Looking for a super tasty, crowd-pleasing dinner option? Lentil Chili with incredible bold flavors coming right up! This lentil chili recipe is a hearty and healthy plant-based chili filled with lentils, beans, tomatoes, and plenty of delicious spices! An easy one pot dinner option that the whole family will love!

In my opinion, you can never go wrong with a warm and comforting chili dinner, especially this time of year. Whether it’s a loaded vegan chili or a slow cooker chili, it’s always a hit in my house. This lentil chili is our new favorite – it’s full of flavor, color and texture and is a total winner.

I love to incorporate lentils into my recipes when possible. Lentils are packed with nutrition, inexpensive and loaded with plant-based protein. A veggie packed lentil chili is such a great way to enjoy lentils, the addition of cocoa really makes this one special! Trust me!

Ingredients for lentil chili:

This recipe is full of healthy, nourishing ingredients and flavorful spices that make this lentil chili absolutely delicious! Here’s the key ingredients:

  • Onion + garlic. Adds delicious savory flavor to the chili.
  • Vegetable broth. Use more or less veggie broth, depending on how thick you like your chili.
  • Lentils. I recommend using brown or green lentils for this recipe. If you’d like to use red lentils, just know that the chili will not need to cook as long. I haven’t tried this recipe with split red lentils, but my guess is that it would only need to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Tomato sauce. I love the way the tomato sauce combines with the broth to make this chili extra hearty.
  • Tomatoes. Use regular diced tomatoes or fire roasted tomatoes for so much delicious flavor!
  • Beans. The recipe calls for black and kidney beans, but feel free to use any beans you’d like. Pinto beans or chili beans would also work great.
  • Cocoa powder. My secret ingredient! It gives this chili such a wonderful depth of flavor!
  • Seasonings. Chili powder, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper create the perfect blend of flavors. If you’re sensitive to spice, feel free to omit the cayenne pepper.

Don’t forget the toppings! I love serving this easy lentil chili with tortilla chips, shredded cheese, diced red onion, cilantro and a dollop of dairy-free sour cream or greek yogurt. Feel free to use any favorite toppings that you’re craving.

stirring lentil chili in a large pot with a wooden spoon

How to make lentil chili:

Making this cozy lentil chili is such a breeze! I love that everything is cooked in one pot and the only chopping you have to do is for the onion and garlic. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s involved, but you can find the complete recipe at the bottom of the post.

  • Start this chili recipe by heating oil in a large pot and sautéing onion + garlic.
  • Stir in broth, lentils, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, kidney and black beans. 
making lentil chili in one large pot
  • Add in cocoa powder, salt + pepper, chili powder, oregano, and cayenne and stir to incorporate all of the ingredients.
  • Simmer the chili covered for 25 minutes and until lentils are tender and chili is thick. Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
stirring chili in a pot with a wooden spoon

Is lentil chili good for you?

This plant-based chili is GREAT for you! It’s packed with nourishing, healthy ingredients like lentils, beans, and tomatoes that contain numerous health benefits.

It’s also low in calories and fat, but high in protein and fiber, which makes it perfect for satisfying lunches and dinners. 

Here are some of the health benefits of this chili and its ingredients:

  • High in Fiber, Vitamins, and Minerals. lentils, onions, tomatoes, beans
  • Rich in Antioxidants. onions, garlic, tomatoes, beans
  • Packed with Protein. lentils, beans, add even more protein by topping your chili with Greek yogurt
vegetarian chili served in a bowl with a spoon

Storing lentil chili:

This lentil chili recipe is perfect for meal prep or as a make ahead meal, and reheats very well. In fact, I think it’s even tastier the next day!

Leftovers. Like other chili recipes, lentil chili can be stored in an airtight container and kept in your fridge for up to about 5 days. To reheat it, you can pop it in the microwave or you can rewarm it on the stovetop.

Freezing. This lentil chili freezes beautifully! Once it’s completely cooled, place it in freezer-safe containers or resealable gallon-sized freezer bags. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. To thaw, transfer the chili to the fridge and store overnight. When ready to serve, reheat it on medium heat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

lentil and bean chili topped with cheese, cilantro and sour cream

More Vegan Chili Recipes to try:

As usual, PLEASE let me know if you make this lentil chili and how you like it! You can come back here and leave a comment or tag me on instagram (@foodwithfeeling).

See how to make this Lentil Chili Recipe:

Print
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lentil chili topped with cheese, sour cream and fresh cilantro

Lentil Chili


  • Author: Brita Britnell
  • Total Time: 37 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Looking for a super tasty, crowd-pleasing dinner option? Lentil Chili with incredible bold flavors coming right up! This lentil chili recipe is a hearty and healthy plant-based chili filled with lentils, beans, tomatoes, and plenty of delicious spices! An easy one pot dinner option that the whole family will love!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth (plus more as desired)
  • 1 cup of uncooked lentils
  • 1 15 ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed*
  • 1 tablespoon baking cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of salt and more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add in the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes.
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients: broth, lentils, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, kidney and black beans, cocoa powder, salt + pepper, chili powder, oregano, and cayenne. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, COVER, and cook until the lentil are soft and ready to eat, 25- 30 minutes.
  3. Once lentils are ready, add additional liquid as desired. I prefer this chili on the thicker side but feel free to add additional veggie broth if you want it a little more soupy.
  4. Remove from heat, serve with your favorite toppings and ENJOY!

Notes

Beans: I used a can of black beans and a can of kidney beans but really you can use 2 (15oz) cans of whatever beans you’d prefer.

Lentils: I recommend using brown or green lentils for this recipe. If you’d like to use red lentils, just know that it will not need to cook as long. I haven’t tried this recipe with split red lentils but my guess is that it would only need to simmer for about 10 minutes.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 32 minutes
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: lentils, chili, vegan