New This Month

False Alarm Vegetable Chili


This is one of Joe Bonanno's most popular firehouse dishes. Choose a chili powder that suits your taste for heat. Leave the pot uncovered during simmering to allow excess water to evaporate and the chili to thicken.

  • Servings: 10

Source: Martha Stewart Living, April 1999


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large carrot, chopped medium
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced, or 1/4 cup drained canned chopped green chiles
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, green and red peppers, carrot, jalapeno pepper, and garlic. Cook until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in 7 cups water, lentils, tomato paste, kidney beans, and pinto beans. Stir to blend, adding stewed tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, and crushed red-pepper flakes.

  2. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, about 45 minutes. If the chili starts to dry out, add hot water as needed. Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Reviews Add a comment

  • Mary Frances
    24 FEB, 2015
    This recipe is terrific - full of flavour and very "meaty" tasting (thanks to the lentils, I think) and satisfied our whole family. Great for those trying to eat less meat, but don't want to compromise on taste!
  • queenzookie
    15 MAR, 2013
    Martha says to leave the pot UNCOVERED during simmering, but the recipe says to COVER it. Confusing. I wasn't particularly impressed with this recipe. The lentils took longer than 45 minutes to cook, maybe because the tomatoes were added at the same as the lentils. Don't acidic ingredients like tomatoes prevent legumes from softening? If I were to make again, I'd make it spicier (leave in jalapeno seeds and/or use more cayenne, increase the garlic, and use only half the amount of lentils.
  • momofthreegirlsRI
    18 FEB, 2013
    I made this last night and this is another easy recipe and very flavorful. I added black beans when I made it. This was a big hit.
  • Alyssa Moore
    17 FEB, 2013
    Delicious-- great flavors, and the lentils make this a really hearty vegetarian option. Super easy to put together and the flavors really come together after simmering for about an hour. I'll definitely be making this again!
  • janetvaldez
    10 AUG, 2008
    i think this may be a great idea for a cold winter day, because ti is a very warm meal.