Lentil and Tomatillo Chili

Once upon a time I decided I should buy 25 lbs of lentils. Why not? It was only $17 and they are so very good for you. Months on months later I have about 23 lbs left. Let’s just say lentils are not our family’s favorite food (but they are so frugal, filling, and healthy!).

I really like them in this Spinach Dahl but as my husband does not like curry OR lentils, it is a no go for him.

I was on the look out for a recipe I could make from our lentils that we thoroughly enjoyed. When tomatillos were on sale at the store I knew what I would try– I figured the tomatillos would bring in some additional flavor which is needed with a vegetarian chili. It was one of the best chili’s I have ever had! All of the flavors in it made it very special. Even my husband said it was good! That’s pretty impressive for lentils. I am already thinking I want to make it again. That is INCREDIBLY impressive for lentils.

Break out those lentils– make a smashing chili– and STEEEEERETCH that food budget. 

Lentil and Tomatillo Chili
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4-6
A very frugal, meatless chili, that is absolutely packed with flavor.
  • 1 cup green lentils (preferably soaked for 24 hours and strained)
  • 2 cups unsalted broth, unsalted stock, or water
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter or heat stable oil
  • 2 large red onions, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon all spice
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pinch cloves
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle
  • 8 medium tomatillos, chopped into ½ inch cubes
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1½ teaspoons of salt
  1. Put the lentils and water or stock in a medium size pot. Bring to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10-20 minutes until tender (depends if they are soaked or not).
  2. Meanwhile, heat the butter or oil in a 6 quart stock pot over medium heat. Add the chopped red onions and spices. Cook the onions for 3-4 minutes until they begin to soften. Add the tomatillos and garlic. Cook until the tomatillos are soft, have a tiny bit of color to them, and start to release their juices. Add the tomatoes and salt.
  3. If you have time let it simmer for a while to let the flavors mingle. Stir in the lentils shortly before stirring so they do not turn to mush.
This is a mild heat, increase chipotle or add a few chopped jalapenos if you want it spicy.


  1. Yum! Will have to try this recipe!

    Have you made lentil tacos? I thought they were great and fun cause you could dress them up with taco fixings. Might help you make another 1/2 dent in the lentil supply. :)

    • I used the last cup and a half of this with some meat to make taco salads :D That was pretty yummy. We can not have most taco fixings (corn of flour tortillas and dairy) so that makes tacos kind of complicated (or VERY expensive if I buy rice tortillas).