Did you know that chili is strangely divisive? People can get very passionate about it. Here's a fun psychological experiment: the next time you're at a party, randomly ask people for chili recipes. You'll be amazed by a) the wide spectrum of ingredients used, and b) the shocked faces at the description of recipes that differ from their own.
For example, I told my husband I was making vegetarian chili, and he looked at me, alarmed. "So...just beans, then?" he asked, to which I replied, "Well, and lentils!" At his non-plussed look, I added, "And sweet potatoes!" which really didn't help matters.
Oh, but this chili is so delicious, so full of flavour as well as nutrition. I tend to make mine on the milder side for the spicy-averse members of my family, but I took some over to a neighbour who added hot sauce to it. I tried it and agreed that it's the perfect way to add more spice to your life, when your loved ones like to walk on the mild side. And if the thought of sweet potatoes in your chili seems sacrilegious, well, just try it. It adds a scrumptious hit of beta-carotene in a bowlful of iron and protein - a comforting, tasty bowlful of energy.
P.S. My husband loved it, lentils, beans, sweet potatoes, and all.
In a very large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium. Add onion, pepper, and garlic, and saute until onion is soft and translucent.
Add concentrated vegetable stock cube and water, and stir until the cube has dissolved. Add tomatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, and lentils.
Stir in chili powder, cumin, coriander, chipotle chili powder, bown sugar, salt and pepper. Bring chili to a boil and then reduce heat, stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes are fork-tender.
Serve topped with diced avocado, sour cream, or shredded cheese, with a side of crusty bread to mop up the delicious sauce.
For a spicier dish, add 1-2 tablespoons hot sauce.
Yield: 6-8 servings
Want more cozy comfort food? Try my Savoury Lentil Stew, my Vegan Mac and Cheese, or my Creamy Portobello Mushroom Soup with Homemade Croutons.