Chef AJ and John Pierre’s Ultimate Weight Loss DVD/CD Set

Chef AJ and John Pierre
As you probably know if you’re a regular reader, we are HUGE fans of Chef AJ, and her delicious, SOS-free (that’s salt-oil-sugar free) recipes! We were recently honored to have the chance to review her latest DVD/CD set that she put out with the wonderful John Pierre, her business partner.

The Ultimate Weight Loss DVD/CD set is amazing, and you must check it out! Whether you’re looking for some help getting started and don’t know where to start, are just looking for a simple-to-understand explanation of why eating this way makes sense for health and weight loss, or easy tips on how to stay healthy in social situations are during travel – this set is a must-have. HIGHLY recommended. Kudos to AJ and John Pierre! (By the way, if you’re in Southern California, you are lucky – you can attend AJ’s in-person Ultimate Weight Loss live events!)

Chef AJ’s Red Lentil Chili Recipe

Ingredients for Chef AJ's Red Lentil Chili

Ingredients for Chef AJ‘s Red Lentil Chili

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 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.

The tomatoes, red bell peppers, dates and garlic ready to blend

The tomatoes, red bell peppers, dates and garlic ready to blend

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)

All ingredients in the pot - ready to cook!

All ingredients in the pot – ready to cook!


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.

Finished! Some steamed broccoli with the chili on top, and finished with some of Chef AJ's Faux Parm!

Finished! Some steamed broccoli with the chili on top, and finished with some of Chef AJ’s Faux Parm!

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!

My Chat with Chef AJ

AJ and Benji I was honored to be Chef AJ’s special guest during her weekly teleclass on August 28, 2014!

As you know, Chef AJ is the secret behind some of our very favorite Whole-Food Plant-Based dishes, like her fabulous Red Lentil Chili, Split Pea Soup, Faux Parm, and many delicious no-sugar-added desserts!

Listen to the entire teleclass below as we talk about the Whole-Food Plant-Based lifestyle and my journey to better health and a slimmer waistline!

Chef AJ’s Faux Parmesan Recipe – Delicious On Everything

One of the staples of our Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet that we’ve just discovered in the last several months is Chef AJ’s Faux Parm. We use this stuff on EVERYTHING – vegetables, chili, pasta, stews, soups – you name it. Anything that would have been made better with parmesan when we were eating the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) is made even better with this fantastic salty-but-contains-no-salt mixture. By the way, be sure to pick up Chef AJ’s book Unprocessed for more fantastic recipes just like this one!

The ingredients for the faux parm couldn’t be more simple – there’s only three: Almonds, Nutritional Yeast and salt-free seasoning. Personally, I took AJ’s suggestion and ordered Benson’s Gourmet Seasonings “Table Tasty” salt substitute. It’s made completely of herbs and spices, contains no MSG, preservatives, potassium chloride or sodium. It is DELICIOUS.

Chef AJ Faux Parmesan Recipe

Chef AJ’s Faux Parmesan Recipe:

1 Cup Almonds (I prefer them blanched, slivered and I keep them in the fridge, they seem to stay more fresh)
1/2 Cup Nutritional Yeast (you can find this in health food stores, Whole Foods, many groceries and online)
1.5-2 TB Benson’s Table Tasty Salt Substitute

I put them through the food processor until the consistency is fine (sometimes I leave it a little more coarse for texture) – it’s about 8-10 seconds in the processor.

That’s it! You’re left with a great seasoning/flavor enhancer to use on any dish you’d like!

Chef AJ Faux Parmesan Recipe