This Madras Lentil Chili is warm, hearty, slightly spicy, and the perfect easy meal for fall and winter! It is packed with dietary fiber, protein, and is an excellent meatless meal! My eight year old son loves this soup so much that he requests it for his birthday! This is a perfect meatless Monday meal, or for any other day of the week when you want something easy and comforting. It is delicious when first made, or it actually tastes even better after refrigerated and warmed up as leftovers. It is comfort in a bowl and it will warm you up from the inside out. I’m in love with my Madras Lentil Chili and I am confident you will love it too! Do you need an easy, delicious, nutritious, and no-fuss meal to add to you meal plan? I know I do, and this is one of my “go-to” meals that has me rejoicing once cooler weather comes and I can justifiably make it once a week! 😉
My inspiration came from the prepacked Madras Lentil Chili sold at Costco (that we discovered long ago thanks to their food samples!) and I looked at the ingredients listed and made my own copycat version that my family loves!
Are you a lentils fan? If you haven’t eaten or cooked lentils before, you are seriously missing out. They are an excellent source of dietary fiber, folate, manganese, and a good source of protein, iron, phosphorus, and copper. See complete nutritional data for 1 cup cooked lentils here. Lentils can be used in anything from a soup, or as a base for a cold salad. After cooking them they can be stored in the refrigerator for several days. I cook mine in advance and that makes the prep time for this chili a breeze! I also love eating lentils with crumbled goat cheese, a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of avocado oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Yum!
Anyway, back to the soup, here’s what you will need in addition to those tasty green lentils…
- 1 16oz package dried french lentils- cooked as package directs, rinsed, and drained and set aside.
- 2 Tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
- 1 large white onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 32 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes
- 2 15 oz cans red kidney beans (drained and rinsed) or cook up your own kidney beans if you have the time.
- 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock if you want to keep it vegan
- 1/2 cup or up to 1 cup canned coconut milk (or half and half or heavy cream if you do dairy).
In a large dutch oven or heavy pot heat the cooking oil and saute onion until softened. Add the minced garlic and spices and saute for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add in the remaining ingredients (except the coconut milk) and bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 30-60 minutes or until flavors are melded. The longer simmer can help it reduce down and have better flavor. Stir in the coconut milk before serving for a more creamy consistency.
Toppings: Top with your favorite toppings like avocado, green onion, diced red onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, etc. Serve with crusty sourdough bread, cornbread, naan, or a healthy side salad. This soup is versatile and there is no wrong pairing!