1-Pot Red Lentil Chili

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Bowls of our hearty protein-packed vegan Lentil and Black Bean Chili recipe

Sometimes inspiration comes from the most unexpected places.

I posted this picture on Instagram a few weeks ago (for my Red Lentil Curry), and someone asked if it was red lentil chili. “No, but GOOD IDEA,” I replied.

The rest is history. I couldn’t shake the thought from my mind.

Sautéing red bell pepper and onions in a large soup pot for 1-pot vegan chili

Origins of Chili

While many think chili is a dish that was created in Mexico, apparently that’s not where it originatedWho knew?

However, one ingredient central to chili – chilies – first originated in Central or South America. They were then grown in Mexico and became an important ingredient in Mexican cuisine. So we get the confusion!

The exact origin of the dish chili isn’t clear, but most historians trace its roots to San Antonio, Texas. You can take a deeper dive into the history of chili here.

About This Red Lentil Chili

This chili comes just in time for these last few wintry days before spring arrives (at least here in the Pacific Northwest).

It’s simple, requiring just 1 pot, basic ingredients, and comes together in less than 1 hour.

Mortar and pestle with sliced jalapenos for making our healthy chili recipe

I’ve been inspired by some Indian cooking methods I’ve been researching lately involving a mortar and pestle. Instead of just mincing or chopping your vegetables, spices, and herbs, you grind them together so their flavor is more intense and more evenly distributed throughout the dish.

Of course, if you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can use a small food processor or just finely mince. I just love this method, and now that I’ve discovered it, I can’t stop!

Big pot of our gluten-free vegan Lentil and Black Bean Chili recipe

In addition to red lentils – which are full of fiber, protein, folate, and magnesium (just to name a few) – I also included black beans (another great source of folate and fiber) and kidney beans (which are especially high in iron and vitamin B1).

This isn’t one of those soup-like chilis that’s mostly tomatoes. This is chock full of lentils, beans, and corn, and is thick and stew-like in texture – my favorite.

Two bowls of our Lentil and Black Bean Chili for a protein- and fiber-packed vegan meal

I hope you love this chili! It’s:

Not too spicy
& Simple

Make this dish for a crowd, as it’s especially great for hosting. Or make a batch over the weekend and enjoy it for lunch throughout the week.

If you try this recipe, let us know! It helps us and other readers so much. Leave a comment it, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see your creations. Cheers, friends!

Bowl of our hearty, filling Red Lentil and Black Bean Chili topped with jalapenos

1-Pot Red Lentil Chili

Hearty red lentil chili made in 1 pot with simple ingredients! A smoky, flavorful, protein- and fiber-rich plant-based meal perfect for cold nights and feeding a crowd.
Author Minimalist Baker
Big bowls of Red Lentil Chili garnished with sliced jalapeno, cilantro, and red onion
4.89 from 372 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6
Course Entree
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 4 Days


  • 2 Tbsp avocado or coconut oil
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 tsp each sea salt and black pepper (divided // plus more to taste)
  • 1 small jalapeño, diced with seeds (remove seeds or reduce or omit for less heat)
  • 4 cloves garlic (4 cloves yield ~2 Tbsp)
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder blend (divided // NOT chili flakes, cayenne pepper, or pure chili)
  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin (divided)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes (if unsalted, add more sea salt)
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 ¾ cup water (plus more as needed)
  • 3/4 cup dry red lentils thoroughly rinsed in cold water + drained
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans (slightly drained)
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans (slightly drained)
  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut sugar (or maple syrup)
  • 1 15-ounce can corn, drained (optional)

FOR SERVING optional


  • Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, onion, and red pepper. Season with a healthy pinch each salt and pepper and stir. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add jalapeño and garlic to a mortar and pestle and crush into a rough paste (alternatively, blend in a small food processor, or finely mince). Add to the pot with onion and red pepper, and season with another pinch salt and pepper.
  • Add 2/3 of the chili powder (2 Tbsp as original recipe is written), half of the cumin (1 Tbsp as original recipe is written), paprika, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and water, and stir to combine. Bring to a low boil over medium high heat.
  • Once boiling, add lentils and reduce heat to medium-low or low, so it’s at a gentle simmer. You want to see bubbles, but you don’t want it boiling. Cook for 15 minutes, or until lentils are mostly tender. As it’s cooking you may need to add more water if the mixture is looking too dry and the lentils aren’t submerged (I didn’t find that necessary).
  • Next add kidney beans, black beans, 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper, and remaining cumin (1 Tbsp as original recipe is written) and chili powder (1 Tbsp as original recipe is written), and stir to combine.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat slightly to low (or medium-low), add corn (optional), cover, and gently simmer for 20 minutes to meld the flavors together. Stir occasionally.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more chili powder or cumin for smokiness, salt for saltiness, or a little coconut sugar to balance the heat and draw out the other flavors.
  • Serve as is, or garnished with chili cheese fritos, fresh jalapeño, cilantro, red onion, and/or avocado (optional).
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to 4 days, and in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat on the stovetop, or in the microwave.



