Chill Chaser: Slow Cooker Red Lentil Chili

Oh yes, I’m “cooking” again! This time, I made a luscious red lentil chili, recipe via Honest Cooking, in my slow cooker.

lentil chili with cheese

In addition to taking better food photos, an authentic food blogger would take you through the prep steps with accompanying photos and descriptions, but I’m making a gigantic leap of faith in assuming you know how to rinse lentils, open cans, and measure spices. If not, well, maybe you should just buy some chili at the store. There’s no shame in that, you know.

I’m not a huge soup lover, but I do enjoy chili. Beef, turkey, bean–all of them! Chicken chili? Not so much. No clue why, really.

The thing about chili, though, is that I love it with melted cheese on top. Nothing wrong with that, but if I’m having a meat-based chili, then there’s extra fat involved and for me, that means reduced portion sizes. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what I think about that!

With the frigid pre-winter weather we’ve been having lately, I wanted a chill chaser meal and only chili would do. And I wanted cheesey chili! Since I have a few pounds of red lentils in my pantry, I decided to go with a veggie version. As you know, lentils are high in protein and fiber, low in fat (or as I like to call it, pro-cheese!), and rich in vitamins and minerals. Win-win-win!

I followed the recipe almost completely (unusual for me, I know), because I got lucky and had most of the ingredients on hand, so why not? (I didn’t have any white wine I was willing to sacrifice, so I just skipped it.)

This is a super simple recipe–it’d have to be for me to make it–and cooks beautifully in the slow cooker. While it calls for 8 hours cook time, covered, I needed about 8.5-9 hours with my slow cooker. Just so you know and don’t bite into a crunchy lentil because your slow cooker tends to run a little behind those produced in this century.

The result was a rich and hearty chili that warmed my body and my soul. And with all that fiber and protein, a one-cup serving is quite filling! Quite!

I didn’t do a detailed nutritional analysis (I know this stuff is good for me), but ballpark calculations say 225 calories per cup. I added a quarter cup of 2% cheese (don’t judge; I like it!) which makes it slightly more caloric but ever so much more enjoyable.

Two thumbs up for me on this recipe! If you’re looking at a cold and wintry weekend, or you’re just wanting a tasty bowl of chili, you should give it a try.

Do you have a favorite chili recipe?

13 thoughts on “Chill Chaser: Slow Cooker Red Lentil Chili

  1. This sounds good – and really, what is chili without cheese?

    I love Alton Brown’s pressure cooker chili. No beans, which is why I like it – but it is pretty amazing!

    • I looked up that recipe, Lori, and it does look good!

      When I was tasting this chili, I wondered how a splash of beer might work in it. I didn’t have a splash of beer, but I did wonder. :)

  2. You were talking to me the whole time! I saw the picture, and my thought was, yeah, but I can’t have it with all that cheese on it. And all I want is the cheese! I am going to try this. I really haven’t cooked much with lentils, but I know I like them. Thanks for sharing it. Oh, one question–did you use SMOKED paprika? How necessary is that?

    • I did use smoked paprika, but chili is perfect for tinkering. You could use the regular (sweet) paprika and then add something else–cumin, maybe?–for some richness. Or if you have chipotle powder, I’ll bet that would be good.

      I’m on the road tonight, but I’m thinking tomorrow night might be chili cheese nachos night at my house. :)

  3. No judgement here! Chili isn’t chili without cheese! Thanks for the recipe. I’m always looking for meat-free comfort food. I still have a container of your taco filling in my freezer, too!! Your my cooking guru, no matter what you think.

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