Fall is that time of year when my body starts craving warm foods, best with a noticeable hint of spiciness. Creamy soups, stews, and baked dishes like casseroles are on the dinner table at our home almost every day when the weather gets cold. Chili is always a popular choice with my family.

I have two trusted chili recipes. One is the Three Beans Chili that I have already shared with you before and then there is this Lentil Pepper Chili that I make when I want to eat something with more of a creamy consistency. I always make a big batch that we will either eat for dinner two days in a row (nothing wrong with that!) or I will partially freeze half of it to reheat on another day when I don’t have time to cook anything. Even if you are cooking just for one or two people, I recommend you don’t break down this recipe into smaller portions. This chili is unbelievably easy to freeze and store for later. Unless you have no freezer storage space, in that case I’ll understand!

I use plenty of lentils in my kitchen because of their high protein, iron, and fiber content. There are two basic types of lentils, green and red. Their nutritional value is pretty similar but the green lentils are a bit harder and need more soaking time beforehand to soften. The red lentils need less prep and lose their texture when mixed with other ingredients to the point of being almost unnoticeable. This makes red lentils perfect for the creamy consistency of the chili I’m making.

I usually cook the lentils beforehand, when I’m making something else in the kitchen. It cuts down on the prep time for the chili itself. I just put the lentils in boiling water and cook them for about 30 minutes until they are completely soft while I make breakfast or another meal.

This recipe requires you to use a broth, preferably vegetable broth. If you don’t have the time to make one at home, I can whole-heartedly recommend the Trader Joe’s organic low-sodium vegetable broth. It tastes good and doesn’t contain any unwanted ingredients. I also use some nutritional yeast in this recipe but if you don’t have it, it’s okay to substitute that with some finely blended cashew nuts or grated hard cheese, like parmigiano reggiano.

And if you really don’t want this chili to be spicy then it’s okay to simply omit the cayenne pepper altogether. I find that the corn and the red bell pepper break down the spiciness enough for me and my family but we love spicy foods in general so we might be biased.

Creamy Lentil Pepper Chili

Necessary equipment:

  • a large stockpot
  • a wooden spoon
  • an immersion blender

Ingredients:

6 to 8 servings

  • 4 cups of cooked red lentils
  • 2 small red bell peppers
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 cup of frozen or cooked corn
  • 1 quart of vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast OR blended cashews OR shredded hard cheese
  • 1 T. of avocado oil
  • 1 1/3 T. of chili powder
  • 2 t. of cumin powder
  • 1 t. of paprika
  • 1 t. of garlic powder
  • 1/2 t. of cayenne powder

Instructions:

  1. Chop the red bell peppers and dice the onion.
  2. Pour the avocado oil in a large stockpot and warm up over low medium heat.
  3. Add in the onions, stir, and leave to cook under a cover for about five minutes.
  4. Add in the red bell peppers and the corn. Stir to coat well in oil and cook for about seven minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Next, add both the lentils and the broth. Stir to combine.
  6. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne powder. Stir to combine.
  7. Simmer for at least five minutes. More if you want the chili to have a thicker consistency.
  8. Remove the stockpot from heat and use an immersion blender to blend the chili until it’s creamy. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can also do it in another type of blender or food processor but you will probably need to do it in batches because most food processors won’t fit all of the chili at once.
  9. Stir in the nutritional yeast (or a substitute) and serve while still hot.