*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 320 Carbohydrates: 52.4 g Protein: 15.9 g Fat: 6.8 g Saturated Fat: 0.7 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 427 mg Fiber: 18.9 g Sugar: 10 g

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  1. Todd says

    I made this for my guys at work and doubled the recipe. Everyone loved it although skeptical when I told them it was vegan. So happy to have made this. Used 1 Serrano pepper and it was the perfect heat for the doubled recipe. Thank you so much !

  2. Cindy H says

    This is the first recipe I tried and I love it! I am not much of a cook and am just starting out. The recipe was easy to follow and I was able to create something that tasted great. LOL I omitted the jalapenos as I am unable to eat spicy foods. The flavors were just enough for me. I wonder how using smoked paprika will change the flavors the next time I make this. Thank you for the recipe.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad it was easy to follow and you enjoyed the result, Cindy! We find smoked paprika adds a bit of smokiness/richness. Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  3. Sarah says

    Made this tonight with some modifications for dietary restrictions (no onions, garlic or jalapeños) and it was still super tasty! Swapped kidney and black beans for white beans (what we had in the house), and used broth instead of water. Kiddo was a big fan, which is always 50/50. Will definitely make again.

  4. Ellen says

    Incredibly good! I followed the recipe to the letter including making the chili powder mix. It will now be a staple in our household. I love that I can make a big batch – have kids living away from home and this is just the thing to send over for a home cooked treat. Thanks for this and all the other recipes.

  5. Tessa says

    I have dry black beans and dry kidney beans. Should I cook them ahead of time and sub for the canned beans or can I cook them along with the lentils.

  6. filo says

    This recipe for chili is amazing! I highly recommend this to EVERYONE! Some things I modified were the dice tomatoes, I used a can of smoked diced tomatoes and a can of orginal rotel diced tomatoes with green chilis! I also added about 1/2 a tsp of cayenne pepper. So the green chilis and the cayenne pepper didn’t make it too spicy. Quite enjoyable! Once again this is definitely a recipe I will remember!

  7. Kazuyal kazzy says

    Trying this out right now. Only changes that I am making is not adding all that salt, (On a sodium restricted diet and that is a lot of salt to add!!) Also, in the process of making the beans fresh. I don’t use canned food if possible. Other than that, can’t wait until it’s done!! Looks and sounds yummy!

      • Kazuyal kazzy says

        It is very yummy! There were a couple of things we didn’t add due to not having them. We did add some parm cheese to it, had to thicken it up a bit and that really added a lot to it!! So making this one again! My first time making chili too!

  8. Lauren says

    This stuff is SO GOOD!! I ended up using 2 Tbsp of chili powder and completely left out the sugar/syrup and it still was delicious!! I also followed what another review said and used half red and half green lentils and it worked well. Cant wait to make this again!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Lauren! Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

  9. Jean says

    Waaaaay too spicy. Having been a major MB fan for years, I decided to follow this recipe exactly (which is something that I never do with most recipes). I could barely eat it and had to dump loads of sugar in (which no one wants to do) and add yoghurt in order for it to be palatable. I put so much love into this pot of goodness. I was really disappointed. A spice warning would be helpful for us wimps.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Oh no! We’re so sorry that was your experience, Jean! What brand of chili powder were you using? This should be more smoky and just mildly spicy.

      • Lesley says

        I bet she used cayenne! 🔥 or not…
        Chili powder is hardly spicy and you did suggest removing the seeds from the jalapeño if they don’t want the heat.

  10. Shawna Stone says

    Hi! We love this recipe but have a newly T1D diagnosis in our household. It is very important we count the carbs in each meal/serving. Can you please advise how much 1 serving is, 1 cup, 2 cups, etc.?

    We love your recipes because we also have a non-diary vegetarian in the household. Would love to see the recipes mention the actual serving sizes so we can continue to use your wonderful site. Thanks again!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Shawna, we’re so glad you enjoy our recipes! We’ll keep that in mind moving forward. We don’t have a specific cups measurement for this one, unfortunately! The nutrition information is for 1/6 of the full batch. One idea would be to measure out the amount when you make it and input into a nutrition software such as cronometer. Hope that helps!

  11. Lorie says

    Made this today and used only 1 tbsp of the spice blend. It tasted delicious but sadly the red lentils are still not cooked…would suggest cooking lentils ahead of time.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Oh no! So sorry your lentils didn’t cook all the way, Lorie. Did you make any other modifications? We’re here to help trouble-shoot if you’d like! Thanks for the review!

