Cozy Crock Pot Lentil Chili: Set It And Forget It! {Vegan, Gluten-Free}

I love my job! I have so much fun sharing my passion for healthy eating and delicious, nourishing food with my co-workers, our clients, and with all of you! 🙂

Yesterday, I taught a new workshop called Eating for All-Day Energy.

We talked about the challenges of having low energy and what we tend to eat and do when we feel that way. In most cases, we reach for another coffee or snack without giving much thought to how those choices impact our energy.

E4E3

I shared my top four secrets for eating for energy and will be sharing the first of those with you today.

Many of us are riding “the blood sugar roller coaster,” dealing with a series of cravings and energy spikes and crashes all day long. We often feel tired, irritable, moody, and not as energized or focused as we’d like to be.

blood-sugar roller coaster

The truth is, what we eat affects us.

If we want to feel energized, then we have to FUEL and NOURISH our bodies with foods and drinks that give us energy.

So, here’s tip #1:

To have all-day energy, stabilize your blood sugar by having the following combination of foods at each meal:PFF

When we eat meals that have protein + healthy fats + fiber, we stabilize our blood sugar and help it release slowly over time rather than dealing with sudden spikes and drops. (I’ll be sharing more details about exactly how blood sugar works in a future post but wanted to keep it limited for today.)

  1. Protein (nuts: almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, cashews; seeds: pumpkin, chia, hemp, flax, sunflower, sesame; lentils, peas, beans, tempeh (recipe to come!), nut butters, and grass-fed/farm-raised meat, poultry, eggs, and fish)
  2. Healthy Fats (nuts and seeds, avocado, nut and seed butters, wild caught salmon, pasture-raised eggs, extra virgin olive oil, coconut milk, coconut oil, guacamole, tahini (sesame paste), ghee (clarified butter), grass-fed butter if you can tolerate some dairy)
  3. Fiber (vegetables, especially leafy greens; summer squash; cruciferous veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower; fruit, especially berries, peaches, cherries, apples, pears and plums; beans, peas, lentils; gluten-free grains like quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, millet, oats, and amaranth).

At the end of the class, I shared two demos of recipes that will keep you full AND sustain your energy, including this yummy chili.

Everyone loved it! It’s easy to make, too. You just have to saute a few vegetables and spices for about 10 minutes and then dump everything into a crock pot for 8 hours. Set it and forget it! 🙂

chili 2

This meal is a GREAT option for stabilizing blood sugar, especially if you serve it with some diced avocado on top. There’s PROTEIN in the lentils, FIBER in the lentils and vegetables, and HEALTHY FATS in the avocado.

Lentils fill me up more than just about any other food, too, so you might find the same to be true for yourself.

Don’t let yourself be intimidated by the length of this ingredient list – 1/3 are spices, 1/3 are common veggies, and the rest is pretty basic, too. The only things you might have to buy are the lentils and roasted red peppers…and maybe the tomato puree and diced tomatoes if you don’t already keep them on hand for things like marinara sauce. Every grocery store sells those ingredients.

This is a hearty, filling, heart-warming, nutrient-rich meal. Enjoy it for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

crock pot chili

chili 3

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (add more if you like more of a “kick”)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can or jar tomato puree, no sodium added
  • 1 (28-ounce) can or jar crushed or diced tomatoes, no sodium added (I like Pomi brand)
  • 2 roasted red peppers, diced
  • 2 cups dried green lentils or French lentils
  • 1 teaspoon 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Optional: avocado slices and scallions for toppings

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and carrots and saute until onions are soft, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne to vegetables and saute for another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add tomato puree, crushed or diced tomatoes and roasted red pepper and stir to combine.
  4. Transfer mixture from saute pan to crock pot. Add lentils, maple syrup, bay leaf and water. Stir to combine all ingredients.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  6. Remove bay leaf and stir in salt before serving.

Top with diced avocado and chopped scallions for a good dose of healthy fat and a pop of color!

Do you have a favorite chili recipe or energy-boosting snack or meal? Feel free to share below 🙂

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6 Comments

  1. Bhavana Singh

    must try this weekend 🙂

  2. Miyo

    Love your enthusiasm and graphics, Rachel! Also the information about how to eat for awesome energy. Do you have suggestions about what a person might substitute for tomatoes in a chili recipe ? I seem to have a food allergy to tomatoes. Peppers and eggplant seem to be ok, so it isn’t all nightshades. Thanks for being an inspiration !

    • Thank you so much! Since there is only a can of tomatoes in the recipe, I bet you could just add in more broth and some other veggies like chopped cauliflower to bulk it up a little, since the tomatoes do add some bulk. Otherwise you could certainly try roasted red pepper or sautee some fresh red peppers and just add a bit more of the broth. Hope that helps! 🙂

      • Miyo

        Yes, Thank you, Rachel, that is a great help.. I will . roasting extra red peppers and maybe cauliflower to add with extra broth- sounds delicious. . I love the idea of using lentils in chili.

  3. Miyo

    hmm. meant to say “I will try roasting extra red peppers..” however submitted before I meant to.

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