culinary review

Vegetarian Chili with Lentils, Beans and Adobo Sauce

Last Modified: 11/05/11
First Published: 11/05/11
Views: 712
<<     >>
Views: 712

This turned out to be a great vegetarian chili with tons of flavor from adobo sauce, poblano peppers, cumin, tons of garlic etc… There really is no such thing as a traditional vegetarian chili, as authentic chili basically consists of meat, chilis and... not much else. However, why not utilize these classic irresistible flavors but in a vegetarian version?

When you don't use meat in a chili it's important to use a variety of legumes to get the proper texture and bite. In other words, don't just go for black beans or the dish will end up tasting terribly bland and boring. We used lentils de puy which are great since they give a bit of a bite, red lentils because they help thicken up the stew as they break down a bit and lastly black beans because they simple feel like they belong in a chili. Of course a different combination could be used. We also added some yellow corn to the dish which adds a nice pop of color as well as sweetness to balance the heat from the chili peppers and spices.

Vegetarian Chili with Lentils, Beans and Adobo Sauce

Serves: 4


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 fresh poblano pepper, seeds removed and finely diced
  • 1 chili in canned adobo sauce, fincely minced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup dry red lentils
  • 3/4 cup lentils de puy (green or brown lentils would also work)
  • 1 beer (light or dark, either is good)
  • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of black beans (frozen or canned)
  • 1/2 cup of corn (frozen ideally)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • salt


Saute the onion, carrots and celery in the oil for a few minutes. Add some salt, the garlic and the poblano pepper, saute for a few more minutes. At this point add the adobo chili, the chili powder, cumin, paprika, tomato paste, red lentils and lentils de puy. Saute everything for a minute, then add the beer and de-glace if necessary. Add the can of diced tomatoes and about two cups of water.
Bring up to a simmer, let simmer for about 15 minutes, then add the black beans, the corn, and the sugar and continue cooking for another 15 minutes or so or until the lentils are cooked through. Taste with salt.

Serve with queso fresco (grated cheddar or monterey jack would also work) and a nice dollop of sour cream to balance out the heat. Avocado on top would also be lovely.