Red Lentil Chili

January 3, 2023

This hearty dish is packed with flavor, fiber and protein!  It's the perfect single pot meal that goes a long way on a cold night!




2 tbspn coconut oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 medium red pepper, diced

1/2 tspn each sea salt and black pepper

1 small jalapeno, diced with seeds

4 cloves garlic

2 tbspn ground cumin (divided)

3 tbspn chili powder (divided)

1 tspn smoked paprika

2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes

3 tbsp tomatoe paste

1 3/4 cup water

3/4 cups dry red lentils, rinsed in cold water and drained

1 15 oz. can kidney beans. slightly drained

1 15 oz. can black beans, slightly drained

1 15oz. can corn, drained


  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat.  Once hot, add oil, onion, and red pepper.  Season with a healthy pinch each of salt and pepper and stir.  Saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add jalapeno and garlic to a mortar and pestle and crush into a rough paste, or blend in a small food processor, or finely mince.  Add to the pot with onion and red pepper, and season with another pinch salt and pepper.
  3. Add 2/3 of the chili powder (2 tbspn), half the cumin (1 tbspn), paprika, diced tomatoes, tomatoe paste, and water, and stir to combine.  Bring to a low boil over medium high heat.
  4. Once boiling, add lentils and reduce heat to medium-low or low, so it's at a gentle simmer.  You want to see bubbles, but you don't want it boiling.  Cook for 15 minutes, until lentils are mostly tender.  As it's cooking you may need to add more water if the mixture is too dry and the lentils aren't submerged.
  5. Next add kidney beans, black beans, 1/4 tspn each of salt and pepper, remaining cumin (1 tbspn) and chili powder (1 tbspn), and stir to combine.
  6. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat slightly to low, add corn, cover and gently simmer for 20 minutes to meld the flavors together.  Stir occasionally.
  7. Taste and ajdust seasonings as needed, adding more chili powder or cumin for smokiness, or salt.
  8. Serve as is, or garnished with jalapeno, cilantro, red onion, and/or avocado.

Meet The Chef

At nine years old, Ben Gaffney asked if he could work alongside his father, a chef, at Congress Rotisserie in New Haven. The elder Gaffney put the boy to work washing dishes for two years, in the hope that it would discourage his interest in the restaurant business.

But a calling is a calling. Ben Gaffney has spent his life since then pursuing the wonders of food, bringing Middlefield along for the ride as chef at Lyman Orchards since 2017.
get to know chef ben

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