Pumpkin Chipotle Lentils

Chipotles are a flavor powerhouse.   They add tremendous depth and a heady smokiness to a plethora of dishes.  Chipotles are simply dried, smoked jalapeño chiles.  They are found either completely dried or tinned and packed in a vinegar-based liquid called adobo.  I usually choose the latter for my cooking. Once you open a can of  chipotles in adobo, remove them and place them in an airtight storage container.  They will keep in the fridge for several months.

While the chipotles are the star of this dish, there are other taste sensations to experience.  For example,when scooping out the pumpkin, don’t forget about the pumpkin seeds, they shouldn’t go to waste.  Separate them from the pumpkin flesh, wash and dry them and then shallow fry them in a bit of oil.  Dust them with some chili powder as they fry and use them as a garnish.  Don’t forget to lightly salt them as soon as you remove them from the oil.

I used red lentils for this recipe because I was trying to recreate the texture commonly found in Indian dhals.  The lentils are cooked until they almost dissolve into the liquid creating a runny soup.

Another crucial flavor in these lentils is the sweetness of the slowly cooked caramelized onions.  To get the best flavor,  resist the urge to stir the onions.  They will develop deeper caramelization and stronger flavor if they are left to their own devices.

Pumpkin Chipotle Lentils
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 small pumpkin weighing about 2 lbs/1 kg, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups/300g red lentils
  • 2-3 allspice berries
  • 1 -2 chipotles in adobo, deseeded and thinly sliced.
  1. Coat the bottom of a pot with oil, add onions. Cover and allow onions to caramelize for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Once the onions have developed a golden brown color, add the allspice berries, and chipotles. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add 6 cups (1.5L) of water and bring to a boil. When water starts boiling, add pumpkin. Lower heat and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Add lentils and cook for 15 minutes more until lentils are very soft and liquid is thickened.
  5. Salt to taste and garnish with pumpkin seeds.


Pumpkin Chipotle Lentils

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