Eggplant and lentils make for a kinda beefy chili that warms you to the core on a cold winter’s night. if a little cocoa powder in chili is new to you, don’t take my word for its deliciousness: mexico has been rocking the chocolate and chili for thousands of years. I prefer plain old green lentils for this dish. they’re easy to find and their mellow flavor works well with all the strong flavors of this recipe.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, cut into medium dice
1 red bell pepper, cut into medium dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon mild chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup dried green lentils, washed
4 cups vegetable broth
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 pounds eggplant, cut into P-inch cubes
2 teaspoons agave nectar or pure maple syrup
cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions and bell pepper in the oil until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute, using nonstick cooking spray or a splash of water if it’s sticking. Mix in the chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, cinnamon, and salt. Add n cup of the vegetable broth and the cocoa powder, and cook for about 1 more minute while stirring to dissolve the cocoa.
Add the lentils, remaining vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, and eggplant. Cover the pot and bring the mixture to a boil, keeping a close eye on it. Once it’s boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes, until the lentils are tender and the eggplant is soft. Mix in the agave. Taste for salt and seasoning.
Let the chili sit for 10 minutes or so for maximum flavor. Serve garnished with cilantro, if you like.
For spicier chili, add 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes when you add the garlic.
Lentils are an amazingly nutritious little bean. So much so that those vegetarian cookbooks from the ’70s seem to be all lentil dishes! Well, we’re not afraid to bring this nutritional rock star into the twenty-first century. They are high in protein, iron, and fiber—all important nutrients for vegans and those who love them. One-half cup cooked lentils has 9 grams of protein, 3.2 grams of iron, 179 micrograms of folate, and 8 grams of fiber. They’re also incredibly affordable—that half cup would cost you around twenty-five cents. Next time someone tells you that veganism is expensive, you answer, “Lentils.”
calories from fat: 20
Total fat: 2 g
saturated fat: 0 g
Trans fat: 0 g
Total carb: 39 g
Fiber: 18 g
sugars: 10 g
Protein: 13 g
cholesterol: 0 mg
sodium: 800 mg
vitamin A: 30%
vitamin c: 10%