Stuffed Potatoes with Lentil Chili

Sometimes finding a vegetarian or vegan recipe calls for making it just because it sounds good. Such was the case with “lentil chili” in the recipe name. Had to give it a try and found it very good! Of course, it needed a little more chili powder than called for to satisfy the Gringo Gourmet taste buds. It seemed a bit sweet when tasted during cooking. A couple of teaspoons of rice vinegar balanced the sweetness nicely.

Stuffed potatoes with Lentil Chili – Vegetarian version.

Stuffed Potatoes with Lentil Chili
4 russet potatoes (about 8 oz. each)
1 small red onion
1 poblano chile pepper
1 carrot
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 15-oz can lentils, drained and rinsed (or cook 1 cup dry lentils in 4 cups water 20-25 minutes until tender, but don’t overcook to mushy)
2 tsp chili power (or more to taste)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 14.5 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1. cup shredded cheddar cheese – about 4 ounces (Substitute vegan cheddar to keep this dish vegan)

Preheat oven to 425º.Prick potatoes with a fork and microwave until tender -15 – 20 minutes. Transfer to oven rack and bake until soft – about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, finely chop the red onion. Put 2 Tbsp chopped onion in a small bowl, cover with water and let soak for 10 minutes; drain, pat dry and set aside for topping.
Chop the poblano. Peel and grate the carrot.
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the remaining red onion, the chopped poblano and carrot, season with salt and pepper. Cook stirring occasionally,until tender – about 5 minutes. Stir in chili powder and cumin and cook about 1 minute until toasted. Stir in lentils and add the tomato paste and cook stirring, until vegetables are coated. Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, 1-1/2 cups water and a large pinch of salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened – about 10 minutes.
Split the potatoes open. Drizzle with the remaining Tbsp olive oil, season with salt and pepper and fluff with a fork. Top with half the cheese, then top with the lentil chili. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and reserved red onion.

NOTE: This is a very good stuffed potato! Omnivore/carnivores can use smaller potatoes and use this as a side dish with a nice grilled steak if desired.

Have it both ways – as a meal with a big potato, or as a side with a smaller potato.

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