This hearty vegan chili is made with lentils and quinoa for a meat-ike texture, even your carnivore friends will love. Using a good rich stout as part of the liquid add depth and flavour.
It’s over. Christmas that is. The days and weeks spent planning and shopping and cooking are all done. Today I feel like I can finally relax and do what I want. Boxing day just might be my favourite day of the holidays. And no, not because I’m running around the mall battling the crowds. Precisely because I am not doing that. Nope. I’m curled up on the couch in my new Christmas leggings with my new cookbook and my dog at my feet. And a coffee of course.
And as much as I like holiday food, I’m ready for something filling and wholesome. Snow day food. Sitting around watching movies in wool socks kind a food. This is Boxing Day food. And I think it is the best kind.
This vegan chili was a complete experiment. I decided at the last minute to throw in the quinoa. I was out of canned beans and I didn’t think I had enough lentils to thicken up the chilli. I wanted chilli. Not soup. Notice I used 2 kinds of lentils, I didn’t have enough of any one kind. My pantry was running a bit low on basic necessities, so I used what I had. I threw in a scoop of quinoa and crossed my fingers. I hoped the quinoa would help thicken the chilli without getting mushy. The quinoa held up fabulously. Great texture. Even a day or two later, the chili was just right.
The combination of lentils and quinoa give you a thick and almost meat-like texture
Adding beer to chilli is something my husband does to this classic chili. So I thought I would give this a try. I wanted a “meaty” chili. And a dark, bitter beer adds an amazing depth of flavour which I always thought was wonderful with a meat based chilli. But here, in a pot of lentils it does magical things. The texture of the lentils – and yes, I recommend you use both kinds – and the quinoa give this chilli a very meaty texture. Adding the stout just feels hearty and good.
Always add something acidic to wake up the flavour
I also finished with just a splash if vinegar. Cider vinegar wakes up the flavours of the finished chilli. The honey (to keep this vegan use agave or other liquid sweetener) adds the tiniest bit of sweetness. Just enough to complement the heat of spices and the bitterness of the stout. Stir both in at the end, taste. Add salt and pepper and a bit more sweet if needed. Then serve. I like avocado on everything so that is how I served it.
Lentil and Quinoa Chilli with Stout
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion about 1 small onion
- 1 cup diced red sweet pepper
- 1-2 jalapeños fresh, diced
- 2 tablespoons chill powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or to taste
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 cloves of garlic pressed
- 1 small zucchini diced
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1/2 cup black or small green lentils
- 1/4 quinoa
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup dark beer such as Guinness
- 1 cup veg stock or water
- 2 cups water
- 1-2 Tablespoons agava syrup, to taste or honey if not vegan
- 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
- Warm olive oil over medium heat, add onion, sweet and jalapeño peppers and sauté until tender - 5-7 minutes. Add garlic, tomato paste and spices and cook for one to two minutes. Add zucchini, lentils and quinoa, toss to coat with the spices and onions. Add diced tomatoes, beer, water and stock. Bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and slightly cover. Simmer until lentils are tender 35-40 minutes. Stir occasionally, adding water if the mixture becomes too dry. Finish chill with a half teaspoon cider vinegar and 1-2 tablespoons of sweetener, depending on your taste. Serve.