Lentil Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Sometimes being short on time has its perks. Last week was a busy one and I didn’t have time to plan out my menu like I usually do. It required a little creativity to get dinner on the table.
We recently subscribed to Butcher Box, a meat delivery subscription that offers thoughtfully sourced meat and chicken. I love the price point and the fact that I don’t have to think about what to buy but I find that we’re eating meat a bit more frequently than we normally do. The husband is SUPER happy about this. I, on the other hand, have been craving a Vegan dish. Enter…Lentil Chili.
Chili is my go-to meal when I don’t want to think about dinner. I always have the ingredients on hand to make a vegan or carnivorous version. This time, I decided to try out the Instant Pot to see if it shaved off some of the cooking time. It did, but not enough for me to oooh and aaaah over. Keep reading, however. I will give you the recipe for both the Instant Pot and Stove Top version.
This chili is full of flavor and great on its own. In fact, it was all we had on night one. I always make enough food for at least two meals, however. “Cook once, eat twice” is my motto and a HUGE time saver for busy families. On night two, instead of just reheating chili, I decided to use up the last of my sweet potatoes that looked like they were about to start sprouting any day. So I grabbed the trusty Instant Pot yet again! I cleaned my potatoes really well and put them on the tray, in the Instant Pot with one cup of water on High/Pressure Cook for 18 minutes, and let it Natural Release for 10 minutes before serving.
A quick note about the potatoes before we move on to the recipe. I used Firm Sweet Potatoes, also known as Hannah Yams for this recipe. These are the ones with the white flesh, NOT the orange flesh. They are a little less sweet than the “yam” variety that most think of when referencing a sweet potato and more akin to a russet potato in texture. But you can use the orange fleshed “Jewel” or “Garnet” variety if you’d prefer. If you want to learn more about the difference between the two, check out this article from kitchn. Sweet potatoes in any variety are high in vitamins A and beta-carotene, as well as fiber. They are a low glycemic vegetable and contain “good” or complex carbohydrates, so they’re great for anyone looking to balance their blood sugar. Are you hungry yet? On to the recipe…
For the Lentil Chili
- 2 Cup of dry Lentils, picked through (for rocks) and rinsed (You could use 1 cup lentils + 1 12oz can of rinsed white beans, if you want more variety in the chili)
- 1 Carrot, finely chopped
- 1 Onion, finely chopped
- 1 Celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1 28oz can diced tomatoes (I like the Fire Roasted variety)
- 1 8oz can tomato sauce
- 3 Cups vegetable stock (chicken or beef broth work too for non-vegan versions)
- 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive or Coconut oil
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced or grated on a microplane
- 3 Tbsp Chili Powder
- 1 Tbsp Cacao powder or Cocoa powder (whichever you have on hand)
- 1 Tsp Oregano
- 1 Tsp Cumin powder
- 1/2 Tsp Coriander powder
- 1/2 Tsp Dry Mustard
- Salt to taste
Stove Top Directions
I always use my enameled cast iron dutch oven for this recipe! I love the way it evenly cooks my soups and stews while also being relatively non-stick and easy to clean without teflon or other harmful ingredients found in non-stick cookware.
Heat oil in dutch oven or other heavy pot. Add onions, celery, carrot, and salt to taste. Cook until softened (about 5-7 minutes). Add garlic and continue to stir until fragrant, taking care not to burn. Add the rinsed and picked over lentils and spices and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and vegetable stock. Stir. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer with lid on for 45 minutes to an hour.
*If using white beans in place of 1 Cup of lentils, add beans half way through the cooking process so they don’t turn to mush.
Instant Pot Directions
Shout out to Jeanettes Healthy Living for giving me direction on how to use the instant pot for this recipe. Her recipe is super similar to mine, which is why I chose to use her method. And I’m not gonna lie…this is the first time I used dry mustard in my chili, thanks to her recipe. Thanks, Jeanette!
Choose the “Saute” setting on your Instant Pot. Heat oil. Add onion, celery, carrot, and salt to taste. Cook until softened (about 3-4 minutes). Add garlic and continue to stir, until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add lentils and spices and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and vegetable stock taking care not to go over the max line. Stir. Close lid and select “Cancel”. Seal the “steam release” vent and select “Bean/Chili”. Set timer for 14 minutes. Press “Cancel” when cooking timer is done and allow to “Natural Release” for 10-15 minutes. I ended up waiting for 15 minutes because I was trying to let the float valve drop down on its own but that thing did NOT want to give, so I ended up doing the quick release. The lentils were cooked to perfection and the chili had a TON of flavor.
2-4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and patted dry (whatever variety your heart desires)
So you could wrap these puppies up in some foil or place them on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for an hour or more, but that is time consuming. If you’re making your chili on the stove, you could put the potatoes in the oven before starting the chili and the timing would be perfect. If, however, you’ve done what I did, and are having lentil chili stuffed sweet potatoes as a “Round Two” recipe, grab your Instant Pot for a quicker dinner option.
Fill instant pot with 1 cup of water. Place rack inside the liner and add potatoes on top. Close lid and select “Pressure Cook/High”. Set time for 15-18 minutes (depending on the thickness of your potatoes). Press “Cancel” when cooking time is finished and allow to Natural Release for 10 minutes. Turn “Quick Release” valve and open lid.
Cut potatoes in half. Place 1 half of a sweet potato on plate and top with a ladle-full of chili. Top with avocado and nutritional yeast for a Vegan version or add shredded cheese for a Vegetarian version. Now try not to scarf it down. This is true comfort food with a nutritional edge that will keep you feeling full but not stuffed. Enjoy!
I’m giving you nutrition info for BOTH the Lentil Chili (alone) AND the Lentil Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes. The nutrition facts for the latter include 1/2 a sweet potato with one ladle-full of chili (about 1/2 cup) and the toppings of 1/2 an avocado and 1/2oz of shredded cheddar cheese.
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I’m Amberly, a Clinical & Integrative Nutritionist. I help women who’ve had cancer go from just “surviving” to THRIVING by amping up their nutrition, reducing stress, and teaching them how to be in the present moment.
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