Hungry Runner Fun Fact: Chili is one of my all time favorite foods.
The best bowl of chili I’ve ever had was at a pub in Stirling Scotland on St. Patrick’s day in 2010.
This was before I had an iPhone and an obsession with posting pictures of my food on Instagram. So, unfortunately there’s no photographic proof of The Best Bowl of Chili Ever. But trust me, it existed and I ate it.
Here’s me, sitting at a Royal Table, during the trip. You know, eating like a queen. Like I always do.
Anyway, since then, I’ve made plenty of batches of my own chili. But never in a slow cooker. In fact, previous to whipping up this recipe, I’d never used a slow cooker before. Ever. At all.
So this is totally new territory for me. Territory I feel I’ve successfully conquered given the outcome of this vegetarian chili dish. Oh the cook is getting cocky now. Well c’mon, I wouldn’t share the recipe with you all if it didn’t taste good.
And taste good it certainly does. It’s spicy and sweet and full of varying textures. The addition of the split red lentils helps thicken up the dish without adding any meat. Although you certainly could throw some in if you prefer a classic, non-vegetarian chili.
Speaking of non-vegetarian chili, the bowl I had in Scotland was not meatless, which, I do have to admit was most likely a large factor in contributing to its Best Chili Ever status.
But vegetarian chili comes in a close second. A very close second.
Plus, this recipe is particularly convenient for some simple weekend food prepping. What could be easier than cooking some lentils, chopping up a bunch of veggies, opening a few cans of beans, and throwing it all into the slow cooker with a few spices and some veggie broth? I don’t know, maybe a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? I guess that’s easier. But (and don’t get me wrong, I love a good PB&J sandwich) not nearly as hearty and satisfying.
Less than an hour of kitchen time for 3-4 pre-prepped meals during the week. That’s my kind of cooking!
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 can red kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 large sweet potato, chopped
1/2 cup split red lentils, rinsed, picked, and cooked
1 cup low sodium veggie broth
a few more dashes of cinnamon, chili powder, cumin, and turmeric to taste
1. Follow package directions for cooking 1/2 cup split red lentils. (Note: you can skip this step and add them to the slow cooker uncooked, however I found that cooking them first allows for a thicker end product because they will have absorbed more liquid.)
2. Turn on the slow cooker (high heat setting). Once the pot is heated and the bottom is warm, add the olive oil and onion. Heat for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the cinnamon, chili powder, cumin, and turmeric. Stir lightly to mix with oil and onion. Let the mixture heat for another 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the pepper, beans, sweet potato, and cooked lentils. Stir lightly to blend with spice and onion mixture.
5. Add the veggie broth and stir. Sprinkle in a few more dashes of each spice.
6. Heat for 1-3 hours.
7. Serve immediately or pack in Tupperware and store in the refrigerator (up to 5 days) for a pre-prepped meal at a later time.