Eggplant Lentil Chili Mole

I held off on blogging about this dish for a while because I had to think about it. The taste is really different, and it took me a few days of retrospection to decide that it's different in a good way, and that I quite enjoy it.

No surprise here, this dish is from Appetite for Reduction, a lovely vegan cookbook full of healthy recipes that I've been cooking my way through over the past couple weeks. CBS News has apparently called this "the world's most filling vegan dish" -- I'm not sure they've had a whole lot of vegan food based on that conclusion, but I'll grant that it is very filling and delicious to boot. It's a veg chili filled with eggplant that cooks till it's silky-tender; chewy, fiber-packed lentils; and a spice combo that's rounded out with some unsweetened cocoa powder, which really adds depth of flavor.

This would be fantastic with some cornbread on the side -- if you whip some up from a boxed mix, it'll be ready in the time it takes the chili to simmer.

Eggplant Lentil Chili Mole
From Appetite for Reduction
  • 2 pounds eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced medium
  • 1 red pepper, diced medium
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon mild chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup green lentils, washed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar or maple syrup
  • Cilantro for garnish (optional)
Preheat a 4-quart soup pot over medium high heat. Saute onions and bell pepper in oil until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute, using cooking spray or a splash of water if it's sticking. Mix in chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, salt and cinnamon. Add 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth and the cocoa powder; cook for about 1 more minute, while stirring, to dissolve the cocoa.

Add lentils, vegetable broth, diced tomatoes and eggplant. Cover pot and bring to a boil, keeping a close eye. Once it's boiling, lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes, until lentils are tender and eggplant is soft. Mix in agave. Taste for salt and seasoning.

Let sit for 10 minutes or so for maximum flavor. Serve garnished with cilantro if you like.