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Summer Lentil Chili

It’s the time of year when fresh produce is plentiful. My vegetable garden (and the farmers’ market) is a riot of bright colours and peak flavours. It’s also the time of year we stuff our freezer with all this goodness, so we can benefit from it year-round. Some of it “unprocessed” and some of it “processed” into ready meals.

This year though we have an extra incentive to have prepared meals at our fingertips. In as early as a couple of days, at the latest within a couple of weeks, we will be three! In anticipation of the busy and sleepless time ahead, we have been busy cooking and baking. I’ve been balancing the heat outside with the heat of the kitchen, and have pulled chocolate zucchini cakes, banana breads, oatmeal-chocolate-walnut-cranberry cookies and sunflower butter cookies out of the oven.

Meanwhile, David has been the master of the main meals, making turkey pot pies, lasagna, beef and tomatillo stew, sausages, lentil chili. Lentil chili is something we make every year at this time. It’s the perfect way to use the many zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and herbs growing fast and furious in the garden, and makes a colourful and healthy meal.

Recipe: Summer Lentil Chili


The vegetable measurements need not be precise. A little more or a little less garden goodness won’t make a big difference!

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium-large carrot, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp chili powder
1 generous tbsp each ground cumin and ground coriander
2 cups brown lentils, rinsed and cleaned
5 cups vegetable stock
6-8 cups tomatoes, roughly chopped
2-3 medium zucchini, sliced/cubed
4 red peppers, chopped
4 cobs of corn, kernels removed
1 hot pepper (depending on how much heat you want, slice in half and remove seeds or pierce skin with a toothpick before adding)
2 generous tbsp each fresh thyme, oregano and basil, chopped
Salt to taste

Heat vegetable oil in a large pot. Sauté onions, garlic and carrot until tender. Stir bay leaf, chili powder, cumin and coriander into onion mixture. Add lentils and vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes or until lentils are tender and liquid is reduced by half. Mix in tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, corn kernels and hot pepper. Cook 10-20 minutes. Remove bay leaf and hot pepper. Stir in herbs. Season to taste.

We freeze our summer lentil chili in 1L yoghurt containers and get approx. 4 containers per recipe.

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