Lentil, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chilli

A good source of fiber, protein and iron; the addition of lentils to vegetarian chilli is a bonus in more ways than one. Lentils do not require soaking before cooking if you are putting them in a liquid based dish like this one. Or, if you are like me and always have cans of beans...you can just as easily put a can of lentils in instead. All in all....vegetarian chili's such as this one are quick to make and GOOD for you. This is just one such version. There are lots of recipes out there so you can quickly come up with your own. One tendency I find, is for people to add everything 'but the kitchen sink' into their vegetarian dishes. Although it will all cook up nicely, you eventually tire of the dishes as they all taste the same. So if you find a recipe and want to 'replace'...make sure you stay in the same food group and replace...don't keep adding. For instance, for this chilli I found a similar one in the January issue of Alive Health Magazine. I followed it closely but made a few changes to make it my own.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil - I use extra virgin
  • 1 large onion - chopped
  • 3 or 4 stalks of celery (leaves included) - diced
  • 2 to 3 cups orange fleshed sweet potato - chopped in 1 inch cubes (or substitute yams or yellow fleshed sweet potato)
  • 1/4 cup carrots - chopped (I added these to give colour as I did not have the orange sweet potatoes.)
  • 4 cloves of garlic - chopped fine
  • 1 tsp of sea salt - salt is not imperative but it will 'boost' the spicier spices we are adding in a bit here
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp of chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp of cumin (you could use curry powd. in a pinch but it does tend to 'meld' everything into a one blend taste)
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes - or a shot or two of red hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups of dry red lentils - or canned (I use 1- 14 oz canned)
  • 2 1/2 cups of low sodium broth - true vegetarian can use a veggie bullion or veggie broth...for today I only had chicken broth....
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes - you can use diced but as you need thickener...you will need to add one small can of tomato paste to make the chili 'come together'
  • 1- 14 oz. can of black or kidney beans - drained
  • 1 medium bay leaf
  • 3 tbsp of lime juice - remember 'fresh is better'....save the remaining lime wedges for decoration.
Put oil in large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, potatoes, carrots, garlic and spices. Stir until well mixed. Cover under heat for about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients except the lime juice and wedges. Stir. Bring to a quick boil WHILE stirring ocassionally. Turn on low and simmer for about 1/2 an hour. The sweet potatoes should be tender and have absorbed the extra moisture. Stir in the lime juice and serve with hearty brown bread and a slice of lime.


  1. Hey, Trish . . . this sounds like the stuff Esau traded his birthright for! I wouldn't mind a bowl!

  2. I've never thought about this combination but I know I would love it! Thanks again! You keep my meals interesting....never boring!

  3. another good vegetarian dish.......
    in the process of eating healthier so does my family...bonus

  4. Hi Trish!!
    Another great looking recipe!!

  5. What more could you want in a bowl of comfort? Sounds wonderfully nutritious with those sweet potatoes and lentils! Thanks Trish! Gotta try this one!

  6. Do you know any really good recipes for red lentils other than this one?

  7. Hi Tracy,
    You can use lentils in split pea soup. If they are dry(not canned) cook on low for an hour before adding the rest of the ingredients.

  8. Thanks for this recipe! I make it about twice a month - we love it! So good and filling. Leftovers taste great, too.

  9. I made this last week and it was absolutely delicious! A keeper for me.
    I'm not as big a fan of celery, so I added a bunch of kale instead, and it was great.


  10. I really liked this dish, but there was not enough liquid for 1 1/2 cups of dry red lentils. I added an extra 4 cups of liquid and more of the spices and it worked better. I made it for a chili lunch at work and got great reviews. The lime really added a nice boost of flavor.

  11. Along with the Applecrisp Cheesecake I just commented on, I also made this last night for guests. It was just wonderful! I found the amounts of liquid to be fine for us (we like a thicker chili), and I added some chicken that I had sauteed with cumin, garlic, and lime juice, then let it simmer in the crushed tomatoes for a while before making the chili and adding it to it. Thank you for this recipe too; I know I will be making it again.