Halloween, in recent years, has become a bit of an obsession in our household. Our kids grew up on the Harry Potter series, and a few years ago, they had the brilliant idea to throw a Harry Potter party for their friends. Wellll….four years later, things have gotten a bit out of hand, shall we say?!
Two nights, 800 guests, 30 gallons of pumpkin juice and butterbeer and hundreds of floating candles….We literally spend the entire month of October getting ready for this ridiculously elaborate and fun event. (Get excited for a Halloween post all about our magical “Hogwarts” event!) Like us, everyone has their own Halloween traditions: activities, decorations and treats that just have to be included every year. Of course, many of these revolve around FOOD. Am I right? Chili, cider, donuts…is this ringing a bell with anyone?
I’m not sure why chili has become a Halloween staple, but I bet a lot of people eat a piping hot bowl of their favorite recipe before heading out the door with their little ghosts and goblins on October 31. We’ve tipped the traditional meaty version on its head with this one.
Vegetarian Lentil Chili is colorful, full of flavor, hearty enough for even the longest treks through the neighborhood, and the meat isn’t even missed one bit! It gets its strength from lentils, a super-packed, superfood legume that adds flavor and an amazing amount of nutrients to your soup bowl. Lentils are awesome! Unlike most legumes, they cook quickly, in about 10 minutes. Plus, they come in such fun colors…bright red, orange, yellow, green, black. Lentils are a super easy way to boost the nutrient levels in soup, grains, casseroles, stews….just throw a handful in and simmer for 10 minutes.
And then of course, chili can’t be enjoyed without some fresh-from-the-oven corn muffins to dip in it!
So, as you finish up those last-minute costume details, run to the school Halloween parade and stock up on more candy than should ever be present in one house at a time, grab some lentils and put a pot of veggie chili on the stove. This one’ll give you loads of energy…and you’re gonna need it!
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 large yellow onion
- 6 stalks celery
- 1 red pepper
- 3 carrots
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbsp cumin
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp. coriander
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 5 cups water
- 1 cup red or orange lentils
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can kidney beans
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a large pot. Dice the onions, celery and peppers and add to the pot.
- Sauté in the oil until onions are translucent and soft, stir occasionally. (Use low heat so they don’t brown!)
- Peel and chop carrots into bite-sized chunks and add to the pot.
- Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, coriander and paprika and stir to coat vegetables. Heat for 1-2 minutes, until the spices create a strong aroma.
- Mash chipotles and add to pot, along with tomatoes, water and lentils. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until the lentils are soft, about 30 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper and garnish with grated cheese, plain Greek yogurt and cilantro, if desired.
*Add or subtract chipotles according to your heat preference. Chipotles in adobo are extremely spicy, so if you've never used them, add slowly and taste as you go!
*This can be made days ahead and kept in the fridge. It also freezes very well, so make a double or triple batch for easy meals later!