Three-bean and green lentil chili

Completely plant-based and good for you, this three-bean and green lentil chili is a favourite in my family. Now that the evenings are cooler, why not make a big pot of spicy chili. I made this recipe last night and it was a hit.

If your diet is mainly plant-based, a chili like this one can help prevent iron deficiency anaemia. Combining non-heme foods (plant foods high in iron) with foods that are high in Vitamin C can enhance iron absorption in your body and prevent anaemia. As I mentioned in a previous post and according to experts, it’s healthier to get your iron from food sources instead of pills.

Examples of non-heme foods are lentils, kidney beans and other beans or legumes, dark-leafy greens (spinach, romaine, kale), dried fruits and iron-fortified foods, like tofu and cereals. Foods high in Vitamin C are peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower, citrus fruits/drinks, berries and brocoli.

In addition, cooking and boiling vegetables, as in this chili, increases their nutritional value. For example, boiling or steaming tomatoes enhances their lycopene and nutritional content. As mentioned by Mark Bittman and Dr. David Katz in their conversation about eating right, our metabolism can more easily access the antioxidant that makes tomatoes redder when they’re cooked than when they’re raw.

Enough said about eating healthy! Here’s the chili recipe below.

Enjoy your meal!

Tomato puréeThree-bean and green lentil chili

Serves a group: 10 to 12 people


  • 3 tablespoons (tbsp) of olive oil
  • 2 medium-size leeks, chopped
  • 2 red onions, diced
  • 2 big sweet red peppers, chopped
  • 1 green or red jalapeño pepper, chopped small
  • 2-4 garlic buds, pressed
  • 2 tbsps dried oregano
  • 2 tbsps powdered coriander
  • 1 tbsp powdered cumin
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) hot or mild paprika
  • 2 bottles (700 grams each) of pure tomato purée
  • 2-3 cups dark beer (I like to add 3 cups, but an extra cup of water or bouillon is also fine)
  • 6 cups mixed beans, rinsed and drained. Either canned -or- dry beans soaked overnight and boiled until tender. Here I used black, red kidney and brown borlotti beans.
  • ½ – ¾ cup green dried lentils
  • several handfuls of fresh cherry tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable bouillon (homemade, store-bought or veggie cubes + water)
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ¼ cup pumpkin purée
  • A big bunch of fresh parsley leaves, chopped fine
  • 2 cups corn kernels (fresh, jarred or frozen), rinsed and drained
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste


Chop, dice and rinse the vegetables in a strainer. Prepare all other ingredients.

In a large deep pot, heat up the olive oil. Reduce heat to medium-high and sauté the leeks, onions, red peppers, jalapeño and garlic for five minutes. Reduce heat again and add a little water if veggies sticks to the bottom.

Add the spices (oregano, coriander, cumin, paprika) and keep sautéing for another 3 minutes until fragrant.

Add the tomato purée, beer, beans, dried lentils, cherry tomatoes, vegetable bouillon, tomato paste and pumpkin purée. Mix well. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat. Allow to simmer with lid off.

Add the parsley leaves, corn, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Simmer on low heat with lid off for a good hour, stirring often.

Take off heat and allow chili to settle with cover on for 15 minutes. Serve with crusty bread and/or whole grain rice. Tastes even better the next day and freezes well.

Corn in jar

Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

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