Lentil & Sweet Potato Chili
Part one of a three-part series on flexible weeknight dinners - a spicy lentil chili you'll be able to use in all kinds of meals!
I’ve been wanting to make lentil soup ever since Dave and I spent a romantic Valentine’s Day weekend in Seattle. We had a delicious soup at Petra’s in Belltown – it was part of a great meal overall and a really special weekend that took us all over the city to the EMP museum (awesome; go immediately), Sun Liquor Distillery (we tasted it all, and brought home some gin!), and plenty of fun places to eat and drink. That soup wasn’t really a lot like this recipe, but it definitely started me craving them. And the good memories of the weekend certainly don’t hurt either.
Then a few days after we got back, I had a great lentil salad with lamb neck at Little Bird in Portland, and that point I interpreted that it was a sign from the universe that I would be cooking with lentils soon. Luckily (?) it is rainy and gross here, and soup sounds great almost every day.
In addition to being literally warm, but this one in particular just seems like it warms your insides, too. It’s packed with protein and the lack of dairy and grains makes it seem energizing, somehow. That is totally unscientific. But I stand by it. Eat this soup. And happy Friday!
Here’s what you need:
1/2 white onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
Large pinch of salt
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cup lentils
1 can stewed tomatoes (including liquid)
1.5 quarts vegetable broth
1 tsp. Hungarian paprika
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Hot sauce to taste
Toppings: sour cream* and paprika, if you like
*In the past, some helpful commentors have commented that putting sour cream on top makes this no longer vegan. I am aware of this 🙂 Do not use sour cream if you want the soup to be vegan. The soup is great without sour cream.
Heat 1-2 Tbsp. oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven. Add in the onion, carrots and celery. Sprinkle with a very large pinch of salt and saute until softened.
Next, add the bay leaves, lentils, tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked. At this point you may wish to blend the soup, depending on how chunky you would like it to be. We blended about half of it, so we ended up with a nice thick broth that still had some chunks of veggies.
Finally, stir in the lemon juice and a few shakes of your favorite hot sauce. Taste and salt to your preference.
Top with a dab of sour cream and/or a sprinkle of paprika if you like.