State Plate Recipe: Montana’s Lentil Chili

Fun Fact

Almost 40% of the lentils grown in the country come from Montana, making the state the top producer of lentils in America.

A Lentil Lesson

Lentils are a great source of fiber and much more.

Lentils provide:

  • More potassium than bananas
  • More iron than beef
  • More antioxidants than blueberries

A Legume of Many Colors

Lentils come in a variety of colors, and each one is unique in its flavor, texture and suitability for different recipes.

  • Red and Golden Lentils cook quickly and because they lose their shape in cooking, they’re perfect for sauces, thick soups and pureed in baked goods.
  • Green Lentils are larger and can be used in many recipes including soups, salads and pureed in baked items.
  • Padrina (Brown), Black Beluga and French Green Lentils are small and round. They keep their shape while cooking and do well added to soups and salads.

A Hearty Lentil Meal

State Plate Food Experts at Timeless Natural Food share this five-star rated lentil recipe created by “The Kitchen Guy,” Chef Jim Gray, who teaches people how to make restaurant-quality meals in their own home.

Chef Jim Gray’s Lentil Chili

Serves 4 – 6

Prep Time 20 minutes

Coot Time 40 minutes

  • 7 3/4 Cups Vegetable Broth, divided
  • 1 Medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tablespoons Mexican Chili powder, spicy or mild
  • 16 Ounces Green or Brown (Padrina) Lentils
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2/3 Cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. In a soup pot or Dutch oven, heat ¾ cup vegetable broth. Add diced red bell pepper, minced garlic and yellow onion and cook over medium heat until the vegetables have softened.
  2. Add the chili powder, the remainder (7 cups) of vegetable broth and the lentils. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes or until the lentils have softened.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and juice to the pot and continue cooking for about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in chopped cilantro before serving.



Want more lentils? Check out how to make a lentil salad below!


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