Vegan Pumpkin Lentil Chili

vegan chili 1

It’s that time of year- goodbye sunshine. The weather is dipping into those cool temps. It’s freezing in the shade & warm in the sun. Just the thought of a rain storm coming through, & knowing that it will be that bone-chilling cold rain, makes you want to stay under the flannel sheets hours longer.

I’m not cold; I’m just a little chili.

vegan chili 2

I found an awesome company called The Smoked Olive that makes smoked olive oil & smoked brown sugars in a variety of flavors: regular, chili & whiskey smoked brown sugar. One taste of the smoked olive oil & smoked chili brown sugar & I knew what I had to do.

The smoked flavor that they have is a vegan-friendly process. They use proprietary smoking processes for the oils and sugars.  Both are naturally wood-smoked; no liquid smoke, no chemicals & no preservatives.  The ‘proprietary’ part of their process maintains the integrity of the oils and sugars.  For example, the oils are naturally wood-smoked in the absence of heat, air & light to maintain the full health benefits and flavor of their extra virgin olive oils.

The smokiness is not overwhelming. Your kitchen won’t smell like the back of a bbq joint. It simply adds a note of interest & excitement to every dish I have used The Smoked Olive’s products in- it’s the umami I’ve been searching for in a chili. By using it at the beginning & end of my recipe, it created the perfect smoked end caps to a favorite dish.

Most of The Smoked Olive’s products can be found online or at most Sur La Table or Williams & Sonoma stores.

vegan chili 3

Serves approx 8-10, depending on appetite. 

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 tablespoons of The Smoked Olive’s Sonoma extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 large carrots, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 – 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can of pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups dried lentils
  • 29oz can tomato sauce
  • 29oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 12 oz jar roasted red peppers, diced
  • 3 tbsp of The Smoked Olive’s chili smoked brown sugar

Recommended toppings:

  • diced avocado
  • diced roma tomatoes
  • tortilla strips

Let’s Get Cooking:

  1. In a stock pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and wait til it warms up.
  2. Saute onion, celery & carrots in the olive oil until they have softened.
  3. Add garlic & keep cooking for one more minute.
  4. Add the spices & bay leaf & cook for about 3 minutes or until it’s really fragrant.
  5. Stop & take a moment (15 seconds tops) to reflect on how good this meal is about to be. If you have pets, they’ll be wandering into the room now because they smell you cooking. Anticipate their begging. But this isn’t chili for dogs, so tell them to back off.
  6. Add about 5 cups of veggie broth to the stock pot followed by lentils & tomato sauce.
  7. Raise the heat to high, & bring it all to a boil.
  8. Once boiling, scale the heat back to medium low & simmer for about 30 minutes to get the lentils tender.
  9. Whisk in the pumpkin.
  10. Add the black beans, corn & red peppers & let it cook for about 20 more minutes.
  11. Add the extra cup of broth, if needed.
  12. Once the chili is all cooked up, finish with The Smoked Olive’s chili smoked brown sugar.
  13. Serve & enjoy with your choice of toppings or plain.
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