Of all the dishes that we have tasted since going Whole-Food Plant-Based, the one that rises above the rest, and that we continue to make over and over again has to be Chef AJ’s fabulous Red Lentil Chili!
It’s easy, it’s fast, and it makes enough to feed us for several days! Oh – and the price per serving is negligible, too!
We make the chili in the InstantPot (don’t forget – use code ‘BENJI’ at checkout at InstantPot.com to save $45!), but if you have a slow cooker or just want to make it in a pot, you can certainly do that – but in the Instant Pot, you’re talking about only 10 minutes once it comes to pressure, roughly 15-20 minutes total after all ingredients are in the pot.
Here’s the recipe:
1 Pound of dry red lentils
7 Cups of water (if you start with boiling water, it will come to pressure faster)
2 (14.5 oz) Cans of salt-free tomatoes, fire-roasted preferred
1 (6 oz) Can of salt-free tomato paste
10 Ounces of chopped onion (we love onion so we often use a full pound)
1 pound of red bell pepper (about 2 large), either VERY finely chopped, or blended as described below
3 Ounces of dates (approximately 12 Deglet Noor)
8 Cloves of garlic, finely minced
4 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1.5 Tablespoons of parsley flakes
1.5 Tablespoons of oregano
1.5 Tablespoons of salt-free chili powder
2 teaspoons SMOKED paprika
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
Blend the dates, tomatoes, red bell peppers and garlic in a blender and blend until smooth. Place all remaining ingredients in an electric pressure cooker. Add the tomato/pepper blend in. Cook on high for 10 minutes. Alternatively, place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. ***IMPORTANT NOTE*** If you are using the InstantPot, I have had trouble with the pot overheating/scorching, but only if I stir the ingredients before cooking. Why? Got me! Ever since I took AJ’s advice and only put the ingredients in and didn’t stir, no problems.
The sequence of ingredients added when I cook the chili is water, onions, lentils, all spices, and the blended mixture last.
Luckily, we have video of AJ making this fantastic Red Lentil Chili along with Julieanna Hever in one of their wonderful “Chef & The Dietician” YouTube videos. Check it out!
P.S. Don’t forget to pick up Chef AJ’s book Unprocessed for more fantastic recipes just like this one!