04 April 2013

Crock Pot Gourmet: Lentil Chili

Sometimes, I want a nice, warm bowl of chili, but I don't want something from a can and I didn't plan ahead to soak a pot of beans the night before. This is why I always keep a few pounds of lentils in my pantry. All the goodness and yummy flavor of beans, but no presoaking required. This recipe for vegan Lentil Chili is one of our family favorite crock pot meals.
You will need:
2 lb. dry lentils
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. baking cocoa
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. chili powder
dash cayenne pepper (or more, to taste)
Wash the lentils, sorting carefully to make sure there are no small rocks in the mix.

Place lentils in the bottom of a 7-quart crock pot.
(For a 5-quart crock, you can cut the ingredients in half.)

Add spices and seasonings.

Fill crock with water, leaving about 2 inches of head space at the top, to prevent boil-overs.

Cook on low for 6-7 hours, until lentils are softened and plump.
Add one can of diced tomatoes. (You don't want to add the tomatoes, or anything acidic, until the lentils are soft, because the acid will prevent them from softening.)

Cook on low for another hour or two.

Serve alone, or over a bed of your favorite corn chips.
(My kids like to cover their chili with a ton of shredded cheese, but I think there's plenty of flavor without the added fat and calories of cheese.)

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