Quite like a lot of my recipes this one has been adapted from one I used to make with meat. I used to make this with ground turkey and eventually I tried it with quinoa but I was never crazy about this chili with quinoa. It’s a good boost of protein but I just never liked it in the chili.
Then enter lentils and I was like now we are in business. It’s no secret that I love lentils and that I often use them as a protein source where I used to use meat. I can’t help it. They are so versatile and work well in so many dishes. They are low in calorie, full of fiber, loaded with minerals and b-vitamins, and all of this with basically no fat. Lentils, how I love thee.
Like I said I’ve been making this chili the same way for years just with different subs for protein sources. This time however my mom tasted it for the first time in a long time and told me that I should enter a vegan chili cook off. Is that a thing? Should I find one? I told her she’s had this chili before and never said that but she was convinced that this is the best batch of chili I have ever made.
I couldn’t figure out what she could possibly be tasting that was so different but then I remembered what happened when I was making this chili because I’m really dumb. My cornstarch and baking powder are in identical containers but one is green and one is white. I was paying the least amount of attention to what I was doing so I grabbed the baking powder instead of cornstarch.
I made the slurry and thought it was weird that it fizzed when cornstarch doesn’t do that but it didn’t stop me. I poured the slurry into the pot and then it dawned on me what I had done. I was kicking myself for being so dumb.
I scooped out as much as I could off the top since I didn’t stir it in thank god and I absolutely hate wasting food so I was not about to chuck the whole pot out cause I’m an idiot.
So as I was thinking what I had done different I realized that was the only thing. There was some leftover baking powder in there and I thought maybe I discovered the weirdest chili secret ingredient ever. I wouldn’t actually recommend adding any to your chili because I don’t actually think it’s a good secret ingredient I think my mom just hadn’t had my chili in a really long time. I just thought I’d share the story with you so you know how dumb I am.
If you do try this or any other recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #modernlittlevictories on Instagram! I’d love to hear what you think and see what you create in your kitchen.
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ small onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 1 small bell pepper, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- ½ tbsp cumin
- ½ tbsp oregano
- 2 cups water
- 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 15oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed well
- 1 15oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed well
- ½ cup lentils
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- Optional for topping – sliced jalapeno, diced scallions, shredded cheese, sour cream, & saltine crackers
- Heat olive oil in a medium/large pot. Add in diced onion, jalapeno, and bell pepper. Cook until soft and onion is translucent.
- Add in minced garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Toss in chili powder, cumin, and oregano.
- Cook in the heat for about a minute.
- Pour in water, tomatoes, and lentils. Bring to a boil and let cook for about 15 minutes.
- Add in beans and reduce chili to a simmer. Let simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Remove ½ cup liquid and pour into a small bowl with cornstarch. Whisk together to make a slurry. Pour back into the chili. Let thicken for 5 minutes.
- Serve and top with whatever garnishes you like.