurt (about a quarter cup each) and one banana blended until smooth.

Lunch:  Macaroni and Cheese
Cheap and easy- from the box.  Hey, sometimes you just need simple!

Dinner: Lentil Chili served over baked potatoes
This chili is vegan, unless you add cheese and sour cream as a garnish.  I adapted it from this recipe and served it over baked potatoes, although it would be a filling meal on its own.
Now, I am a big fan of beans.  My favorite by far though, is the lentil.  They are relatively simple to make.  They require little prep- you don't need to soak them like you have to with other dry beans which makes the cook time way faster (they cook in less than an hour).  And they provide a rich meaty texture and taste.  They'll fill you up because they are the second highest source of protein found in veggies, legumes, or nuts (behind only soy)!  They are also rich in fiber, vitamin B1, iron, and folate (source).  You can find them in the grocery store with other dried beans and often times in bulk sections. 

Lentil Chili
1T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2T chili powder
1t dry oregano
1/8t cayenne (more or less depending on your spice level)
1 cup brown lentils, washed
1/4c red lentils, washed
56 ounces vegetable broth
8 ounces tomato sauce
1/2 cup sliced green onion (more or less depending on your taste)
6 ounces sliced black olives, drained
12 ounces roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
Optional garnishes: lime slices, shredded cheese, sour cream, more olives and sliced green onion

In a large Dutch oven or stew pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and sautee until they start to soften.  Add garlic and sautee another minute.  Add chili powder, oregano, and cayenne stirring constantly for another minute or until the spices are fragrant.  Add broth, tomato sauce, and lentils.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Cook until lentils are soft (over an hour).  When lentils are soft add green onion, chopped red pepper, and olives and simmer for another 20 minutes.   

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