I needed a boost this week. I was sick Friday night and Saturday, and after a 24-hour cracker diet I needed something delicious and hearty and exciting AND super boosted with feel good nutrition. And what’s the antithesis of crackers? Mexican recipes. So I came up with this chili, and it was exactly what I needed on every lentil, er level. If you need a feel good boost too, or just want some damn fine chili, I think you’re going to like this.
The magic ingredient is lentils. If you’ve read some of my previous ramblings you know I used to have a weird grudge against them that had a lot to do with their name, but that’s all behind me now. Lentils kick nutritional booty all over the place, and that’s why I wanted them in my super boost chili. First off, they’re probably the single most filling food I’ve ever eaten. When I’ve had lentils, I know it. I know it in a way that doesn’t even tempt me to raid the cupboard after dinner. They’re a magical food indeed.
All that fillingness comes from being super high in fiber and protein. Each serving of this chili is almost 2 cups, because we’re trying to do some quality eating here, right? So it’s almost 2 cups, and has 115% (!!) percent of our daily fiber and 24.3 grams of protein. Some of the fiber comes from other stuff in the chili, but lentils are doing most of the work, and the protein? That’s all them. And they taste awesome in this chili! They’re not often featured in Mexican recipes, but why not? They kind of stay in the background, making a gentle but hearty playground for all the other flavors. So well done, lentils. You nailed it.
Speaking of other flavors, I used poblano pepper for some mild heat, bell pepper for sweetness, cilantro for that bursting Mexican freshness I can’t get enough of and lime, ditto. There’s a lot of flavor in this chili. I have to give the MVP award to the cilantro because it sparks every bite with palate-wake-up-freshness, hence the little cilantro crown I styled the chili with. Cute, no? This crew is also mad full of vitamin C, 102% per serving mad to be exact. More boostiness!
When I first thought of throwing a little corn in there, some dull, rule-bound part of my brain tried to talk me out of it. Corn and lentils can’t happen together, it droned. But you know I loves my corn, and it’s perfect in Mexican recipes, so after some surprisingly intense consideration corn won. Best decision ever! It’s sweet and juicy and lands some nice texture in there, goes great with all the other flavors, and to my happy surprise got along great with the lentils. So corn and lentils _is_ a thing, and the dull, rule-bound part of my brain is totally overrated.
This chili gave me the boost I was looking for: delicious, exciting, filling and full of stuff that pepped me up and helped get me back in action. What are some of your go-to foods when you need a boost?
Eat Healthy Eat Happy
5 minPrep Time
55 minCook Time
1 hrTotal Time
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- - 1 Tbs chili powder
- - 2 tsp cumin
- - 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- - 1 tsp dried coriander
- - 1/2 tsp oregano
- - 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (just use a pinch for less heat)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 poblano pepper, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/4 c red cooking wine (can substitute water)
- 2 1/4 c dried green lentils
- 8 c water
- 2 6 oz. cans salt-free tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp agave (or your favorite sweetener)
- 2 Tbs lime juice (1/2 a lime)
- 1 c fresh cilantro leaves and stems, torn
- 1 1/2 c corn kernels (I used frozen)
- Combine the olive oil and seasonings in a large pot over low heat. Let the spices bloom about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Raise the heat to medium and add the onion; cook the onion about 5 minutes, stirring as needed.
- Add the bell and poblano peppers and cook another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes longer, stirring often. Add the wine or water to deglaze the pot.
- Add the lentils and stir them up with the contents of the pot for about a minute. Add the water, tomato paste, salt and sweetener and stir to combine well.
- Raise the heat to high and bring to a full rolling boil. Partially cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer 30 minutes, stirring once.
- Add the lime juice, cilantro and corn. Stir to combine. Let everything heat through and serve.
[img src=http://eathealthyeathappy.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Lenil_Chili_Nutrition_Label.png width=383 height=589 class=aligncenter size-full title=Lenil_Chili_Nutrition_Label alt=Lenil_Chili_Nutrition_Label]
Just can’t get enough lentils? Check out my Savory Lentil and Spinach Stew!