Taco Chili {Gluten Free & Vegan Friendly}

Enjoy all the flavors of a tasty taco and the convenience of a bowl of chili!

Enjoy all the flavors of a tasty taco and the convenience of a bowl of chili!

Regular readers of the blog are probably starting to notice some trends in the food I make.  One, I like food with a Mexican flair, as evidenced by my taco casserole, quinoa enchilada soup, and lentil tacos.  Two, I favor meals that can be prepped in one pot and serve as a stand alone dish, like my bean and lentil chili and sweet potato and chickpea curry.  This week, I decided to combine these concepts: I give you taco chili.

Beans, lentils, and corn provide the base for this hearty chili

Beans, lentils, and corn provide the base for this hearty chili

Growing up, tacos were one of the first meals I knew how to cook on my own.  It included some basic culinary skills – browning meat, chopping vegetables, following a recipe – without being so challenging that I found it overwhelming.  Over time, though, I’ve wanted to elevate the dish a bit.  Classic tacos are still a favorite, but sometimes I want that flavor profile without dealing with the last minute, DIY aspect of dinner.  I just want to sit and eat while watching Jeopardy; I don’t want to have to construct my meal at the same time!  Plus, a one bowl dish makes leftovers infinitely easier.

Anyway, with all of these things in mind, I decided to make this taco chili.  Instead of measuring out a ton of individual spices, I just used pre-made taco seasoning.  I added it to the browning vegetables to really let the flavors bloom, then added the liquid so the lentils would cook.  It smelled amazing as it simmered away on my stove, and the final product did not disappoint.  This chili really tasted like the best parts of tacos, without the mess.  Although I had ground turkey in this, you could so easily just sub in extra lentils (that’s actually what my initial plan was, but I added the meat as a compromise with my husband).

Overall, we loved this meal.  Honestly, I’ve refused to Google “taco chili” because I want to believe that I invented this.  I mean, I’m quite confident that somebody smarter than me came up with this idea before, but let’s just go with the notion that I came up with this original, tasty, and satisfying twist on chili all on my own!

Taco Chili {Gluten Free & Vegan Friendly}

I had my chili with a cheese quesadilla, but a bowl of nacho chips would also be great, and add a satisfying crunch!

I had my chili with a cheese quesadilla, but a bowl of nacho chips would also be great, and add a satisfying crunch!

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 large jalapeno, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 – ¼ cup taco seasoning
  • ½ lb ground turkey (or substitute with additional ½ cup lentils)
  • ¾ cup dried lentils
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 can kidney beans (black beans would work very well, too, but I was out)
  • 1 ½ cups frozen corn, thawed
  • Cheese, Sour Cream, Avocado, Scallions, Tortilla Strips, etc for topping

Directions

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, sauté onion and jalapeno in olive oil. Once the onions are translucent, add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  2. Add taco seasoning and ground turkey, and brown.
  3. Stir in lentils, crushed tomatoes, and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 – 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are almost tender.
  4. Stir in beans and corn, and continue to simmer for an additional ten minutes.
  5. Serve hot, with typical taco toppings of choice.
Taco chili has all the flavors of tacos with all of the convenience of a one-pot dinner!  Gluten free and vegan friendly, on Quinoa & Cookies

Taco chili has all the flavors of tacos with all of the convenience of a one-pot dinner! Gluten free and vegan friendly, on Quinoa & Cookies

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