  12. Hannah says

    Hi! Could vegetable broth be substituted for the water? If so, would the amount needed be the same or would it most likely vary? I have a few other chili recipes I use broth for, but using water is a new method I’ve heard! Can I ask why water instead of broth? Thanks! xx

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yes, just start with slightly less salt to compensate! We used water because some brands of veggie broth have a stronger flavor that can distract from the chili taste. Also, with water you don’t have to worry about how to use up the rest of the veggie broth before it goes bad =)

  13. lauren says

    this chili will warm your heart AND soul.

    i made a few changes. i chose to not add the peppers or jalapeño, but did half green lentils and half red. i thought the green lentils added a nice texture, since the red sorta become a little mushy.

    11/10, absolutely perfect!

  14. Julia says

    Could this be adapted for the Instant Pot? With the higher temps here in the upper Midwest, I’m trying not to heat up the kitchen, but really want to make this!

  15. Vivian says

    What do you mean by “Divided” “Chili Powder BLEND” ? Could you clarify whether this is a blend or chili powder only? Is there a packaged brand you would recommend if we are not making our own? Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Vivian, sorry for any confusion! Divided means that it is used in more than one step (steps 3 and 5). This allows it to season in multiple layers for best flavor. If that’s confusing though, you can add it all in step 3. We do mean a chili powder blend. We like Simply Organic brand.

  16. Val Aus says

    I’ve been counting calories, and trying to cut back on my meat. Came across this recipe I’ve made it numerous times now. I love it. I can’t tell you how much I love it. It leaves me full. It tastes delicious. It’s easy and quick to make. What more could I ask for? Thank you!!!!

  17. Tasha says

    I used brown lentils, no corn, and added maybe 2 tsp apple cider vinegar to add some brightness. We like it hot so I threw 2 habaneros and 2 jalapenos in with the garlic. It’s tasty and perfectly thick, not soupy.

  18. Amber says

    I didn’t follow the recipe exactly but close enough I know it’s a wonderful recipe. Thanks me and my family loved this!

      • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

        Hi Kari, we haven’t tried it in a crockpot, but think you could sauté the veggies first, then add everything to the slow cooker for 6-8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. Let us know if you try it!

  19. Nick N says

    I made this and improvised a little, adding a few Tbs of cocoa powder to the spice mix, and subbing in some chipotle powder for some of the chili powder. I also added a 12oz pack of soy mince at same time as lentils, I subbed veggie chicken broth for half the water and added garbanzo beans to round it out… yum!

  20. Jack Beaumont says


    Great recipe!!! loved it.
    Only thing Id say is, I think the tbs of chilli powder was supposed to be tsp? alittle strong on the chilli needed to dilute it abit longer.


    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Jack! We like the recipe with the full amount of chili powder, but you can always adjust to your taste. We’re glad you enjoyed the chili!

      • Daurelle says

        Dear support, You said you like the recipe with 1 Tbsp chili powder, but the recipe states to put 3 Tblsp of chili powder in! I was afraid to put that much in. I think 1 Tblsp would be about right (like you said) — so perhaps you should change the recipe online to match your reply?

        Anyway — keep the recipes coming! Love ’em!

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi Daurelle, sorry for the confusion! The comment was an error. We like the full 3 Tbsp, but you can start with less if you prefer.

  21. Jackie Baratta says

    I just made a double batch of this chili so that I could put some aside in the freezer for our new baby next month. It was incredible! My three young kiddos are gobbling it down at this very moment and giving it rave reviews! I don’t know if any will make it to the freezer….

    I didn’t have red pepper so I diced a few carrots and added those. We also used jarred jalapenos because that’s what we had. I omitted the tomato paste also because we didn’t have any of that on hand. We simply topped this with some sliced avocado, but would love to also add cashew cream next time! This is by far my favorite chili. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you and your family are enjoying it, Jackie! Thank you so much for sharing and all the best to you with the new babe! xo

  22. Kianna Scott says

    This is a recipe I have printed and added to into my “favorites” recipe book. So good! And healthy! I love it and can’t wait to dive into more of your recipes!

    -Kianna Scott

  23. Aurora says

    This is our go to chili recipe and has been for years, I felt like I should finally write a review! We make this in the slow cooker, adding everything in at once and omitting the oil. Absolutely delicious and flavorful, and suuuuper easy. We usually put everything in the slow cooker first thing in the morning, leave it on low and it is ready by dinner! The only thing that seems to vary is how much salt we add, so I would just advise tasting and using your best judgement. I think it just changes because we’ve used different brands of the canned items.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, yay! We’re so glad you enjoy this recipe, Aurora. Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  24. Eric says

    I make this all the time. love this recipe for meal prep. With the rice and cheese I can make 5 servings of about 600 calories a plate. I recommend making the recipe as listed and adjust things to your taste :)

    I have changed up the recipe to make it easier to make and fit my tastes more. I use diced jalapeño in jar, jarred garlic or garlic powder, normal lentils, no salt added tomatoes, white onion, green pepper. I put rice on the side and shredded sharp cheddar on top. I do not add salt to it for my diet and also don’t add any sweetener.

