This Lentil Chili & Thyme Roasted Corn recipe is high in plant-based protein, uses low-cost and pantry-friendly ingredients, and is a hearty dinner the whole family will enjoy.
Green lentils have a high protein content and a 'meaty' texture making them a perfect choice of legume for chilis. Additionally, they cook quickly and do not require soaking. I keep an abundance of lentils in my pantry for when I'm in a time crunch to get dinner on the table. They're very versatile, and I often add any veggies that are about to go bad to the pot when they are cooking, and the dish always turns out appetizing.
Why This Recipe for Lentil Chili & Thyme Roasted Corn Is Fabulous
- It's a very nutritious meal that's rich in protein, iron, and fiber.
- A multitude of fresh herbs and spices add depth of flavor, making this dish even more tasty.
- The ingredients are pantry-friendly and low-cost.
- It's quick and easy to make without compromising on taste.
How to Make This Recipe
Cook the Lentils in Flavorful Broth
Start by cooking the onion for about 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and spices and cook for about another 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
Add the lentils, tomatoes, vegetable broth, water, and fresh thyme sprigs.
Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook with the lid on for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are al dente. Be careful not to overcook the lentils or they will end up mushy.
Blend the Cooked Lentils for a Smoother Chili
Once the lentils are done cooking, remove the thyme sprigs, and blend 4 cups of the chili until smooth. Return the blended portion to the saucepan and stir to combine.
Season the chili with salt and black pepper. Add maple syrup, and fresh lime juice to taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
Ingredients & Nutrition
Green or Brown Lentils
Lentils have a rich, earthy texture, and add thickness and bulk to a recipe. Their high fiber content keeps bowel movements regular, blood sugars in check, and feeds our good gut bacteria. They are also high in protein which makes them an ideal meat substitute. In addition, they are a good source of iron which can be low in vegan diets. Lentils also contain plant chemicals called polyphenols that have antioxidant properties.
Lycopene, a carotenoid responsible for the red color in tomatoes and other fruits, has long been known as a powerful antioxidant that decreases cancer and heart-disease risk. Tomatoes release more lycopene when cooked because heat breaks down plant cells, making it more bioavailable. Raw tomatoes have many health benefits too, but cooking them makes them sweeter, intensifies their flavor, and brings out their umami quality.
Thyme is a fragrant herb with small, pungent leaves. It pairs well with lentils, beans and tomatoes. It's perfect for adding flavor to stews. It's not typically added to chilis, but I happened to have some that I wanted to use up and it worked well in this recipe. I used the entire sprig in this recipe for convenience, but the leaves can be removed and used if preferred. If using whole sprigs, remember to remove them once the lentils are done cooking.
Dried thyme is about three times as concentrated as fresh thyme. If using dried thyme in this recipe, substitute the thyme sprigs for about one and one-half teaspoons dried thyme.
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