There’s a small sandwich shop in my hometown that is a staple. The food isn’t anything special but the tradition around the restaurant is there. Half the menu consists of loaded potatoes smothered with meats, nacho cheese, steamed vegetables, and of course, chili. I’ve made chili loaded fries before but these chili lentils are a bit easier and just as delicious. Make sure you find or make a solid chili powder- it’s the foundation for the entire meal.
Chili Lentils over Sweet Potatoes
An easy, vegan vegetarian dinner that features red lentils cooked with chili powder and used to smother baked sweet potatoes.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup minced yellow onion
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup red lentils
- 1 1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
- 2 small baked sweet potatoes
- cilantro, for serving
- scallions, for serving
Heat a pot or dutch oven over medium low heat. Add the onion and cook until fragrant and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir, and cook for another minute or so. Measure in the spices and salt, stir to coat the onions and toast for a minute or so.
After the spices are added, stir in the lentils followed by the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes. Lentils should be starting to soften. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, cover, and cook until the lentils are tender and starting to fall apart. Taste and add more salt as desired.
Cut a slit in the sweet potatoes and spoon the chili lentils into and over the sweet potatoes. Top with cilantro and scallions as desired.
Tips & Tricks: You could add the tomatoes in with the vegetable broth but occasionally, depending on how old the lentils are, I’ve had trouble getting them tender.
Nutrition: See the information.
Red lentils are a must in my kitchen. It’s an easy to cook protein that soaks up flavors. These chili lentils happen when I don’t feel like having full-blown chili but still want something similar. A few ways to switch up the recipe:
Polenta: For the ultimate comfort meal, I love these chili lentils on top of polenta. Or you could go for the ultimate meal: a sweet potato polenta with chili lentils.
Greens: Stir in kale, chard, or spinach towards the end of cooking for a pop of green.
Yogurt: I wanted to leave these vegan but you could always top the chili lentils with a dollop of yogurt and/or a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese.
Lentils are a must in my pantry. I keep red lentils on hand for quick soups, stews, and creamy meals while I have brown lentils on hand to make my favorite lentil bites. Black and French lentils tend to rotate but both hold up well in salads, tacos, enchiladas, and most places you might use chickpeas. A few of my favorite lentil recipes include: