Sunday, October 11, 2020

Lentil Chili (Pierce Street Vegetarian Chili from Heidi Swanson) for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I have been craving chili lately and lucky for me this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs we are having a chili cook off. I took a look through the chili recipes of our now 21 featured chefs and went for something a little different, a vegetarian lentil and grain chili from Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks.

Heidi says, "I think its safe to say, we are long overdue for a good vegetarian chili recipe around here. I'm not entirely sure what has taken me so long - I guess I wanted it to be really good. It's not that I wasn't cooking chili, I just wasn't sharing. I kept waiting until I had a pot in front of me that I was giddy about, the kind of chili that has you leaning over the pot, spoon in hand, shaking your head once or twice, saying mmm-hmm. And believe me, I never thought the best pot of chili I'd made (in years) would be inspired by a bunch of those little bags of remnant grains and pulses that collect in my cupboards - lentils, farro, bulgur - but sure enough, that's what happened. This chili is made with bulgur, farro, lentils, chile peppers, crushed tomatoes and some chickpeas I had hanging around. Then you've got the chili powder, and a secret ingredient - a bit of grated ginger."


Pierce Street Vegetarian Chili 
(Makes 12+ Servings)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
8 small/med garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp ginger, peeled and grated
3 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped (I used a jalapeno)
1 chipotle pepper (from can or re-hydrate), minced (I used 2 tsp Chipotle-Garlic Chile powder)
1 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes
10 cups vegetable broth (I used non-chicken stock)
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (canned is fine)
2 1/4 cups black, brown, or green lentils (or combo), rinsed and picked over
2/3 cup pearled barley or pearled farro (I used 1/2 cup of each)
2/3 cup bulgur wheat
1 tsp fine grain sea salt (or to taste)

Optional toppings: a bit of chopped serranos, a bit of feta or dollop of thinned out salted yogurt, a drizzle of equal parts chopped fresh oregano and olive oil, chopped onion

In a large stockpot pot over medium heat add the olive oil, onion, and shallots. When the onions soften up and get a bit translucent, add the garlic, ginger, chili powder and cumin. Stir well and cook for a minute of so, until everything gets quite fragrant. Stir in the serrano pepper and chipotle pepper, tomatoes, and 8 cups of the broth. Now add the chickpeas, lentils, barley/farro, and bulgur - stirring between each addition. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer. Take a taste of the broth a few minutes into the simmer - you can make adjustments for salt here - if you're using water in place of broth, you can add a teaspoon of salt for starters and add more later if needed. 

Simmer away for about 35- 45 minutes or until the lentils and grains are cooked through. You will likely need to add the rest of the water, a cup at a time, if the chili thickens up too much. Before serving do your final adjustments - add more chipotle, salt, or whatever you think it needs and enjoy! I love this chili with a bit of feta or goat cheese on top and a big drizzle of olive oil, but I listed off a few other topping ideas up above.

Notes/Results: This is a really good vegetarian chili--both in flavor and texture. The grains--I used bulgur wheat and mix of pearled barley and pearled farro, give it a meaty vibe. I also like the texture of the black and green lentils--the green get softer while the black retain their bite. The giner adds a warming touch. I did add about 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar--something I do with lentils to add a little brightness. I added extra broth and probably need to add more for a more saucy chili but otherwise I have not complaints. I used feta, fresh oregano and olive oil from Heidi's suggested toppings and also added some of last-weekend's Spicy Pumpkin Seeds for texture. This makes A LOT of chili and I like Heidi's idea of baking eggs in some of it--definitely going to try that. I would happily make this chili again.

I'm linking this post up to I Heart Cooking Clubs where this week's theme is Chili Cook-Off.

Let's see who is here in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week!

Judee from Gluten Free A-Z Blog shared this pretty Creamy Radish Soup saying, "The soup is made from radishes, potatoes, onions, and .... apples!! - Just got stranger- it sounds weird, you will have to trust me on this one! Although I have seen recipes for cooked radishes, I have to admit we usually eat ours raw in salads. Cooking radishes in a soup was a first for me, and I was pleasantly surprised. The potatoes add a creamy texture and the unpeeled apples give the soup a tad of sweetness and a lovely pink blush."


Kim of Stirring the Pot is sharing the chili cook-off fun with Giada's California Turkey Chili w/ Quinoa and Pine Nut Pilaf. She says, "Now, I will confess that I am partial to Giada's recipes. We usually almost always love them, but this chili is a step above the rest. It really is SO GOOD! If you're wanting to try your hand at a new chili recipe, this one is solid gold. I absolutely loved all the flavors from the poblanos, onions, celery, tomato paste, and spices. You can add garnishes if you like, but really and truly this chili doesn't need anything added to it. It is simply perfect the way it is! Five stars, Giada!

Thank you to Judee and Kim for joining me this week! 

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and add a link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to this post or my blog on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Have a happy, healthy week!



  1. Looks like two good chili recipes this week. I like the ginger and the cumin in your lentil chili- I'll have to try it!!

  2. Deb- that chili looks beautiful and so so hearty! I definitely love the suggestion of baking an egg into it. That’s something I’ve never tried and now I’m mad at myself for not thinking of it!😂

    The radish soup sounds so unique. Thanks for adding me to the roundup.

  3. Hey, Deb. Finally posting something I could link up to Souper Sundays with! I wish I had the time to get back into I Heart Cooking Clubs. It needs to cool off a bit more here until I feel like make chili. I do like this vegetarian version here. I stocked up on lots of dried beans and lentils so I can certainly make this! Be well and safe!


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