A rich and thick vegan chili, perfect for vegan Frito pie
1 cup lentils*
2 cups vegetable broth**
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, minced
1 cup diced onion
1–2 jalapeños, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 ounce crushed tomatoes
15 ounce canned kidney beans, drained
1–2 tablespoons masa harina (or 1 corn tortilla, finely torn)
Soak the lentils in the broth for an hour or so.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat (sauté function on Instant Pot) and add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring infrequently, for 5 minutes until mushrooms are very soft and shrunken.
Add the onions, jalapeño and garlic and stir. Cook another 5-7 minutes until the onions are soft and brown in some places. Don’t skip this browning, it adds necessary depth of flavor.
Add the walnuts and all the dry spices including salt. Cook 1-2 more minutes until the spices are toasted and the mixture is looking dry.
Add lentils with broth, tomatoes and beans. Mix it up good. Cover and simmer 30-40 minutes until lentils are tender (keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t get too dry) or cook 15 minutes on high pressure in Instant Pot, natural release.
If needed, thicken with masa or corn tortilla.
*I try to use black caviar or French green lentils because they hold their shape and texture nicely, but any lentil will do
** I love “Better than Bouillon” brand vegetable broth concentrate