We used to live about ten minutes away from a grocery store called Wegman’s. Now, if you live near a Wegman’s, there is no explanation necessary – it’s a great store! If you don’t live near one, the best way to describe it is a hybrid: they have the gourmet prepared foods, specialty items and health food section in addition to everyday staples at rock bottom prices. Not to mention they work really hard to source and stock local produce and bake all their own breads.
When I was pregnant with my son, I became obsessed with their Spicy Red Lentil Chili from the soup bar. I mean obsessed. My husband became BFF with the staff to make sure they had it featured at the soup bar for his bi-weekly stops on his way home from work.
Then I found out that Wegman’s posts many of their recipes online!
Now that we live on the other side of the country and nowhere near a Wegman’s, I need to make this soup every so often for a taste of home. I can’t just pop over and pick up a medium to-go with two crackers when the urge strikes.
I tweaked the recipe to make a much larger batch and make the steps a bit easier and less time-consuming. Even though this is called a Chili, this is much more like a soup to me.
This is fantastic served with some crispy crackers or crusty bread (as most soups are right?) on a cold day right out of a mug. I love this soup and am so glad I could share it with you all!
- I wouldn’t recommend subbing any other lentil as red lentils break down quickly during the cooking process and give this soup it’s amazing texture.
- I used Earth Balance Vegan Buttery sticks but you can use Butter instead. The Points Plus will be the same.
- Tabasco is the way to go – I have tried this with a variety of other hot sauces (Crystal, Sriracha, etc.) and it just doesn’t taste the same.
- Finally, about spiciness …
- for a HOT and Spicy version use 1.5 tablespoons of Tabasco.
- for a Medium version make the recipe as follows.
- for a Mild version, use 1/2 tablespoon of Tabasco.
- 2 cups red lentils, rinsed and picked over
- 8 cups water, divided
- 2 tablespoons earth balance (or butter) divided
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 5 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- ¾ teaspoon cumin divided into ¼ tsp and ½ tsp
- 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce (see note above)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2½ teaspoons sea salt divided into 2 tsp and ½ tsp
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon chili powder divided into ¼ tsp and ¼ tsp
- ¼ cup cornstarch + ¼ cup hot water
- ½ green pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced
- In a small dish, measure ¼ teaspoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon turmeric, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons sea salt, ¾ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon chili powder and Tabasco sauce. Set aside.
- Sort lentils (pick out any stones / damaged lentils) and rinse.
- Place celery and garlic in food processor. Process until evenly chopped. Remove and set aside.
- Next, place onion quarters in food processor. . Pulse until evenly chopped but not watery.
- Wash green pepper, remove ribs and seeds. Cut into thin strips. and then a small dice. . Set aside
- Finally, mix cornstarch with hot water until well combined.
- In a soup pot, combine lentils and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as boiling, turn off heat and remove ½ of lentil / water mixture. Place in food processor and process until pureed, about 1 minute. Remove remaining lentils / water from soup pot and set aside so that you can begin cooking in the empty pot.
- Heat soup pot over medium low heat. Add Earth Balance until just melted. Add onion, cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add celery and garlic, cook another 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add small bowl of spices and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Now, toss in tomatoes.
- Add vegetable stock and remaining 4 cups of water. Bring to a simmer.
- Once simmering, add in whole and pureed lentils with lentil liquid.
- Cook over a simmer 20 to 25 minutes, until lentils are tender. Once tender, bring to a boil and immediately add cornstarch / water mixture. . Stir constantly over high heat for 30 to 45 seconds to thicken.
- Turn off heat; add green pepper, remaining 1 tablespoon of earth balance and remaining spices (1/4 teaspoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon cumin and ½ teaspoon sea salt.)
- Serve and Enjoy! Freezes great and even better the next day