  25. Alisha says

    I use this recipe for backpacking meals! It dehydrates really well and it’s so amazing after a long day of hiking in the mountains. I make a few tweaks: I add smoked jackfruit and barbeque sauce, and I leave out the oil so it dehydrates better then add oil while cooking on trail.

    • Desiree says

      I made a triple batch of this FANTASTIC vegan chili for the first time to bring to a baby shower. I might have been crazy to do that, but I loved the list of ingredients and knew it was going to be good. Phew! Called that one correctly! The guests all gave rave reviews (none of whom are vegan, I was the only one) and they didn’t miss the meat! Everyone said an emphatic yes when I asked if they wanted to take some home, but I ended up with plenty of leftovers for myself. After sitting in the fridge overnight, the flavors blended even more, so it was off-the-charts yummy the next day reheated.
      Suggestions? I have a few minor ones to share:
      1) Make it a day in advance of when you plan to eat it. It goes from great to spectacular when it reheated the next day
      2) Take the extra few minutes to make the recipe for Chili Powder Blend (link to the recipe is right in the chili recipe).
      It made for a wonderful combination of flavors that complimented the chili perfectly
      3) Double or triple the recipe so you can add 2 or 3 different kinds of kidney beans. I used dark red, light red, and cannellini (white) kidney beans.
      4) Next time I make this recipe, I’m going to try brown (or even black) lentils instead, much as I truly love red lentils. The red lentils pretty much disintegrated into the chili, so I think the brown or black ones will hold their shape and add a meaty texture.

  26. Michelle says

    My husband and I both enjoyed this chili. I did not add the corn, but that would have been tasty as well. I also did not add the coconut sugar. The store did not carry the red lentils, so I used black lentils instead. I could have used a bit more salt for saltiness. I would definitely make this again!

  27. Bernadette MacNeil says

    First time making a vegan chili and LOVE this recipe, it makes a lot and is great for my weight loss diet, make this all the time!

  28. Susan says

    All I have are dry beans. I know I have to soak them but what about quantity conversation, and cooking times? Sorry, I’m now to bean cooking, and meatless diet.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Susan, we’d suggest cooking the beans separately first because they will probably have trouble softening due to the acidity of the tomatoes. You can find our recipes for stovetop black beans here, Instant Pot black beans here, and Instant Pot kidney beans here.

  29. Meagan says

    I tried this recipe last night in my instant pot, and it didn’t work at all. I followed the recommendations of other comments to increase the water (I added 2 cups more) and set at high for 7 minutes. I got 3 burn notices, and finally gave up because it was 9pm and we were hungry. I transferred it to the stove and cooked it all together for 20 minutes.
    The final result was really good, definitely something I would make again. But I’ll just stick to the stove directions until an official recipe for instant pot comes out.
    We topped it with cheese, sour cream, lime juice, cilantro, and ate it with warm naan bread.

  30. Mary N says

    I am thoroughly impressed with this recipe! Some tweaks that I made:

    1.) Tomato soup instead of paste (it’s what I had on hand).
    2.) Frozen corn and canned (again, what I had on hand).
    3.) Deseeded 1 jalapeno (large) and kept the seeds of other jalapeno (med) – only used 2 when I tripled the recipe in all other aspects.
    4.) Used prepackaged “jambalaya” mix of red lentils with rice and various dehydrated vegetables, so I ALSO added a ton of water instead of reducing the tomato soup.
    5.) Diced up fresh tomatoes as well as used canned (again, what I already had on hand)

    This was truly a delightful experience! I’m anemic, so I need a lot of iron in my diet. I have been searching for the perfectly DELICIOUS way to eat a ton of lentils to achieve that goal and am SO happy to have found this recipe which will help me use up the old cans in my pantry as well! 10/10!!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Mary! Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications!

  31. Ingrid says

    Love this recipe. This time I added a green pepper as well as the red pepper. I’m not a vegetarian but haven’t made chili with meat since I found this recipe. Great flavour, texture and a nice amount of heat.

  32. Dori says

    I’m so happy I found this recipe and this cite. This chili is delicious! The only change I made was using frozen corn for the optional canned corn. I can’t wait to try other recipes. Thank you!!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Dori! Thanks so much for your kind words and lovely review! xo

  33. Vincent Scapecchi says

    I made this tonight and it was fantastic. I didn’t use sugar but added carrots. No one else in the house was adventurous enough to try it so I will enjoy it for the next few days.

