Tex-Mex Vegetarian Lentil Chili

The theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs this week is Lentil Love -- so here is a yummy fall dish chock full of lentils, Tex-Mex Vegetarian Chili, from Madhur Jaffrey's book World Vegetarian.  I've had this book for years and not cooked much from it, so I am really looking forward to the next six months with IHCC cooking her recipes.

Tex-Mex Vegetarian Chili
adapted from Madhur Jaffrey -- World Vegetarian

3 tablespoons canola or olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped (I used roasted garlic cloves that I mashed)
1/2 large green pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped (I forgot to add this!)
1/4 to 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin seeds
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried crumbled sage
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup lentils, picked over and washed (I used red lentils, which cook down a lot, the recipe doesn't specify a specific lentil)
1 cup cooked dried or canned kidney beans
2 to 3 canned plum tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoons yellow cornmeal

1 1/2 cups corn (frozen or canned would work, my addition)

Put the oil in a medium pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the onion, garlic, green pepper, and jalapeno. Stir and fry for about 3 minutes or until the seasonings just start to brown. Turn down the heat to medium-low and continue to saute for another 3 minutes. Now put in the cumin, paprika, thyme, sage, oregano, and cayenne. Stir briskly once or twice and put in the lentils, 4 and 1/2 cups of water, the red kidney beans, plum tomatoes, cilantro leaves, and salt.

At this point I thought it would be nice to add some corn and used 1 can of sweet corn kernels, rinsed and drained. 

Bring to a boil. Cover, turn the heat down to low, and cook gently for 50 minutes.

Mix the cornmeal with 3 tablespoons water and then pour the mixture into the chili pot. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring now and then. Serves 4.


This was a hearty and delicious late weekend lunch to watch a football game with.  I served it sprinkled with shredded cheddar and with some honey corn muffins (baked in my cast iron cactus pan) on the side.  All three of my kids ate this without complaint and the most surprising part was that picky husband even ate this, liked it, and had a second bowl!  He does not do meatless very often, and I was ready to make him something different, but he gave this vegetarian lentil chili and try and actually ate it, yay :)