Lentil and Cauliflower Chili

October2010 272 I know it is weird, but I love cauliflower in my chili. I like how it stays a bit crisp even once cooked, providing a nice crunch to the chili. I also like how it takes on the seasonings of the chili. My first version was Black Bean and Cauliflower Chili and it is still a regular on our menu, but I have fallen in love with lentils, so I decided to update my old favorite recipe. I like it so much I am submitting it to Miz Helen’s Texas Chili Cook Off, though I am not sure she has a “crunchy mountain mama” category.

This is a very healthy, stick-to-your-ribs kind of chili even though it is meatless. Instead of adding flour or cornstarch, I overcooked half of the lentils to create a thick base; after the chili was cooked, I added the rest of the lentils in as the “beans”.

Just in case you were wondering how I get my kids to eat so many vegetables, I will tell you my secret: spices! When I was cooking this chili I asked my daughter to taste test it. She said, “You better add more spices; I can still taste the vegetables”.  :-) Actually, it didn’t need more spices, it just needed a little more time simmering so the flavors could meld. But her comment is telling; I can get my kids to eat just about any vegetable if I put enough chili seasoning on it!


1 lb. lentils
32 oz. vegetable broth
4 cups cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
4 cups tomatoes, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 –2 teaspoons ground red pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2  teaspoon fresh marjoram
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper


In a large stew pot, cook lentils according to the directions on the package (~  30 minutes). While the lentils are cooking, chop, dice, and mince vegetables.

When the lentils are ready, remove half the lentils and set aside. Add broth to the lentils in the pot. Add vegetables and spices the the broth and cook on high until it reaches a boil. Lower flame and simmer for 10 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.

Add the rest of the lentils to the chili and cook just long enough to heat the lentils all the way through. October2010 268

Do you add any unusual ingredients to your chili?

For more delicious recipes, visit Foodie Friday, Friday Potluck, Friday Food, Vegetarian Foodie Friday, Food on Fridays, and Fight Back Friday.



  1. Erin @ EKat's Kitchen says

    yum yum yum I love cauliflower and lentils… what a great looking dish!! Thanks for sharing in Friday Potluck this week. Hope you'll be back in the coming weeks!

  2. Christy says

    Alea – this is the most unusual chili I have ever seen and I can't wait to make it!! My kids will eat my lentil soup but somewhat begrudgingly, but with chili flavors – I think they will love it!!!

  3. Anonymous says

    I had been arguing with my close friend on this issue for quite a while, base on your ideas prove that I am right, let me show him your webpage then I am sure it must make him buy me a drink, lol, thanks.

    – Kris

  4. Miz Helen says

    I am so excited that you brought your wonderful Lentil and Cauliflower Chili over to the Texas Star Chili Cook Off. It looks really good, we are going to have so much fun.
    Thanks for coming over!

  5. vickie says

    So funny I'm making chili this morning it's a little cold here in MI. Never thought to use lentils or califlower though! What a neat chili -I'm defintly going to try lentils instead of beans.

  6. Elsa says

    This will make one healthy chili dog the next day! :)

    Sometimes I add a few Moroccan spices to my chili, and then a bit of sour cream. I love chili in the fall!

  7. Ann Kroeker says

    Sounds like a fun combination to try this fall, when we start craving soups, stews and chili. I like lentils and have wanted to move toward more vegetarian options.

  8. Bonnie says

    I love lentils and have been known to put them in my chili. I put them in a tomato base chili however. This looks so good…very comforting winter food. I'll add this recipe to my list.


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