  34. Carol B says

    I made the red lentil chili without the coconut sugar or maple syrup! Was awesome! I’m trying to count calories! I know it gives a per serving caloric count however I didn’t measure the whole pot to determine what you consider a serving size! Can you please let me know? Thank you!

  35. Gary says

    I am someone that gets oxalate kidney stones. So I can’t have the black or red kidney beans. I am going to use parts of your recipe to make meat and lentil chili. I will be checking your other recipes for sure! Thank you for sharing.

    A few months ago I made black bean white bean and red kidney bean chili with ground beef and pork. Yes not minimalist at all. I ended up making enough for two meals for five people and it didn’t last for leftovers either time. I am looking forward to trying your recipes and of course adding my own twist to them.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing, Gary! Feel free to modify to your needs. This recipe is a great base for flavor.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Recipe coming soon =) In the meantime, if you press “ctrl+f” on a PC or “command+f” on a mac, a find bar should pop up that allows you to search for specific words (such as Instant Pot) in the post and comments.

  36. Leslie says

    Delicious! I had some tempeh in the fridge so grated that and added it as well, along with sme chopped carrot. I also made it a bit spicier by using 1/2 chipotle chili powder and 1/2 regular chili powder, so there was a nice kick but it wasn’t too spicy for the family members who can’t tolerate overly spicy food.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yum, love the tempeh addition. We’re so glad you and your family enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing, Leslie!

  37. Linda says

    Awesome!!!!! Just made it. Was delicious. Can’t wait to have more tomorrow. I didn’t have a jalapeño, but I love spicy so substituted the jalapeño with a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Turned out great. Thanks again!

  38. Penny Urwiler says

    Hi, I’m wondering if you could add coconut milk to make a Thai version? Or would that not taste so good? Thanks!

  39. Bernadette MacNeil says

    Can you tell me what specifically is the size of a serving? How many cups that is? Trying to count calories.

    Love this recipe! It’s so filling. First time making a meat free chili and I am so happy I found this!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoy it! We don’t have a precise measurement, but would estimate the full recipe makes about 12 cups, so probably 2 cups/serving.

      • Kath says

        This is delicious. I made it exactly to recipe. I was a little terrified about the amount of chili – but, no! It was perfect. My family loved it – brother in law had three bowls. Thank you.

  40. Lozza says

    New favorite chili! This was enjoyed by both meat and non-meat eaters. It has the perfect balance of “sweet” (from the corn and sugar/maple syrup) and spice (it’s not very spicy at all but there’s a hit of the jalapeño flavor). I enjoyed it immensely with sourdough bread. My only change was cannellini beans instead of black because I forgot to prep them. It was still perfect. Froze well and tasted even better reheated!

  41. Bev says

    This is the bomb! And packs some heat so be careful with the chilli. Served with crusty bread, sour cream and added some shredded chicken for the non veggies. Will become a favourite in this household.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for sharing, Bev! Different brands of chili powder can vary in their spiciness, so if it’s lacking any flavor with less chili powder, maybe try another brand.

  42. Madison says

    I’ve made this recipe over 10 times and every time it’s delicious! I don’t put in the jalapeno just because I’m not a fan of spice and it’s still great without it.

  43. Caitlyn says

    This was delicious! I added an extra jalapeño for spice and it was the perfect amount of heat. I think this was the best chili recipe I’ve made yet!

  44. Kelly says

    I made this dish last week. It was tasty, hearty and filling. I did not care for the smokey smell/taste so I added a few things to offset it. I used Kidney Beans instead of Red Beans (just a preference). I did not add all of the chilli powder and smoke paprika. Also, I used Monk Fruit and Ethanol sugar instead of coconut sugar. (what I had). I added cinnamon (my husband said I added too much) and a little brown sugar and coriander ground seeds. Delicious.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing, Kelly! You could also use sweet paprika next time for less smoky flavor.

  45. Lauren says

    This was such a great recipe! I omitted a couple of the smaller seasonings I didn’t already have on hand and used green lentils instead, and this was still amazing. Will be making this again very soon!

  46. Ian says

    UK person here, made this and it was amazing, but I had to make some changes for UK stuff. We don’t use cups as measurements for example, but I just used a small IKEA coffee cup you’d drink out of. It’s hard to have too many lentils, especially red which are more for body.
    Chili…. there isn’t really chili mix here and we’d buy pure chili powder so for the love of all don’t put two tablespoons of that in…. especially if you buy the real stuff from Asian/subcontinent stores. Two teaspoons are more than ample. I’d always recommend this as spices there are so cheap and you can really throw the cumin around.

