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1 Put your biggest pot over a medium heat. Add enough oil to cover the base and cook the onion, garlic and ginger gently for 10 minutes, or until soft.
2 Add the chilli powder, cumin and smoked paprika. Stir around in the pan for 1-2 minutes.
3. Add all the other ingredients, stirring as you go – but start with 1 litre of the stock and add more if the chilli gets too thick. (The liquid you need will vary depending which carbs you added and whether you soaked the lentils.) Bring to a gentle boil, then simmer on a low heat with a lid for 30–35 minutes, until the lentils and grains are cooked.
3 Season to taste with salt, black pepper and (if needed) lemon or lime juice.
Eight ways to eat your chilli
1 Tortillas or wraps (flour or corn) with sour cream or yoghurt
2 Spooned over corn tortilla chips, topped with a grating of good cheese and melted in the oven with some guacamole and salsa for dipping.
3 Sandwiched between two slices of fresh bread with a grating of cheese, avocado and shredded lettuce.
4 In a couple of crispy taco shells with all the trimmings.
5 Folded into a wrap with some brown rice, chopped tomatoes, sliced chillies and a little sour cream, burrito style.
6 In a toasted cheese sandwich.
7 With rice, yoghurt and chutney.
8 Over a buttered jacket potato.
If you’re cooking from your store cupboards, can you still be healthy? With this recipe, yes. This hearty vegetarian chilli is great for batch cooking and can be served 8 different ways, meaning that although you will have multiple servings of it in the freezer, you won’t tire of eating it.
Vegetarian chilli recipes tend to rely too heavily on beans and eating them can be a bit one-note. The texture of this high fibre chilli is far more varied because it has lentils, beans and another ingredient like rice or barley (I favour the barley. Nice and chewy.) It contains a tablespoon of cocoa powder which adds something novel to the flavour profile, something I like but can’t describe (you’ll have to make it yourself.)
What I like most about this recipe is it’s versatility. As someone who often works from home, lunch is usually an after-thought, but if I’ve remembered to defrost a small serving of chilli from the freezer, I feel wonderfully smug and well-prepared. I can serve it in very many different ways alongside whatever I happen to have in the house. Most often this is on a tortilla bread with cheese, avocado and tomato. Messy but there’s no-one there to watch me and it tastes amazing. It’s also nice with rice, or over nachos. A shared bowl of nachos is a delicious communal experience, but they’re pretty unhealthy. Less so if you add some of this chilli beneath the melted cheese.
I’ve adapted this recipe from one by vegetarian chef Anna Jones. If you prefer your chilli with meat, I have a great one by the Hairy Bikers elsewhere on this website. Lately I’ve been making it with turkey mince and it’s every bit as delicious.
I have tricked you with that title because, the thing is, all sauerkraut is easy. It’s just cabbage and salt left in a jar to ferment. How it ends up being one of the healthiest foods on the planet is an interesting story, one I will explain here alongside instructions on how to make your own.