Red Lentil Kabocha Chili [vegan]

When it comes to seasonal cravings it’s no secret that I’m a little off at times. Ice cream in autumn? Stews in summer? Judging just from the dishes themselves I’m no good example for eating seasonally – or so it seems. Once more a blog isn’t telling the whole story :). Because what’s true is that the ingredients I use in those apparently off-season dishes are in season.


Right now, however, is the perfect season for comfort foods like chili. Kabocha was a no-brainer when it came to which vegetables to add to the recipe. Until now I’d only thought of seasonal cravings in terms of produce. Berries in summer, squash in autumn … Not, however, in terms of staple foods that are available all year.

Kabocha Red Lentil Stew

Ever since becoming [mostly] vegan I’ve been a huge legume fiend. In fact, there’s hardly a day I go without these little nutritional powerhouses [yes, I admit I just had to include this term]. Yet – as mentioned in my post on Wednesday already – there are kinds I keep forgetting about. Namely red lentils. And that’s where it gets seasonal again: To me, lentils are much of an autumn/winter food though I’d never given more thought to this.

Reminiscing my childhood it’s no surprise: hearty lentil soups or stews were an staple dish during those colder months. They’re the stick-to-your-ribs warming kind of meal perfect for this time of the year. Needless to say this Red Lentil Chili hit the spot both the first time I had it and even more when my mum came for a visit – it was cold.

Red Lentil Kabocha Chili

  • one small red onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 150 g kabocha, cubed [seasonal eating-friendly sub: carrots]
  • 1/4 cup red lentils
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds [don’t sub ground unless you absolutely have to]
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • about 1-1 1/2 cups of water or vegetable broth [depends on several factors like how old your lentils were, how long you let the chili simmer, …]
  • 2-3 tablespoons of kidney beans
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp coconut butter
  1. Sauté the onion in oil until translucent. Add garlic and fry for another minute.
  2. Add the spices and fry them for a minute or so being careful not to burn them!
  3. Mix in kabocha and lentils, stirring to combine all ingredients. You might need to add some water to prevent the spices from burning.
  4. Pour in the passata and let simmer for about 25-30 minutes. I kept adding water/broth whenever the stew became too thick.
  5. Once the red lentils are tender, mix in the kidney beans and let simmer for a few more minutes to heat them up, too. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Stir in the coconut butter.


With kabocha season being short [at least over here] I already tried the option of carrots in its place – works a charm.

The coconut butter is not optional because it adds so much to the dish. In fact, my mum and I kept crumbling more of it over our individual servings. Dare I say I might have converted my mum to become a little more of a nut butter fiend?!

And: Like just about everything this tastes amazing topped with almond butter. Coconut and almond butter in one meal? Marvelous!

Kabocha Lentil

I’ll admit I was a little anxious serving this to my mum as she’s not exactly easy to please and assured me she had a sandwich packed when coming over [sweet, isn’t she?]. But in the end we both enjoyed the meal and I can proudly present my first mum-approved recipe on the blog. Time to celebrate – and joining Kierston’s Recipe Friday seems like a great party to attend.

Happy Friday!

Happiness inducing today: Talking to a good friend.

Which  foods do you find yourself craving more during the colder months?

What are some of your favourite lentil recipes?

Are you anxious when serving recipes your created yourself to your family and friends?

18 thoughts on “Red Lentil Kabocha Chili [vegan]

  1. Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli says:

    Yes, yes, YES!!! Totally making this, love! Just need to get my hands on some red lentils…unless you think regular ones would be find to use? I’m not really sure of the difference since I’m new to the whole lentil thing! And omg, with the coconut butter?! Brilliant! So glad your mom liked this dish…I know I’m always super nervous when cooking for my family since they don’t all share my love of healthy dishes. Last year I was SO excited about a dish I made for Thanksgiving and then I ended up being the only one to eat it! Womp womp! 😦

    I definitely crave ice cream more in the winter…and oatmeal in the summer! I’m a little weird…but you already know that…and love me for it! 😀 Hope you’re having a great weekend sweets! xoxo

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      You know how much of a substitution fan I am but I would really use red lentils only here. For their texture, taste and cooking time.
      Don’t feel bad about the Thanksgiving family food fail. I’ve had countless incidents of this before – especially when it came to dessert. My family is just waaay too picky. And we’re talking a refusal to try bread pudding/sticky toffee pudding here!

      Well, yes, you know I ❤ you so I guess I can't add anything more to that :).
      Hope your weekend's marvelous!

  2. Sue says:

    Mum-approved? I love that! Sadly, my mum wouldn’t eat this dish. More for myself, I say!
    This looks so delicious! I even have most the ingredients at home right now, but I’d have to use carrots instead of kabocha.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s