It was probably about 4-5 years ago that I first tasted lentils. Growing up, we didn’t eat a large variety of beans, let alone lentils. My parents were visiting the first time I tried lentils, and my mom and I found a very easy lentil “chili” recipe with simple seasonings and a tomato sauce. I’ve made the basic lentil meatless chili a dozen times, and since then have been on the lookout for more varieties of lentils to experiment with.
The other weekend I discovered an organic three lentil mix at Costco and I was all over it. It included red split, green and black beluga lentils. Sold! I used the trio of lentils in another vegetarian chili the other week and can say it will be a recipe I will commit to memory and make again and again. I love having a hearty, meatless soup to serve to my family. The dish also reheats well and makes for great leftovers. This recipe left our family of three with a TON of leftovers. A homemade lunch was served for many days that week for us working parents. The lentil chili also freezes well if you find the recipe to be too abundant.
Without further ado….the recipe! If you try it, please do let me know your thoughts or modifications. I know I can never follow a recipe of a tee and always modify to fit our taste. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced finely
1.5 cups chopped carrots
1.5 cups chopped celery
4 garlic cloves, minced
28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
3 cups dried lentils
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
5 cups of water
chopped green onions
small sprinkle of freshly chopped herbs to taste, if using (basil, oregano and parsley)
Melt the butter in a large stock pot. Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Saute while mixing occasionally for about 5-8 minutes over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, lentils, cumin, salt, pepper and water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally until the lentils are tender, for about 30 minutes. Stir in the fresh herbs just before serving.
Serve with crusty bread and topped with a tablespoon of shredded cheese and sprinkle of green onions, if desired.