Julia’s Greek Lentil Chili

"This is my grandmother Julia's chili recipe. She immigrated from Greece in the early 1920s and wanted to adapt to traditional American culture, but always seemed to put a bit of her Greek heritage into cooking. This chili is marvelous and one bowl is never enough. Good enough for a restaurant but easy for a home cook to make. Always makes me miss Grandma."

Prep Time

30 mins

Cook Time

2.5 hours

Paired With

Main Protein



Brown lentils 4 cups dried, 16 ounces, 6 tablespoons, 10 teaspoons, 1 medium, 1 large, 40 ounce can, rinsed, drained, 2 tablespoons, 1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 2 teaspoons, 3/4 teaspoon, 2 tablespoons, 2 tablespoons, 2 tablespoons, 1/4 teaspoon, 2 cartons 32 ounce each, as needed, for garnish, to accompany
canned stewed tomatoes
tomato paste
minced garlic
yellow onion
green bell pepper
dark red kidney beans
olive oil
smoked paprika
dried thyme
dried rosemary
black pepper
balsamic vinegar
red wine vinegar
white sugar
crushed red pepper flakes
vegetable stock
sour cream
tortilla chips


In a medium pot with lid, cook lentils in 6 cups of water and 1 tsp salt on simmer for about 30 minutes with lid 1/2 on. Take off heat and drain when tender. In another large sauce pot, add olive oil and all spices along with finely chopped onion and green pepper. Fry on medium for about 5 minutes until translucent and fragrant. Can add a splash of water if it begins to get dry. Add in stewed tomatoes, kidney beans, garlic, tomato paste, lentils, and both cartons of vegetable broth. Bring up to boil, cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Lower heat to medium/low and add lentils and sugar. Cook for 2 hours with lid off, check frequently, stir. Add water if needed according to taste and desired thickness. Add vinegar during last 5 minutes of heating. Serve piping hot with a dollop of sour cream and a drizzle of olive oil if desired. Make sure to have tortilla chips on the side as well. Enjoy!