I woke up to chilly 14 degree weather this morning…brrr! I honestly don’t know why I live in the Northeast as I am not at all a cold weather person. Makes me wonder why I went to college near the Canadian border too. This kind of cold weather makes me want to just stay indoors and cook up a pot of chili like this Crockpot Lentil Chili. Just let it simmer on its own all day and you’ll have a nice warming bowl of chili for dinner.
I’ve never made chili with lentils, usually opting for black beans or red beans. I actually first made this lentil chili when my youngest son got his braces last month. It was the perfect consistency since lentils are small and require little chewing, perfect for a tender mouth. Unlike dried beans, lentils don’t need to be pre-soaked, and don’t take as long to cook as beans.
Not only are lentils a terrific source of vegetarian protein, but they are good for heart health too, containing nutrients that help lower cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. One cup of cooked lentils provides 16 grams of dietary fiber, 18 grams of protein, 90% daily value (“DV) of folate, 49% DV manganese, and 37% DV iron.
I decided to make this Lentil Chili in a crockpot so I wouldn’t have to worry about watching a pot on the stove. With multiple kids’ schedules to manage, it is the type of easy dinner that can be served on a busy night. Although I try to have everyone sit down to dinner at the same time, it’s not always possible. Crockpot meals like this Lentil Chili are perfect for these flexible dinners, since it’s hard to overcook chili, and it keeps well. Served with my Rice Cooker Quinoa and Mushroom Pilaf, this is a super easy meal to put on the table. The Lentil Chili can be kept warm in the crockpot, and the Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf in the rice cooker.
Easy Crockpot Lentil Chili Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 6-8 garlic cloves minced
- 2 carrots chopped
- 1 celery stalk chopped
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- One 28-ounce box crushed tomatoes
- salt to taste
- One 16-ounce package dry lentils I used brown lentils, picked through for stones, rinsed and drained
- 6-7 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Heat oil in a large pot. Add onions, garlic, carrots and celery. Saute until onions are softened and lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano and mustard and stir well for a minute or two. Add tomatoes and salt to taste. Pour mixture into crockpot and add lentils and 6 cups of broth.
Cook for 4-6 hours. Add more broth or water as needed to achieve desired consistency.
This chili is not very spicy. You can add some chipotle pepper powder or cayenne powder if you want it spicier.
This post has been linked up to Beyond the Peel’s Whole Food Wednesday event.