French Lentil and Black Bean Chili


Friday, sweet, glorious Friday, you have finally arrived. For the first time in weeks, Cameron and I have no big hikes planned tomorrow, though we are pumped to join our friend Kate for her first 5K, the Colorado Courage Run, at Cheesman Park.

Denver's Only Run to Support Parkinson's Research. Click the image for more info.
Denver’s Only Run to Support Parkinson’s Research. Click the image for more info.

She’s been training this summer, upping her distance each workout and overcoming her long-held belief that she’s not a runner. I’m very proud of you, Kate, and can’t wait to high five you tomorrow when you cross the finish line. You are going to rock that race!

One of the nice benefits of running is that after you burn all those calories tearing along the race course, you get a free pass on calorie intake for the remainder of the day. (At least that’s the policy at the Middleton and Turner house.)

Below you’ll find a recipe for a big pot of hearty lentil and black bean chili. I pinned this recipe after searching for comfort food last spring when the weather was finger-numbing and annoying. Even though I’m still relishing the mostly perfect summer weather in Denver, I decided to practice soup-making since I had most of the ingredients for this chili on hand.

You may remember that I posted a chili recipe earlier this year, and if you attempted it in your kitchen, you know that it took some time to prepare. Today’s recipe is a nice chili alternative when you want a very flavorful meal but don’t have as much time. Though the ingredients list below looks long, there’s only about 15 minutes of food prep. The rest of the time you’re checking on the lentils and adding ingredients to the pot.

Cameron and I sopped up the beans and sauce with some of the Corn-Jalapeno Fritters I shared earlier this week, but if you’d prefer, the original recipe suggests cooking up a pot of rice. You can also just enjoy the chili without the added carbs, though I recommend trying some of the suggested toppings listed below.

Lentil Black Bean Chili
Image by author.

French Lentil-Black Bean Chili with Purple Cabbage
(adapted from a What’s Cooking Good Looking? recipe)
Serves 4-6 as a meal

– 2 TBS of grapeseed oil

– 1 large yellow onion, diced

– 1 TBS cumin

– 1/2 tsp chili powder

– 1/2 tsp of salt

– a pinch of two of cayenne

– 7 cloves of garlic, minced

– 4-5 serrano or jalapeño chilies, de-seeded and sliced thin (I used four jalapeños.)

– 3 chilpotle chilies in adobo

– a 16oz can of diced tomatoes

– 2 cups of french lentils, rinsed (The original recipe calls for black beluga lentils, so if you can find them, try ’em and let me know how they taste.)

– 2 cups of black beans, organic canned or soaked and cooked

– 5-6 cups of water

– a large handful of cilantro, chopped

– 2 – 1″ square pieces of an espresso dark chocolate bar – 70% cacao or higher (optional, but highly recommended)

– 2 cups of purple cabbage, sliced thin

– 1-2 cups of cooked rice of your choice, for serving (I omitted rice and made these corn fritters instead.)

Optional toppings: hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, micro greens, and additional chopped cilantro (I used ground hemp seeds, which are fantastic as a topping.)

1. In a medium to large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium heat, and add in the onions, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, and salt, cooking for several minutes until the onion is soft.

2. Add the garlic and jalapeños, and cook for another 5 minutes until the garlic is fragrant.

3. Add the chipotle chilies and tomatoes, and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add the lentils, and stir to coat the lentils with the mixture.

**If you’re using dried beans that have been soaked and cooked, you will add them as well at this point. However, if you are using canned beans, you will add them after 30 minutes when the lentils have cooked and are tender.

4. Pour in 4 cups of water. You want the water to be about 2 inches above the ingredients, and keep in mind that you may add more water later depending on how thick you like your chili. Bring it to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer, simmering for about 30 minutes with a lid sitting loosely on top. Stir occasionally.

5. Once your lentils are tender and have cooked through, if you are using canned beans, then you will add them at this point. You may also want to add more water if you feel that the chili has cooked down too much. Start with one cup, simmer the chili for another 20-30 minutes and then check back. If you still feel like it needs more water, then add another cup, but 5 cups should give you a good ratio of thickness.

6. Now, add the chocolate, and stir until it has melted through. Then add the cilantro and stir to incorporate. Taste and adjust any salt or other seasoning as necessary.

7. At this point, if you like, you can add in the purple cabbage and allow it to cook slightly so it becomes more tender. (I added it on top of the chili when serving to add crunch.)

8. To serve, ladle the warm chili into bowls and top with hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, some extra cilantro, micro greens, and the purple cabbage (if you did not add earlier). The flavor will be even better over time, so feel free to keep some in an air-tight container in the fridge to eat later in the week. When stored properly, it should keep for about a week.

Lentil Black Bean Chili
Chili with a side of Corn-Jalapeño Fritters. Image by author.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. afracooking says:

    As it seems that we have used all of the summer sunshine and are now left with endless rain this dish is exactly the type of food I am craving. Lovely!

    1. gwynnem says:

      It’s been quite rainy here in Colorado, too. I could go for a bowl of this chili right now!

  2. cheri says:

    Love this combination! great dish!

    1. gwynnem says:

      Thanks, Cheri. Hope you have a chance to give the recipe a try.

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