Alina's Healthy Lentil "Coneys"

A "coney" is a Cincinnati-favorite. It's a hot dog piled high with heart-stopping chili, breath-mangling onions, and enough cheddar cheese that it only sort of melts. Check out this coney glamour shot from serious eats (and check out the link if you're curious to learn more-- such as what the differences between the Cincinnati and the Detroit brands of coney are):
This week my mission is to create a healthy dish that takes its influence from the iconic Cincinnati coney.

I know, I know. Two words that should never go together in a sentence include "coney" and "healthy." After all, the quintessential Cincinnati junk food is about as far from health food as you can get. When I was in college at Miami University (OH), I ate a disgusting amount of this Cincinnati favorite. I am fully aware that I might be putting my reputation as a foodie on the line here.... but I love them.

Today I was thinking about chili (a favorite in our house) and had a moment of inspiration. Why not make a healthy dish that pulls inspiration from the uber-unhealthy coney dog? Thus, the lentil "coney" was born.

My chili is a slightly modified version of this recipe from My Recipes, and the lentils are a variant of this vegan sausage recipe from Terra Bakery.

Gather your ingredients:

Total time: 30 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

Lentil Ingredients:
  • About 1 cup of lentils, uncooked
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
Chili ingredients:
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 -14 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 -14 ounce can of chickpeas
  • 1 -14 ounce can of black beans
  • 1 -14 ounce can of kidney beans
  • 1 -14 ounce can of white beans, such as cannelloni beans
  • 1 -6 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese, freshly grated (use more or less depending on how healthy you want your dish)
The idea is to make the lentils take on a meaty quality because they are seasoned in a way that is reminiscent of a sausage or hot dog.

Boil enough water to cover the lentils, and then add the lentils to the boiling water. Add the remainder of the lentil ingredients, stir, and then let cook for the time indicated on the lentil package (about 20 minutes).
Meanwhile, in a medium to large saucepan saute the onion and garlic for the chili for several minutes until the onion is translucent.
Add the remaining eight ingredients to the pan (everything except the cheese). Bring it to a simmer and allow it to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Once you first start cooking it, the consistency will be very runny, like this:
The goal is to cook the chili down a little so it isn't quite so soupy.

When the chili is done, dish the lentils onto a plate, leaving a nice bowl-shaped indentation in the middle. Fill the "bowl" with chili. Shred the cheese on top of the plate.

And then drool. And thank Cincinnati for this wonderful creation (and thank me for crafting a healthier variant available to you in lentil form).
Adam's taste rating: 4 ladles
Alina's taste rating: 4 ladles
Healthy rating: 4 ladles
Ease of prep rating: 4 ladles
Overall average: 4 ladles


lea said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Glad you enjoyed the "sausage" recipe! It looks delicious.

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