Vegan Meatless Lentil Chili with Chili

This is robust and tasty enough to satisfy even the most ardent carnivores, thanks to a handmade seasoning blend with a deep, sweet heat.

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

For the spice blend: 

1 tablespoon

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons chili powder 

2 teaspoons fine pink salt

1 teaspoon unsweetened cacao powder

1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin 

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon black pepper

For the chili: 

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1 yellow onion, diced 

1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced 

2 celery stalks, diced

3 cloves, minced

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

4 cups vegetable broth

3 cups cooked green or brown lentils 

3 cups cooked black or kidney beans

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons liquid aminos

1 bay leaf

For topping: 

Diced fresh tomatoes

sour cream 

Chopped fresh cilantro

Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Diced

How to prepare it:

In a small bowl, add coconut sugar, paprika, chili powder, salt, cacao powder, ancho chili powder, cumin, oregano, and black pepper to make the spice blend. Combine thoroughly and set aside.

For the chili, heat the oil in a big saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add the onion, bell pepper, and celery and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, or just until fragrant. Add tomato paste and seasonings. Stir for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the tomato paste begins to color, before adding broth. Stir, scraping browned bits from the pan's bottom.

Add lentils, beans, vinegar, liquid aminos, and bay leaf. Reduce to a simmer. Cover, lower heat to medium-low, and simmer until thickened, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove and dispose of the bay leaf.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and decorate as desired.

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