Lentil Chili and the Big 23
Last week was a pretty big week here. On Wednesday I turned 23, and my family and I celebrated with the most delicious vegan birthday cake from Whole Foods. Chocolate cake with vegan vanilla filling, and beautifully coated with chocolate ganache. It was one of the greatest cakes I’ve ever had, vegan or otherwise.
Among the fabulous gifts I received were three books I have been pining for for quite some time now: Will Write for Food, Plate to Pixel and The Everything Grow Your Own Vegetables Book.
My neighbor has graciously offered me her gardening space for the season – a glorious 15×13 foot fenced-in space that, with a little TLC, will be home to sweet corn, tomatoes, zucchini, lavender, radishes and a menagerie of other vegetables and flowers.
I’m excited to have my own vegetable garden. I had a very small one back in high school, but it was a short-lived project (it was a lot of work for my notoriously lazy 16-year-old self). I’ve spent the last few weeks growing nine different plants from seeds, and after carefully watering, bringing them in and out of the house and giving them afternoon pep talks, it is so exciting to see life burst from the soil. The little seedlings look different every day, so I am doing my best to photograph them often and document their progress.
Curtis and I spent a good chunk of this weekend pulling weeds in the very-overgrown garden patch – including two very big, very angry thistle plants. Today, I am sunburned (surprise!) and sore in places I didn’t know I had, but it’s so satisfying to look out to the garden and see huge patches of soft brown soil just waiting for planting.
Saturday’s strong sun and heat gave way to a chilly, rainy Sunday, but I can’t complain – there’s something very comforting about rain on a Sunday morning.
I’m not sure why, but I always associate rain with chili. It makes me think of walking home from the school bus stop in overcast and drizzle, setting my things down at home and heating up bowl of leftovers. After a quick change into sweatpants, there were few things that made me feel better than bringing the bowl next to the open window, curling up on the couch and listening to the rain outside.
Serve this protein-packed bowl of comfort over rice or with crusty bread.
16oz. dried brown lentils
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 1/2 white onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, pressed
2 cans stewed tomatoes with liquid
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
7 cups vegetable broth or water
3 tablespoons ground cumin
2 packets Goya Sazon con Azafran (optional…but highly recommended)
1/4 – 1/2 cup canned jalapeno slices (optional)
Salt & Pepper
1. In a large stock pot, cook garlic, onions and bell pepper until slightly tender.
2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer about 30 minutes until lentils are tender and the chili is slightly thick.
Nutrition per Serving: 232 calories, 0g fat, 53g carbohydrates, 22g protein.