One my best friends, Allison, lives 752 miles away in Oxford, MS (home of Ole Miss, the Manning’s and my Rebels. Hotty Toddy!). She and I have been friends since we were 12 years old when training bras were a big deal, school supplies translated to Lisa Frank, three-way calling was the “in” thing, and our crushes on boys only lasted one week.
I hate that she lives so far away! It’s pretty dumb. Then again, she probably thinks it’s pretty dumb I chose to live in a state shaped like a mitten where it gets colder than ever, while she gets to maintain a garden in February like it’s no big deal – pretty badass if you ask me.
The point is, she’s one of my rocks. I talk to her every. single. day. You heard that right.
Friends are essential. Especially ones you’ve known more than half your life. I was in her wedding, she was in mine. She’s heard me cry, I’ve heard her cry. She’s vented to me about what upsets her and I’ve vented to her (sometimes multiple times a day) about what’s bothering me.
One thing she and I definitely do is exchange recipes. We’re both big foodies and literally spend hours talking about food, coming up with recipes, giving each other tips or suggestions on how to alter a recipe, what flavors would work and more. We’ve even thought about starting a blog together. She’s all classic-southern-comfort-cooking-but-also-healthy-ethnic-dish (or feasts as I call ‘em) gal, and I’ve got the vegetarian-health-nut-freak-thing on my end. Together, our kitchens are unstoppable!
So this lentil chili was born as a result of one of our chats. It’s her lentil soup recipe and my vegetarian chili recipe. Together they’re married in soup harmony. Equal soup rights, y’all. Support it.
It turned out boss, and made enough to feed an army. And if I could, I’d fly her up here to eat it with me. Then we could laugh, eat good soup together, talk for hours and it wouldn’t seem like she’s 752 miles away.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ cup red onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 cup carrot, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 1 15-oz. can fire roasted diced tomato
- 1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15-oz. can dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 4½ cups unsalted vegetable stock
- 1 cup brown lentils, picked through, rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ cup frozen corn kernels
- 1 15-oz. can peeled, crushed tomato
- ½ cup meatless crumbles (Boca brand or similar)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Start by heating olive oil in a large stock pot.
- When heated, add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until starting to soften.
- Then add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Next add carrot, green and red bell peppers and cook until peppers and carrot are tender, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the drained beans and vegetable stock and cook another 10 minutes.
- Then add in the lentils, cover and let the soup come to simmer, another 8-10 minutes.
- Add your spices: cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and also add in the frozen corn kernels. Give the whole soup a good stir.
- Finally add the crushed tomato, meatless crumbles, salt and pepper and stir well.
- Cover and bring to small bubble and then simmer 30-35 minutes.
- Top with your favorite garnishes and enjoy!