This is so full of flavour & satisfying, you won’t miss the meat. I like to serve this with a salad, along with bread to sop up the thick sauce.
French Du Puy lentils work better than normal brown lentils, as they retain their shape better, and their smaller size add a pleasing meat-like texture to the chili.
1 c dry Du Puy lentils (sometimes labeled as Puy lentils)
1 T vegetable oil
1-2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
227 g mushroom, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
Stalks from one bunch of cilantro, chopped (optional)
798 ml can tomatoes, crushed with your hand
½ of a 156 ml can tomato paste
4 t chili powder
1 t oregano
1 t cumin
¼ t chili flakes
1 t salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 t sugar
1 T lemon or lime juice
Chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
In a large saucepan, cover the lentils generously with water, and soak for one hour. After the hour has elapsed, bring the lentils to a boil, then simmer, covered, for approximately 25 minutes or until tender. Drain & set aside.
Give the saucepan a quick rinse, dry, and put on stove over medium heat. Once heated, add the oil, celery, carrot, onion, bell pepper and mushrooms. Cook, stirring regularly, until mushrooms have released their liquid and the majority has evaporated. Add the garlic, and cook for an additional minute or so.
Add the cilantro stalks (if using), tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, oregano, cumin, chili flakes, salt, black pepper, sugar and citrus juice. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook covered, stirring often, for one hour or until all the vegetables are tender.
Serve garnished with cilantro, if desired.