Sweet Potato and Lentil Veggie Chili.

I am totally back in the groove in the kitchen these days.  In my earliest weeks (okay months) of pregnancy, cooking was a struggle.  I’m sure you noticed.  But I promised you if you’d just hold on, I would eventually make it up to you.  And now week by week, meal by meal, I am trying to do just that.

I apologize to those of you who live in climates where you are still wearing shorts and sundresses.  Fall has arrived in Seattle and I just can’t help myself.  Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s nesting – either way, all I want to make are hearty meals that can be eaten on the couch under my favorite fuzzy blanket.  I encourage you to do the same.

Sweet Potato and Lentil Veggie Chili

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Ingredients: (makes 8 servings)

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1.5 cups green French lentils
  • 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • salt to taste

Instructions:  In order to make a proper chili, you’ll need to use a heavy-bottomed pot.  Add onions to the pot with a bit of olive oil, and sauté for 5 minutes until beginning to soften.  Add carrots and sweet potatoes, and continue to sauté and stir until partially cooked. 

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After allowing the vegetables to cook for about 15 minutes, add the jalapeno pepper.  If you like a more spicy chili, you might want to consider adding an extra pepper as well.

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Next add your tomatoes.  Try to find a variety that is fire roasted or has a bit of extra flavor and kick.  Don’t drain, just open and dump.

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Finally, add the lentils, broth, and spices.  Make sure to use green French lentils.  Red lentils will turn to mush!

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Bring chili up to a simmer and then turn the heat down to low and cover.  Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, until lentils are fully cooked and chili has thickened.  If it becomes to thick (or you prefer a less hearty soup), you can also add an extra cup of water. 

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Season to taste with (lots of) salt.  Serve piping hot in your favorite mug.

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I made some delicious (gluten-free!) cornbread to go along with this soup too, but that recipe will have to wait until later in the week – still needs a bit of tweaking. 

Note to my slow-cooker friends, I definitely think this recipe could be made in a crock-pot too!  Just add all the ingredients and cook until flavors have developed and lentils have softened. 

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I told you guys I wasn’t kidding about being totally in fall mode now.  This hearty lentil chili is so simple and tasty, and I’m sure the leftovers are even better.  I can’t wait to pull them out of the freezer on a cool November day, when my baby is screaming and an easy, simple meal is more than needed. 

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I hope you like it as much as I do – enjoy!