Meatless Mandays

As I discussed in this space last week, we’ve been trying to incorporate a number of meatless dishes into our weekly meal plan. Recently, Manwich asked me to come up with an original recipe using their products for their Case of the Mandays campaign to help promote family meal time, so I decided to see if I could create a Meatless Manday.

It was definitely a risk, as one does not typically associate a meatless dish with Manwich, but it definitely worked out great. Craving chili I went with my gut and decided to see how I could transform it into a meatless dish using Manwich Thick and Chunky as a base ingredient.

For the longest time I’ve been making my wife a curried lentil stew for her to take to work for lunch. And the first thing I did when learning to prepare meatless dishes was to expand my lentil repertoire, as they are hearty and chocked full of protein. So, working from lentils as a substitute for the standard ground beef, I set out to make what would become my lentil and kale chili.

It came out rich, hearty, and flavorful. I garnished the bowl of chili with some shredded cheddar cheese and some thinly sliced scallions to add both a different color to the plate and texture to the meal. Surprisingly, it was even a moderate hit with our children.

To encourage consumption by our two children under the age of five, I did tone down the level of spice in this chili to make it a little more family friendly.  So if your kids are older, or more accustomed to spicier fare, you’ll probably want to make some adjustments to suit your families’ taste.

Overall, this lentil and kale chili was a crowd pleaser and will become part of the regular rotation at our family dinner table. As if that wasn’t enough, there are three other reasons why this dish makes for a great weeknight meal:

First, it is a one pot deal, so clean up is a cinch. Even though I do the cooking while my wife does the cleaning, I do whatever I can to limit the mess I make. This way we have more time between dinner and the bath time struggle to spend together as a family.

Second, a single batch makes roughly eight to ten servings, so depending on how big your family is you can scale it to make more, or be ready with several meals in advance. You could have dinner for multiple nights already prepared, or, since it freezes well, have a single meal you can grab whenever you need a lunch in a pinch.

Finally, it was very economical. All of the ingredients to make a single batch cost me less than $15, or $1.88 per serving based on eight servings.

Manwich would like to help you get over your Case of the Mandays and get your family together at the dinner table. After the recipe below you can enter to win a Manwich Manday Survival Kit, which includes:

  • 1 Calphalon skillet ($80 value)
  • 4 Manwich bibs
  • 1 wooden spoon
  • 1 mini canister of handiwipes
  • $50 grocery gift card
  • Manwich product

This great prize pack is worth more than $150, so enter from now through March 25, 2013. And, for even more Manwich Mandays ideas, be sure to check out all the entries in the Case of the Mandays campaign.

Lentil and Kale Chili with Manwich


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 6oz can Hunt’s tomato paste
  • 2 cups brown lentils
  • 2 15oz cans Manwich Thick and Chunky
  • 1 10oz can Rotel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chiles
  • 4 cups veggie stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bunch kale, sliced into ribbons
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • scallions, thinly sliced (for garnish)
  • shredded cheddar cheese (for garnish)


  1. In a large saucepan or dutch oven heat the olive oil, then add the chopped onion and a pinch of salt and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until translucent
  2. Stir in the garlic, cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, then add the chopped green bell peppers
  3. Add the chili power, cumin, oregano, and paprika, then stir to coat the vegetables
  4. Mix in the tomato paste and cook for three or four minutes until the paste turns a deeper shade of red
  5. Add the lentils and stir to combine, then add the can of Rotel and both cans of Manwich
  6. Lightly season with salt and pepper, then cover the mixture with the vegetable stock and water and bring to a boil
  7. Once boiling reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the lentils are at the desired tenderness
  8. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary
  9. Ladle the chili out into a bowl, garnish with cheese and thinly sliced scallions, serve and enjoy

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Disclosure: I am a compensated Weeknight Meal Expert for Manwich. Also, I was provided Manwich products to develop my recipe, as well as a prize pack similar to the one being given away. The recipe, ideas and opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.

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PJ Mullen is a stay at home dad, husband, amateur chef, craft beer enthusiast, prolific air drummer and the Stig in a minivan. Currently in between blogs, PJ has been littering the Internet with his drivel since 2006 when he started a account and blogged about a home renovation project. That proved to be a gateway drug to self-hosting where he went on to blog about football, his life as a stay at home dad and his culinary adventures. While he chooses a new domain to sully, he can be found here at Digital Dads writing about food and craft beer. He was a member of the Bumble Bee Foods "Bee Squad" from 2011 to 2012, contributed to Man of the House, was a member of the Shared Tastes Panel at Ready Set Eat, has worked with several brands including Sony, RedEnvelope, Conair, Lands End and Baby Brezza, and won the 2010 Perdue Verifiably Good Video Contest.

12 Responses to “Meatless Mandays”

  1. Bert Says:

    Spaghetti is our favorite

  2. Trey S. Says:

    Tacos are my family’s favorite.

  3. carrian Says:

    Chili is such a great way to use manwich!

  4. Leidy Says:

    My family loves any dish that includes potatoes. Potato and chorizo tacos are the best breakfast ever according to my kids

  5. Kellie Wilson Says:

    Sloppy Joes and Fries

  6. Ellen Beck Says:

    Breakfast for dinner is an all time favorite here , so pancakes would have to be my answer!

  7. Laurajj Jacobson Says:

    Lasanga is my families favorite that I make!

  8. Amanda Sakovitz Says:

    My Mac and Cheese Casserole!

  9. Thomas Murphy Says:

    we like meatloaf

  10. Rebecca Shockley Says:


  11. Sonya Morris Says:

    BBQ chicken seems to be a family favorite here.

  12. Easy Family Meals~Manwich Mandays Roundup — Tickled Red Says:

    [...] Digital Dads: Lentil and Kale Chili [...]

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