Black Lentil Chili with Crispy Shoestring Fries and Crunchy Veggie Pico de Gallo

This Black Lentil Chili is one of my favorite dishes.  It is an extreme comfort food packed with a whole lot of roasted pepper and tomato goodness.  It’s perfect on its own or you can dress it up with yummy crispy shoestring fries and my incredible crunchy veggie Pico de Gallo.

3u9a4817 I was obsessed with Amy’s canned lentil chili when growing up, so I decided it was high time that I share my own version.  Amy’s uses brown lentils where I use black lentils.  Black lentils have a firmer texture so I feel like it lends itself to a heartier chili.  I have to admit that there are times where all I want is basic comfort food and to me, that means chili, fries and cheese.  However, there are other times where I want to add the freshness of my crunchy veggie Pico de Gallo salsa.  I love this chili smothered in cheddar cheese but it is also awesome left vegan.

3u9a4777 This crunchy veggie Pico de Gallo is a unique and incredible salsa that adds an amazing fresh quality to the mix.  The colors of this salsa make me so happy. It’s like a treasure chest of jewels.

Robby and I are pretty much obsessed with salsa and it is always a sad day when tomatoes are no longer in season.  I was determined to create an off-season salsa and I feel that I have succeeded.  It is so incredibly versatile.  You can eat it with chips, add it to quesadillas, burritos, tacos, beans, salads, rice, pasta, soup and the list goes on and on.  What would you like to add it to?

3u9a4829 On another note, how was your Easter?  We had a relaxing afternoon around the house and then we headed to our friends Erika and Gary’s house for dinner and had a super fun time full of conversation and laughter.  I made my rosemary garlic almonds, which were a bigger hit than I imagined.  Erika’s friend Teresa brought her artichoke dip that was to die for, I couldn’t stop eating it!  I must get the recipe and share it with you!  There was plenty of wine and champagne to go around, not to mention, Erika made her famous potato au gratin. YUMMMMM!!!

3u9a4843 Black Lentil Chili Recipe:

10 – 12 servings

  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Red or White Onion – diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1/4 Dry Red or a Dry White Wine
  • 1 Jar Strained Tomatoes – I use Bionature (this link is for 6)
  • 10 – 12 Cups Filtered Water
  • 4 Cups Black Lentils
  • 2 Poblano Peppers – roasted – deseeded – destemmed – diced
  • 1 Anaheim Pepper -roasted – deseeded – destemmed – diced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper -roasted – deseeded – destemmed – diced
  • 1 Red Orange Pepper -roasted – deseeded – destemmed – diced
  • 1 Red Yellow Pepper -roasted – deseeded – destemmed – diced
  • 2Tablespoon Ancho Powder (you can buy it already in powder form or de-stem and de-seed whole dried peppers and grind them in a coffee grinder until it turns into a powder)
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano
  • 2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons Sea Salt or to taste
  • 1 Cup Frozen Corn
Crunchy Veggie Pico de Gallo
  • 1/2 Cup Radishes
  • 1/2 Cup Red Cabbage
  • 1 Orange Bell – diced
  • 1 Red Bell – diced
  • 1 Poblano Pepper – roasted – diced
  • 1 Anaheim Pepper – roasted – diced
  • 1/2 Onion – diced
  • 1 Cup Cilantro – roughly chopped
  • 1 Clove Garlic – minced
  • 3 Tablespoons Lime Juice
  • 1/2 to 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
Crispy shoestring potatoes
  • 1 Yellow Potato
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil – plus more for baking sheets
  • Sea Salt – sprinkling
Garnish
  • Shoestring Potatoes
  • Crunchy Veggie Pico de Gallo
  • Optional Garnish
Other garnish options
  • Cheddar Cheese – regular or vegan
  • Sour Cream – regular or vegan
  • Avocado
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Jalapeño
Instructions:
Black Lentil Chili

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven add the onion and olive oil to a straight sided pan and sauté on medium-low heat for 5 minutes then add the garlic and cook until garlic just starts to brown.  Add wine and cook until reduced and it has a syrupy consistency.

While onions are cooking, grind the ancho peppers to a powder.

When the wine is reduced add the strained tomatoes and spices, except the salt!  Turn up the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes.  Add the water and lentils and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium again.  Cook for 20 to 25 minutes.

Add the spices, roasted peppers, corn and salt.

 Let cook on medium low for at least 10 minutes to incorporate the flavors.  You can also puree up to half of the lentils before you add the veggies.

Crunchy Veggie Pico de Gallo

Roast the poblano and anaheim peppers on the stovetop at medium-high heat.  A gas stove works the best but it works fine on an electric stove.  Char the peppers on all sides turning with a pair of tongs.  When good and charred, steam them for about 10 minutes in a covered dish or a paper bag rolled shut to hold in the steam.

Take a paper towel and rub off the char.  It’s ok to leave a little of the char.  Slice in half and remove the seeds and stems.

Add the onion, jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, lime juice and salt to a medium sized bowl and mix well.  Next add the radishes, cabbage, and the bell peppers to the bowl.  When the roasted peppers are steamed dice and add then mix everything well.
Crispy shoestring potatoes 
Use a julienne peeler or a spiralizer to cut potatoes into strips.  Submerge the potatoes in a bowl of cold water.  Drain potatoes and place on a clean towel.  Pat as dry as you can with paper towels.
Toss together potatoes, oil, and salt in a bowl.  Arrange potatoes in a single layer as best you can on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for about, 12 to 18 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.  (I turn them in 8 minutes.) Turn potatoes with a metal spatula a few times and rotate the baking sheets halfway through.  I cut the potatoes so there are four flat sides and depending on the size I might cut the sides to match the width of the peeler.
*You will have some leftover scraps that I usually add to a pot of water, bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.  You can fry them up for breakfast or however, you seem fit.  
 *
 Health benefits:

Lentils have very high levels of soluble fiber and a good amount of insoluble fiber, which is a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels giving you a steady stream of energy.  A half-cup provides about a third of the daily requirements.  Not only is the fiber good for your heart the amount of folate and magnesium is very beneficial for cardiovascular health. Lentils provide a steady stream of glucose to your brain.  Glucose is a sugar and key source of energy for cells in the body and is the only fuel your brain can use.  The high fiber regulates the release of the glucose, providing a steady stream of fuel that powers your brain cells, and is a key component in keeping your brain in excellent shape. They are loaded with an impressive amount of blood-fortifying iron and when paired with a food containing vitamin C, like citrus fruits or peppers the iron is enhanced, which can also increase your energy.  They are also a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K. They are truly a nutritional fountain of youth. Lentils originated in Southwestern Asia along the Indus River have been eaten for over 8000 years.

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