So, it's no secret that I'm vegetarian, right? Yeah, you'll never see a big ole' slab of meat here on the blog. No steaks, no shrimp, no tuna, no chicken. Things you will see on the blog instead: soy protein, tofu, Morningstar Chick'n strips, mushrooms, beans, and lentils. As a busy vegetarian mama catering to meat-lovers, I have found it to be super simple to just substitute ground beef for soy crumbles or shredded chicken for soy-based vegetarian substitutes. As I'm becoming older, wiser, and more interested in my health, I am starting to second guess some of the choices I have made, in the sake of convenience. So from here on out, I am really going to try and use natural and REAL foods when it comes to turning carnivorous foods into vegetarian-friendly foods.
And that is where this baby was born. Generally, when I make my chili, I just throw in a bag of soy-based Morningstar crumbles to substitute the ground beef. This time, I didn't want to fall into the convenience factor. So I decided to use lentils as my protein substitute. Yes, there is one extra little step, but it's a simple one. Cooking lentils is simple. And you think you don't like lentils? Yeah, well, my family couldn't even notice that I had done anything different to my chili recipe, and in the end, I felt a million times better about what I was eating.
What's so great about this recipe is that you could make the chili for a meal one night, and later for a leftover night, you can top potatoes with it. Very versatile.
This coming week, my son is going to be travelling with his dad, so I get to make some meals that aren't quite as kid-friendly. For us, that means, spicy food, salads, and beer with dinner. I'm going to have to say that I just can't wait! Don't worry, I'm sure I'll be craving an ooey gooey homemade baked mac and cheese dish by the time he returns in a week. But until then, I'll pump my body full of real food. Healthy food. Food that I crave all the time.
What is YOUR favorite dinner-time shortcut??
(Yes, that's me asking you to leave me a comment down below!)
- 8 medium russet potatoes , washed
- 1 cup lentils
- 1.5 cups water
- 1 Tablespoon coconut (or olive) oil
- ½ onion , diced
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 can chili ready beans
- 1 can northern white beans , drained & rinsed
- 1 can black beans , drained & rinsed
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cheddar cheese , grated
- Preheat the own to 350 degrees F.
- Poke each scrubbed potato with about 7-8 holes, using a fork. Wrap each potato in tin foil and place in the oven for about 90 minutes or until tender when poked with a fork.
- With 45 minutes left on the potatoes, add water and lentils to small saucepan. Simmer on medium heat and cover for about 20 minutes. It is very important to be sure it is a slow simmer so your water does not vaporize before the lentils are cooked. Check every so often to be sure you still have water in the pan so you do not have scorched lentils.
- With about 30 minutes left on the potatoes, heat coconut oil to medium heat in large and deep skillet. Once heated, add onions and garlic. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
- When translucent, add all remaining ingredients, including the cooked lentils, except for the cheese. Stir and let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove bay leaf from chili mixture.
- Unwrap and slice open potatoes. Spoon lentil chili over potato, top with shredded cheese, and enjoy!