Thursday, August 11, 2011

Black Bean and Lentil Chili

In light of my husband's gall bladder removal surgery, I have been busy hunting for some no or low fat main course meals, and since he's still not supposed to lift more than 10 pounds (and our five month old is double that) I need them to be meals that can cook themselves, because I don't have a lot of time or extra free hands to be cooking with. Just when I thought I would never be able to make the needed adjustments, who should come to my rescue, but THRIVE!

I had an idea for some chili, and threw a whole bunch of my THRIVE ingredients into our big pot.

 I added water, and let it simmer by itself while I dealt with my kids and other household obligations. When it was done, I dished up a bowl for my hubby, he said, "Wow. That's really good." I don't know why he always has a surprised tone to his voice, he should know by now that if I'm making it with THRIVE, it's going to be good. I forgot to ask him to rate it, but since he's been depressed about his restricted diet, and he actually smiled and complimented this dish, I'd say it rates pretty high up there. We put a little fat free sour cream on top, but the flavor was so nice, we didn't even really miss the shredded cheese that normally dons our meals.

Personally, I'd rate this recipe an 8.5 for taste, a 10 for nutrition, and a 10 for ease. Dump it all in a pot, add water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 50-60 minutes. And done. It doesn't get much easier then that. And as far as health goes, a 1 cup serving of this has only 200 calories, less than 1.5 grams of fat, over 14 grams of fiber, and more than 15 grams of protein. It is also completely vegetarian, thanks to the TVP.  So it is quite a good-for-you dish as well. You might want a little extra salt - I know a lot of people are trying to watch their sodium, so I always err on the side of not enough salt in my recipes, and let people add more to their individual bowls if they want.

Anyway, here's what I put in it. This yielded about 10 cups of chili, so feel free to halve it if you need:


  • 1 1/2 cups lentils (THRIVE sells lentils, but I needed to use up some others I still had, which is why they're not pictured below)
  • 2 cups THRIVE Instant black beans
  • 3 tbsp THRIVE  Mixed Bell Peppers
  • 1/3 cup THRIVE Freeze-Dried Chopped Onions
  • 3/4 cup THRIVE Freeze-Dried Sweet Corn
  • 1/2 cup THRIVE Taco TVP
  • 1/3 cup THRIVE Tomato Powder
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Chili Powder
  • 11-12 cups Water

There you have it. Dump the ingredients in the pot. Add your water (start with the 11 cups, and add 1 more at the end if you don't want your chili as thick). Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 50-60 minutes (that's how long it takes the lentils to cook). It's important to use THRIVE's INSTANT Black Beans, not the regular black beans. Regular Black Beans will take hours to soak and cook. The Instant Black beans have been par-boiled, which eliminates the need to soak them, cut cooking time down to 20-30 minutes, and yet still preserves the shelf life at 25 years. My kind of beans. :-) And just so you know, these are whole beans, not bean flakes that only turned into refried beans. Here's what they look like.

For those wanting the full nutritional value, I plugged my recipe into's recipe creator (I'm using their daily plate feature to count calories and try and lose weight). Here's the breakdown:
This recipe is also the first, of what I hope will be many, of my "Freezerless Meals". I've got a friend who makes some great freezer meals to have on hand, and I've enjoyed going to her classes and making those meals. But I don't have room in my freezer to store anymore ready made meals. I do have room in my pantry though. Because everything gets added to the water at the same time and cooks together, this a meal you can make ahead of time, throw in a ziploc bag, write the water and cooking instructions on the outside, and leave in the pantry for future need. It takes just as long to cook it as thawing and baking a freezer meal (if not less time), and you could also halve the recipe, put it in a tall mason jar with some decorative ribbon, and now you've got a great gift for just about any occasion (who doesn't love food?) 

To order your THRIVE foods for this great recipe, just contact me at or call me at 714-683-7562.

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