    Apart from that, this will make a big batch so I made a couple more adjustments. You can buy tomato purée in tubes cheap and I put a whole tube in (approx 4 tablespoons). Cumin, can easy do 3 tbsps and the secret ingredient really is smoked paprika, but it’s strong stuff. 3 teaspoons and it becomes another level of awesome. Don’t be scared of using salt but taste often to be sure.
    Add water of course if it seems to be going too dry and that it.

    Thanks again, great recipe idea

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing, Ian! If you’d prefer metric measurement for next time, you can find them by clicking “metric” beneath the ingredients header. Hope that helps!

  47. Valerie says

    May I ask the reason for dividing the spices, such as cumin and chili powder, when preparing this chili? I usually season as I go, but most often with just salt and pepper. Will the lentils be adversely affected if all the cumin and chili powder were added prior to simmering?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      It’s essentially a way of seasoning throughout so it builds layers of flavor, versus dumping them all in at once. Adding them at once will not affect the lentils!

  48. Eva Turner says

    Fantastic recipe! It has replaced my usual chilli con carne and I think lentils actually work better. I add a cinnamon stick and a tsp of ground coriander too.

  49. Miriam says

    I made this in the instant pot and it’s so delicious!! I made my own chili blend so the sodium content wasn’t too much and I loved it 🥰

  50. Madison says

    This recipe was so delicious!!! I made it in a slow cooker on low for 8 hours, sautéing the veggies beforehand. I also substituted dry green lentils (I was out of red lentils) and used an entire 6 oz can of tomato paste (was too lazy to save it, haha) with no issues. Serving with cheese and avocado made the perfect dinner!

  51. Jenn says

    I had to make some changes but really like the recipe! My kiddo doesn’t like onions or peppers yet and I didn’t have corn on hand, so I used onion powder and garlic powder and used less of each spice than what it says. I put 3 diced carrots in instead of corn. My one issue is when a recipe calls for part of a can of something and I end up wasting the rest of the can. So I put the whole little can of tomato paste in it. Worked fine! The one mistake I made was to rush the lentil cooking stage. I was in a hurry and should have made sure they were done before moving on.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing, Jenn! Another idea for leftover tomato paste is to freeze it in an ice cube tray and transfer cubes to a sealed bag for future use. Hope that helps!

      • Jenn says

        In my freezer, tomato paste and pumpkin have a 100% chance if going bad before being used. Ha! I realized late last night that I did not put the sugar in. It was of course fine but I think it would add to it so will try to remember next time.

  52. lisa hess says

    I am from Texas and this chili gets a double thumbs up in my book. Thank you for all your great recipes. This one is a keeper.

  53. Tasha says

    When it says chili powder blend , not straight chili powder , what does it mean ? Isn’t chili powder already a mix of spices ? Suggestions to make make one or buy the one you like ? Thank you .

  54. Ali-ray says

    As always, you killed it with this recipe- super tasty! Served it on baked potatoes, cheese, avocado, cheery toms and corriander. Absolutely delish <3

    • dianna says

      i’ve never made other chili recipes before, but why look for others when this one is so. dang. good?! i’ve made this more times than i can count. super easy recipe to make and follow! i’d marry this chili if i could, it’s just *chefs kiss*

  55. Laura Hunter says

    This is my go-to chili AND lentil recipe. Whenever I feel like something very nutritious I go to this recipe. Thanks so much for sharing it!

  56. Juli says

    I have made this recipe twice now (in the past two weeks). It is the BEST Vegan chili recipe I have ever found. Will be making it often I am sure! Thanks for the recipe!!!!

  57. Jennifer says

    Hello. The recipe looks yummy. I can’t wait to make it. I don’t have coconut sugar or maple syrup. Will it make a difference if I don’t use it?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Nah! It just balances the flavors. Try stevia or sugar if you don’t have the others.

  58. Kat says

    I absolutely LOVE this recipe! It is easy to follow and easy to add my own little flare. I’ve made this several times and its always a hit! Also love that it is freezer friendly, as I usually make it for a meal prep week. Thanks for all the awesome recipes Minimalist Baker!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Kat. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  59. Amy says

    I get so excited when I google for a recipe that I would like to make WFPB and I see Minimalist Baker pop up and I get so excited because so far, your recipes have never failed me. This was no different!! My new go to chili recipe!! It was delicious!!!

  60. Sheri A says

    Can I make this in the instant pot? Or would the recipe need more liquid for pressure cooking? Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sheri, we haven’t tried it, but some other readers have. If you press “ctrl+f” on a PC or “command+f” on a mac, a find bar should pop up that allows you to search for specific words (such as “Instant Pot”) in the post and comments. Hope that helps!

