Serves 10 to 12
Active time: 15 minutes || Total time: 40 minutes
You know those food magazines that you flip through while in the checkout line at the supermarket? The ones you put back on the rack, all the better for knowing that you can make a casserole out of a can of soup and 35 egg whites? Yeah, well, I buy those magazines. All of them. It is my secret shame.
But this week a magazine cover gave me the chutzpah to do what I’ve always wanted to… put Thai red curry paste in everything. Or at least chili! To be fair, the magazine was Clean Eating, which usually has pretty awesome non-soup can ideas. And the original recipe was even vegan, so yay.
This isn’t their exact recipe, I just ripped off the idea (jeez, I have some integrity). It’s just as awesome as you would imagine if you threw together a Thai curry and a chili. OK fine, maybe that doesn’t sound awesome, but it was! I used red lentils for texture and kept the main ingredients as is: sweet potatoes and big meaty kidney beans. It’s really satisfying and blessedly easy so make it the next time you want to switch up your chili repertoire. It makes a lot so freeze the leftover and have chili whenever you want.
Olive oil (1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons, however much you feel like using)
1 large yellow onion, diced medium
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced medium
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 ½ lbs sweet potatoes cut into ¾ inch chunks
1 cup red lentils
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups vegetable broth
2 15 oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1 15 oz can lowfat coconut milk
28 oz can diced tomatoes
½ cup fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
Limes for garnish (optional)
Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Saute onions and pepper in oil with a pinch of salt, for 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and saute a minute more.
Add chili powder, sweet potatoes, lentils, salt and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Let it boil for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When lentils are cooked and sweet potatoes are tender, add the remaining ingredients and heat through.
Taste for salt and seasoning, top with cilantro and lime and serve!
Steve in Idaho
I have made this twice, and it is excellent. To the December poster, if you cut the onions, and substitute Garlic the flavor will radically change! Onion is one of the key members of the French triumvarate that is the basis of most classic soups (onion, celery and carrot or parsnip = mirepoix) Garlic is really a spice, not a base like onion. I increased the recipe by 50%, and scaled all the ingredients accordingly. I skipped lime, and simmered MUCH longer, like 2 hours. At that point, the sweetness of (real) sweet potatoes diffuses and quiets the heat of the chile pepper (I used hot Chipotle pepper). I thought it was too hot when I sampled it, but after thorough mixing and all ingredients were added on schedule, it quieted to medium hot, by most Asian standards that I have had. I added Thai Curry at the end, increased it a little beyond the recipe, and it seemed just right. This is my favorite vegan chile!
This recipe just scored 2nd place in a competitive office chili cook-off! It’s really saying something when a vegetarian (actually vegan) chili comes in 2nd out of 12 entries … heavily loaded with steak/pork/ect
Ok, I’m almost embarrassed to ask but need to know, are lentils dry or canned ( if they come in a can ) ? Never have prepared anything with lentils.
Dry lentils, they cook very quickly till soft.
This is a great recipe! I have brought it to potlucks with great success. The coconut milk makes it delicious. After paying extra for red lentils the first time, I just use regular lentils because they faded to gray anyway.
I agree with the previous poster … use regular brown lentils. They’re more substantial, give the stew a more hardy texture, a richer flavor, a more gravy like structure, and are easier to keep from falling to complete mush.
My new favorite chili! We have an annual chili contest at work. I just won with this recipe! First time a vegetarian chili has ever won. I followed your recipe pretty much with a few modifications: carmelized the onions for a couple hours, added garbanzos in addition to kidney beans, and used more sweet potatoes and peppers.
I just discovered your blog while looking for usual chili recipes, can’t wait to try your other recipes. Thanks for sharing your creative ideas!
Wish I could have seen your show! Do you have any plans to take it on the road? I’m in Boulder and think you’d find a very receptive audience here. Email me directly if you’d like to talk about bringing it here.
Can the extra chilli be frozen?
I’ve frozen the chili and it reheats just fine. The sweet potatoes might get a bit softer but it’s still delicious!
Thank you Isa! I first had this at a Vegan Chili Cookoff in the park. Saw a sign on a post downtown. Went to the park and met a bunch of young excited Animal Rights Activists and tried several Vegan Chilis. That day changed my life. This Chili is my go to for most Potlucks now and everyone goes wild over it, every time. I use regular coconut milk and green curry paste because I love the flavour more. It freezes well so I usually double it. I love bringing food that is cruelty free and sharing my love for food and animals at the same time.
Had this bookmarked forever and finally made it. F A N T A S T I C!!! Made it exactly as the recipe states and it is a perfect recipe.
We are obsessed. Thank You!
OMG this is absolutely delicious!
I altered the recipe a bit, as I wanted more of a Thai soup vs. a chili.
I finely diced the onion and red pepper and cut the yams into very small pieces. I reduced the lentils to 1/2 cup and added 1/2 of white rice. I also reduced the chili powder to 1 teaspoon and the red curry paste to 2 teaspoons. Used a 15oz can of crushed fire roasted tomatoes instead of 28 oz. of diced.
It was absolutely divine, thank you so much for the recipe!
P.S. I my husband is from Omaha and I am a UNO alumni. 🙂
Has it really been 3 years since anyone made this? Good God this is amazing. First made it back in 2011, and am glad the recipe (simple as it may be) is still here for the people! Isa, your inspiration here lives on, like a classic record (I’m thinking The Stooges ‘Fun House’!)
I have been making it for about ten years! Just looking up the recipe again. It’s so good.
I LOVE your website but the new set up is a little harder to navigate than the older version. With all the recipe categories at the bottom I think newcomers to the site might get discouraged with trying to locate it and the search option seems to just be available at the bottom of the comment section of the individual recipes. That might be better off on top so we can search for the delicious recipe we want right away! In the past I have just sent friends a link to your site but now with the new set up I have to send them a direct link to the recipe I think they’d like which means they won’t be browsing as much. Just thought you’d like to know!
Can I use green lentils instead of red and how do I print this recipe
Red chilli paste has shrimp paste in it. At least the ones I’ve seen. Any suggestions for brands of red chili paste without fish sauce, shrimp paste or MSG
Mekhala is totally vegan thai curry paste with no msg. I hope you’re able to find it!
Sorry my question above is incorrect.
I meant to s as y red curry paste
I can’t believe this recipe is 10 years old! I think I made it a couple times when it was first posted, but that seems like a really long time to have gone without making it again, it’s SOOO good. Followed exactly as she has it, or even the variations sound good. I think this combo of ingredients would be hard to mess up.
Hi! I’ve made this for years and love it but now I need a coconut-free version. Coconut in Thai is delish (& necessary in my book) but just curious what you think of using unsweetened almond milk instead? Thanks!
This is AMAZING!!! My whole family loved it. The lime at the end makes it so perfect!!!
So happy I found your site.
Can you please put a “print” button on your recipe pages?
Love this chilli. My fall favorite
I’ve been making (and loving and crowd pleasing with) this chili since its original posting here. It’s SO delicious. I recently started a new job eight months ago and we just had our annual Chili Cookoff. Out of 20 entries (only two veg), I won the whole thing! So many compliments and requests for the recipe, so many shout outs to Aida and this fantastic creation. I throw in an extra can of beans (light kidneys to Kia it up) and blend my coconut milk with the paste a bit of the tomatoes first with an immersion blender before adding just to ensure a good blend), but otherwise don’t mess with this perfection. Thanks, Isa!