Pumpkin Chili for Marissa
Earlier this week, Marissa sent me an email at 12:05 PM, asking me to make a pumpkin and lentil chili recipe for the blog.
By 1:17 PM, a mere 1 hour and 12 minutes later, I was sending her a text with a photo of the chili cooking away. Yep, that’s how I roll.
This pumpkin chili goes together quickly and there are very few dishes to wash – a chef’s knife, 1 measuring cup, 1 set of measuring spoons, a strainer, a spoon or spatula to stir with, and the pot it cooks in… not bad for 16 delicious and super healthy servings… for a crowd, a party, or a big family dinner. Plus, if it’s for a little family dinner, no fear, it freezes great!
Pumpkin, Lentil, and Two-Bean Vegetarian Chili
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, peeled and diced
5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 red or yellow bell pepper; stemmed, seeded, and diced
1 red or green jalapeno; seeded, stemmed and minced (optional)
28-ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes, with juice
15-ounce can Great Northern beans, with liquid
15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
29-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen and thawed
1 1/2 cups black lentils
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure chili powder (I used Ancho chili powder)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes or ground cayenne (optional)
2 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
Add the tomatoes with their juices, the Great Northern beans with their liquid, the drained and rinsed black beans, pumpkin puree, and corn.
Fill the empty tomato and pumpkin cans with water and stir into the chili.
Stir in the lentils.
Then add the chili powder, cumin, and salt.
Bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to a low simmer and stir, the lentils will have sunk to the bottom, stir to prevent them from sticking and burning. The mixture will look very thin and watery. Don’t worry, it will thicken as it cooks.
Continue to simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until the lentils are cooked through. Taste and season with more chili powder, cumin, and/or salt, as you see fit. Also season to taste with freshly ground pepper and if you want more “heat” then add 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red chili flakes or ground cayenne.
Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with sliced avocado and a couple sprigs of fresh cilantro and serve.
Serves 16 (makes about 18 cups)