Although I make a vegetable based chilli on a regular basis, this is more of a chilli-con-carne (or carne-con-chile as Rick Stein recently educated us on his Road to Mexico) where the lentils replace the minced beef. I’ve used brown lentils as they retain some ‘bite’ when cooked and give the dish some texture. We’re also serving this chilli with vegan pancakes for a super-substantial meal, which the kids also had with various fillings. (The chickpea flour which replaces the egg in the pancake batter also makes them gluten free too.)
Ingredients for the chilli (serves 4):
- 250g brown lentils, rinsed
- 1 x onion, finely chopped
- 3 x garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 x red or green pepper, diced
- 500ml veg stock
- 1 x green chilli, finely sliced
- Bunch of coriander, finely chopped
- 1 x tsp hot chilli powder
- 1 x tbsp tomato purée
- 1 x tbsp rice flour
- 1 x tsp cacao powder
For the pancakes:
- 300g gram (chickpea) flour
- 400ml water
- Splash of almond or soya milk
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- 1 x tbsp chia seeds
- 1 x tbsp fresh herbs (I used chives for the kids’ and coriander for our pancakes)
- Avocado, diced into bite-sized chunks
Sweat the onion in olive oil then add the garlic and red pepper until soft.
Stir in the chilli powder and flour and stir to coat for 1 minute.
Add the lentils, veg stock, chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, cacao powder and chopped chilli. Season with black pepper, bring to the boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the lentils are cooked but not soft.
Meanwhile, make the pancake batter by slowly adding water to the gram flour. Whisk until light and frothy without any lumps in it.
Add the chia seeds, splash of almond milk and herbs and continue to whisk. Leave to stand for a few minutes.
Heat olive oil in a frying pan the add a ladleful of the mixture to the pan. Tip the pan to create a thin, even coat.
Cook on either side for a minute each or until cooked. Keep warm whilst you cook the rest of the pancakes.
Stir the coriander through the chilli and serve with the pancakes. Top with avocado.
I got a real sense of achievement from making these pancakes and I’m finding there are less and less traditional foods I’m missing as I find more plant-based alternatives and replacements. I will definitely be making these pancakes again as they worked for the whole family (Mathilde ate three and would happily have polished off more!) not just a vegan diet.