Early Spring is a teaser season, first bright sun and hints of more to come, then cold and rainy again – when the damp goes on for several days, I get out the foam roller to iron away my physical aches and I look to warm up with something familiar. This weekend I satisfied my lentil craving with a Chili for Sunday lunch, mixing lentils and quinoa for something different- and the result is very adaptable!
I referred to a recipe from a favorite cookbook Savoring the Day by Judith Benn Hurley a brilliant book focusing on awareness of natural rhythms, both personal and seasonal. I swapped in from my pantry where necessary, changing from bulgur to quinoa, combining regular chili powder with smoky chipotle chili powder and adding a light jalapeno boost to chase away the afternoon chill.
I enjoyed my chili with a drizzle of Spicy Chipotle Sauce – it would be equally good I think with Barbecue sauce, especially for finicky eaters (note: this adds sugar.) Tomatoes could be added to the cooking as well. I think this Lentil Chili will make a delicious salad and lentil burgers too!
Heat 2 T oil and add 2 chopped onions, plus 2-4 cloves of chopped garlic; sauté until yellow-brown – 5-8 minutes.
Add 1-1/2 cups rinsed lentils- brown or red, 2 cups quinoa, 7 cups vegetable broth, 3 T chili powder (1 regular, 2 smoky chipotle), ¼ tsp. salt or to taste.
Optional: chopped jalapeno chilies to desired heat (I used 1), tomatoes, carrots, etc
Bring to a boil and simmer 20-40 minutes to desired texture, letting it sit to absorb liquid. Garnish with grated carrot and chopped parsley!
Less cooking for lightly firm and toothy texture, more cooking for breakdown into a creamy texture or you can blend them smooth. Leave them whole for salad. Makes 8 generous servings.