Vegetarian Lentil Chile

Perfect for that almost autumn feel in the air! This makes a huge batch but it keeps very well in the fridge or freezer.

3T Olive oil + extra
3 T butter
1 1/2 T ground cumin
2 T good chile powder
1 1/2 T smoked paprika
2 t salt
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic
3 bell peppers – 1 each of green, yellow,and red
1 14 1/2 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed.
1 28 oz can tomato sauce
1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes
8 cups liquid (I use half broth / half water)
bunch of chopped spinach – optional
brick of tofu, any kind, drained – optional
1 cup lentils

Use a large soup pot. Over medium high heat, melt 3T olive oil and 3T butter, dump in the spices – cumin, chile powder, paprika, salt and stir around for a minute to get the flavors started. Add the onions and garlic and stir for about four minutes till tender. Add the peppers and stir for a few more till they are tender too. You might want to add a bit more olive oil so the veggies don’t burn. Add the lentils and the liquids and bring to a boil for a few minutes.

Simmer for at least half an hour over low heat until the lentils are cooked. Add the tomato sauce, tomatoes, black beans, and spinach if you are using it. Also if you use the tofu, crumble it up and add that at the last minute. Heat another ten minutes or so and then eat or store in the fridge. You can add a dollop of sour cream, some cheese, onions or whatever you want on top!

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