  61. Mary says

    Have you ever made this substituting hominy for corn? I just made this and really am enjoying the bowl I’m currently having for breakfast – no kidding! Next time I’ll keep the maple syrup measurement to 1 scant tablespoon. Keep on doing what you do. The question about the use of hominy is one I’d really appreciate being answered. Thanking you in advance. Mary Bergfeld

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Mary, we haven’t tried it, but we think it sounds nice! Let us know if you try it!

  62. Sophie says

    Hi just wanted to say that I made this for a dinner party and it was delicious – even the non vegans/vegetarians commented on it. I have made a few vegan chilli just with beans but they always lack substance and taste just like stews. The combination of lentils and beans in this recipe is perfect – this will be my ‘ Go to Chilli” from now on. It had a nice kick too with the chill powder and the jalapeño.
    Thank you for sharing ! The pressure was on as my husband used to make a mean meat chilli so we needed something that was just as good in our plant based diet . This is spot on !

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! We’re so glad to hear it, Sophie! Thanks so much for the lovely review!

  63. Amanda says

    Made this chili multiple times and we love it! I’ve even added in other veggies to disguise them from the picky hubby. Pair it with some cornbread and it’s an awesome meal!

  64. B says

    Wonderful! The spice blend is perfect! Love that everything is made in one pot! Very flavorful! The texture with red lentils and beans, other veggies laced with fragrant tomatoes and chilis…Amazing!


    Delicious. Added 4 Carrots, 2 Celery to saute grouping in my Instant pot then added rest of Ingredients as listed on this recipe except increase Red Lentil to 1 full Cup increase Water content to 3.5 cups to eliminate Burn on Instant pot ( next time will add 1 cup more comes out thick) High Pressure on INSTANT pot for 7 minutes and dinner was done. Served with Brown rice and avocados. Fabulous!!!

  66. laura says

    This veggie chili far exceeds any other I’ve tried! Rarely do I make a recipe multiple times without tweaking it a little to suit my tastes, but I have made this one as-is on repeat! I keep expecting an eye roll or a protest when I say we’re having chili AGAIN, but instead I get a “hell yeah!” every time. I think the addition of the red lentils that break down as they cook is key to achieving a nice thickness that many veggie chilis lack. I’m always just as excited for it on day four as I am on day one. Thanks for another delicious and easy recipe!

  67. Nick says

    I had great fun making this, but unfortunately it was way too spicy (and I like spicy food). I was wondering if the chili powder mentioned in this recipe is a blend? In Australia we generally have the one “Chilli Powder – Hot” (often from India) available at our supermarkets. 3 table spoons of that blew my head off! I’m definitely keen to make again with perhaps a different chilli powder.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Oh no! Sorry to hear it was too spicy, Nick! We use a chili powder blend, so it’s likely more mild. We’ll look into making that more clear.

      • Nick says

        Thanks so much! I asked a friend from the States who confirmed it was probably a spice blend, and not just 3 tablespoons of crushed up hot chilli peppers! I still enjoyed eating it, just with lots of natural yoghurt. Looking forward to making it again with the correct ingredients.

    • Elle says

      Nick, I too have made that mistake and used pure cayenne in a recipe that called for chilli powder! I think it catches quite a few of us Australians out. There are some great chilli powder blend recipes online, but when I’m in a hurry, I find that the Masterfoods Mexican Chilli powder (available at either Woolworths or Coles) works well. 😊

  68. Nick says

    This was the first recipe I ever made from your blog, and I’ve been going back to it for years! It’s delicious and hearty and flavorful enough to be able to feed to meat eaters, which is a big win. I usually double the lentils and use pureed tomatoes instead of diced, just because it tends to make it more appealing to picky eaters. I also triple the garlic and roughly double most of the spices for more flavor, but no matter how you swing it, this recipe is an all time favorite! It’s enough to feed me for a week, so I love making it a few days before I know I’m going to be really busy.

  69. Gila says

    Really delicious lentil chilli though next time I think I’d want more lentils in there. Word of warning, the quantities in the recipe could serve 12 people at least NOT 6 – I’m not complaining as I’ll freeze portions but just be prepared if you’re not looking to do that.

  70. Megan says

    The BEST chili ever! I’ve made this SEVERAL times and it is such a crowd pleaser. Even my non-vegan boyfriend LOVED it. It’s such a simple but flavorful recipe. I’m serious when I say I don’t need any other chili recipe…this is the one for me!

    • Ruth Wallace says

      We don’t have a ‘chilli blend’ and i will need to use straight up chilli powder. How much should i use? I love hot food but don’t want to blow my head off or make it inedible

  71. Amy says

    This is delicious! I tried a different lentil chili recipe once and wasn’t really into it, but this was great. I followed the recipe almost exactly other than using canned diced jalapenos. I now have plenty of leftovers that will hopefully last me a while!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yes, but you would need to cook them first as they require a longer cook time than the other ingredients.

