One 15-ounce can navy beans or another small white bean (do not drain)
1 cup dried brown lentils
1 dried bay leaf
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Shredded reduced-fat Cheddar, plain yogurt, pickled jalapenos and crushed tortilla chips, for serving (all are optional)
In a sizable pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil to shimmering condition. Add the garlic, onion, bell pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 6 minutes or until veggies are barely soft and lightly browned in spots. Then continue to heat, stirring often, for approximately 2 minutes, or until the mixture is aromatic and brick-red in color. Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, oregano, and cumin.
Add the vegetable broth, chopped tomatoes, lentils, bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of black pepper after combining the ingredients. Heat up till it simmers steadily, then lower the heat to medium-low. Stirring occasionally, gently simmer for 35 to 45 minutes or until the lentils are cooked through and the chili has slightly thickened.
After removing the bay leaf, add the vinegar and whisk. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Pour into bowls and top with chosen garnishes.