Red Lentil and Beef Chili (Gluten-Free, Dairy Free)
I’ve been in a super chili mood ever since the leaves started changing colors. I’ve been saving a ton of chili recipes in my “cold weather recipes” Google Doc, when I ran into Running with Tweezer’s red lentil chili and realized I had nearly all the ingredients already on hand. And I realized this is a super easy chili.
It totally inspired me to make a red lentil and beef chili to up my protein intake (three years later I’m still in need of a lot of protein after losing so much weight while I was ill) and give it an extra oomph. I also made a couple additional small changes to accommodate what I had on hand (like my preference for canned chiles over ones I have to chop… mostly because I have no idea how to chop a chili).
The chili smelled amazing while it was cooking. Seriously… it is probably one of the best smelling meals I’ve ever made. And all in, it only took about an hour which flew by.
I started with the basic ingredients…
And decided to add some of this…
And some of this… (I love that it’s free range, hormone-free, and antibiotic-free for only $5.49 a pound!)
1 medium onion
2 tsp crushed garlic (or a crushed garlic clove)
1 4oz can crushed green chilis
2 Tbsp olive oil
The things that make this chili:
1 cup red lentils
1 lb ground beef (or ground turkey, chicken, or 4 chicken sausages, etc… I used Trader Joe’s hormone-free, antibiotic-free ground beef at $5.49 a pound.)
salt and pepper
1 15oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
Add the olive oil, chopped onion, and garlic to a large saucepan on medium heat. Simmer for a couple minutes until the onions are nice and soft. Then stir in the green chilis. (I used this time to thaw out my ground beef in the microwave. I’m usually anti-microwave in my house, but I also like to keep my beef frozen unless I know for sure I’m going to use it in a day or two. In this case, I wasn’t positive so I didn’t pull it out of the freezer until I got home from work.)
(Check out my messy stove! Yikes!)
Add the ground beef to the saucepan. I separated mine into 4 sections with a knife after I thawed it and added it like this so it would fall apart faster. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper and cover it with a lid so it can all simmer and steam together and absorb flavors. Stir every 2 minutes or so until it’s falling apart and mostly cooked (like 5-7 minutes in my case).
Add the red lentils, 2 1/2 cups of the water, the crushed tomatoes, and the tomato paste and stir it all up. Add the spices and stir them in. Bring it to a boil.
Cover with a lid and simmer on medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. I had to add another cup of water about halfway through this point, which the lentils will absorb.
Uncover and eat!