    • Jessie says

      Since it’s still quarantine, I put Literally Whatever in this tonight. I didn’t have an onion or garlic, so I used carrots and frozen broccoli, which really bulked it up on top of the lentils. I found that it needed a lot of salt because my canned tomatoes were bitter, and it would have been amazing if I had lime juice. I also left out the tomato paste and let it cook down a little extra.

      I never thought to add lentils to chili (I usually use bulgur) but it was super filling and hardy. Added vegan cheese and sriracha at the end because it’s 2020 and times are weird.

  72. Sneha says

    I made this recipe for the Fourth of July once and it’s now an annual favorite! Love how the spice builds, how easily you can sub different cans of beans on hand, and I added sweet potato for some more heartiness to this freezer-friendly meal. Will make some fresh biscuits this year to go with the chili!

      • Sam says

        I’d appreciate some guidance on what the spice blend used is for the chilli powder. I have the single spices and Indian curry powder, none of which are really quite right.

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi Sam, It typically includes chilies, cumin, oregano, coriander, and garlic powder. Sometimes small amounts of other spices such as allspice and clove. Hope that helps!

  73. Kathleen says

    This has become our fave chilli recipe! Was so happy to find red lentils at the supermarket today so I could make it. Thanks for another amazing recipe :)

    • Melissa Crockett-Joyoue says

      This is my fav chilli and was my lifesaver when I was on a severely restricted diet in order to breastfeed my baby daughter who had severe allergies. I needed lots of protein & don’t eat meat. I would cheat a d chuck the whole lot in a slow cooker (ignoring all your steps sorry!) and reduce the chilli to 1tsp cayenne (I’m in NZ so wasn’t sure what chilli you meant). I would then package it up into dinner size and small portions (freeze then reheat as required) and ate it usually one or two meals a day for months on end. I’d have it on very expensive grain free bread, usually on fried up roasted sweet potato or pumpkin, with cilantro, vegan sour cream and lots of avocado and lime juice. I’d have it with smoked salmon on top. I’d have it on corn chips, in a corn wrap etc. it was one of the few things that I will still eat now from those days as it was so damn tasty it was hard to be utterly over it like I was with everything else! This recipe is amazing! I post it in food pages especially vegan and allergy mum ones all the times! Plus your vegan cornbread and black bean brownies! Xxx

      • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

        Aw, we’re so glad it helped you and that you enjoy our recipes, Melissa! Thank you so much for the lovely review and for sharing with others! xo

  74. April says

    We made this for the first time tonight. It was a hit for all of us. You don’t miss the meat at all. I added a little oregano and decreased the chili powder to 2 tbsp for the kids’ palate. We’ll definitely be making it again.

  75. Wanji says

    Loved this recipe – had to make some modifications due to ingredients I had available. I used pickled jalapeños, red onion and chipotle spice mix (instead of cumin) and dried Chili flakes! Came out delicious and made a nice big batch so I’ve frozen a few portions. Really easy to make too!!

  76. Zoe says

    Had this over a dozen times but we add mushrooms and instead of black beans usually some cannellani bean. Honestly we’ve had this since becoming vegan and a big staple meal in our house

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Zoe. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  77. baron says

    Amazing recipe! Thank you so much for sharing. I had to substitute Beyond Beef for red lentils(I pre-cooked the beef, skipped the 15 minute lentil cooking time and added it with the beans) and it still came out great. Thanks again!

  78. Kaelyn says

    This is a huge hit with my husband! I’m vegan, and it can be hard to alter recipes for him because he’s such a picky eater, but I’ve made this probably a dozen times at this point and it’s always a favorite we go back to. I usually go heavy on the spices, so I’ll use overflowing measurements. It’s filling, so flavorful, and lasts the two of us a few days for leftovers. Definitely worth making!

  79. Judy says

    This is a great recipe. Very filling, which is good considering it’s hit and miss on what you’ll be able to get in the shops right now. which is why I ended up subbing a lot. I had butter beans, red onion, sweetcorn, a few peas and stirred in rice at the end. It still tastes good even though it’s no Mexican flavour exactly. Especially since I omitted the chilli entirely as that opens up all the tearducts in my face. Still thanks a lot for the recipe. I’m glad to have two future meals sitting in the freezer.

  80. Nicole George says

    I have made this a ton of times and always love it. We recently just got an instant pot and I was curious if you had recommendations on how to prepare it using that.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Nicole, we haven’t tried it, but some other readers have. If you press “ctrl+f” on a PC or “command+f” on a mac, a find bar should pop up that allows you to search for specific words (such as “Instant Pot”) in the post and comments. Hope that helps!