This recipe gives vegetarians and vegans a delicious, fresh and spicy Mexican chilli that’s full of protein. But meat eaters love it too; it’s every bit as good as chilli con carne. It’s easy and quick to prepare and it can be made ahead and stored in the fridge or freezer until needed. It has quite strong flavours so I like to serve it with plain white rice.
250g dried Puy lentils
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Mexican chilli seasoning mix made up of: 1 tsp ancho chilli powder, 1 tsp chipotle chilli powder, 1 tsp mulato chilli powder, 1 tsp pasilla chilli powder, 2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tablespoon dried oregano and ½ tsp ground black pepper
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes (use Mutti tomato pulp if you can get it)
150ml stock made with vegan stock powder
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
2 green peppers, deseeded and cut into bite sized pieces
1 x 400g tin red kidney beans, drained
Bring a large pan of unsalted water to a boil, add the lentils, cover and simmer until cooked, approx. 30 to 40 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, make the chilli sauce. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan and sauté the onion until softened and starting to brown at the edges. This will take about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for a further minute. Add the Mexican chilli seasoning mix and stir fry for 1 minute. Add a splash of stock if it starts to catch.
Add the tinned tomatoes, stock, salt, vinegar and sugar, stir to mix well and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the peppers and kidney beans, cover and continue to cook for a further 15 minutes.
Taste to check the seasoning, adding salt if needs be. Stir in the lentils and check the seasoning again. Lentils seem to devour salt!
The dish can now be cooled and stored in the fridge for a couple of days or frozen until needed. To serve, return the chilli to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes.