This Amazing Lentil Chili is so tasty and easy to make. Hearty, flavorful, and delicious, this is perfect cold-weather food and something you'll want to make again and again.
When the weather gets colder, we all crave something hot and hearty. This amazing Lentil Chili is both vegan and incredibly delicious. It's full of protein-packed lentils and beans, as well as veggies and spices that give it the best flavor. I love a bowl of this during the fall and winter months. It's so satisfying and flavorful.
This vegan-alternative to chili is healthy and uses ingredients that will fill you up and pack in all the flavors you love about this dish. It's also versatile and able to be spiced up as you like, served a variety of ways, and goes great with other dishes. If you're looking for a tasty recipe that you can bring out again and again, then this Amazing Lentil Chili is the one. Let's talk about what you'll need to prepare it.
What you'll need
- Black Beans. Use 2 (14.5 oz.) cans or you can cook your own from dried beans. Also, other beans, such as pinto or red kidney beans, can be used instead.
- Corn. I prefer fresh or frozen corn over canned.
- Red Lentils. Rinse these before you add them to the chili.
- Tomatoes. Use 1 can of diced tomatoes and 1 can of tomato sauce.
- Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce. These add a lot of flavor to the chili, so this is something you shouldn't skip. Read below where to buy them and what to do with the leftovers.
- Veggie Broth. Homemade or store-bought would work.
- Onion and Garlic.
- Olive Oil. Or any other kind you like.
- Cumin Powder.
- Lime Juice. Use freshly squeezed lime juice for the best flavor.
- Cilantro. Fresh is better than dried here.
- Salt and Pepper. To taste.
How to make this Lentil Chili
1. In a large pot, cook the onion, garlic, and chipotle in adobo for 5-7 minutes, until they are soft and slightly browned. Use water to help scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pot, if needed.
2. Add the cumin powder and cook for 1 minute.
3. Now, add the black beans, corn, red lentils, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and veggie broth. Cover the pot with a lid and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 25-30 minutes.
4. Once the lentils are cooked through, and the chili has reached the desired consistency, season it with salt and pepper. Add the fresh cilantro and lime juice now. Stir, and turn off the heat.
5. Garnish as desired. Some great garnish options are: avocado, lime slices, fresh tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, plant-based yogurt, crushed tortilla chips, or shredded lettuce. I also love to add a generous amount of my homemade Salsa Roja.
About Chipotle in Adobo Sauce
You can purchase canned Chipotle in Adobo Sauce at any large grocery store, usually in the Mexican food section. What I like to do is take them out of the can and process them in the food processor. Then, I transfer this puree into an ice cube tray (about 1 tbsp. in each section) and freeze it. Once frozen, put the cubes in a zip-lock bag, keep them in the freezer, and use them as needed. Chipotle in Adobo Sauce adds amazing flavor to so many dishes. You can use it to make Sofritas or this Healthy Vegan Stew.
- Rinse the lentils. Lentils do not get processed before they are bagged and sold (just like rice and beans). Make sure to rinse them before using them to get rid of any dust or dirt, or even small stones, that might have snuck into the bag.
- Scrape the bottom of the pot. Adding a little bit of water after cooking the onions and garlic to get the brown bits off really enhances the taste of your lentil chili. These caramelized pieces are full of incredible flavor, so don't miss out on including them in your chili.
How to Store Leftovers
Place any leftover Lentil Chili is an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. If you'd like to save it longer, allow the chili to cool and then place it in ziplock freezer bags (not too big so you can defrost only what you need). Get as much air out as possible, lay them flat to freeze, and then store them vertically to save room. They will stay fresh for 4-6 months.
How to Serve it
- As is. This lentil chili is hearty enough to be enjoyed all on its own.
- Atop rice. I love this chili with some white or brown rice.
- With pasta. Chili on spaghetti is a really delicious spin on traditional pasta and sauce.
- With chips. Either crush some chips under your lentil chili or spoon it onto a hard tortilla shell for a tasty hand-held snack. I love to top it my my Homemade Salsa Roja!
I love this amazing Lentil Chili. It's so flavorful and filling, just perfect for cold months when you want something that will really stick to your ribs. This tasty dish is perfect for family dinners or holiday potlucks. There's so many ways to garnish and serve it, you'll love the freedom to change it up depending on your mood. Enjoy!
Amazing Lentil Chili
- 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, monced
- 1 tbsp. chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced (see notes)
- 1 tsp. cumin powder
- 30 oz. (2 cans) black beans, rinsed
- 16 oz. fresh of frozen corn kernels
- 12 oz. red lentils, rinsed
- 14.5 oz. (1 can) diced tomatoes
- 14.5 oz. (1 can) tomato sauce
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- ½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- 2 tbsp. lime juice
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large pot, cook the onion, garlic, and chipotle in adobo for 5-7 minutes, until they are soft and slightly browned. Use water to help scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pot, if needed.
- Add the cumin powder and cook for 1 minute.
- Now, add the black beans, corn, red lentils, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and veggie broth. Cover the pot with a lid and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 25-30 minutes.
- Once the lentils are cooked through, and the chili has reached the desired consistency, season it with salt and pepper. Add the fresh cilantro and lime juice now. Stir, and turn off the heat.
- Garnish as desired. Some great garnish options are: avocado, lime slices, fresh tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, plant-based yogurt, crushed tortilla chips, or shredded lettuce. I also love to add a generous amount of my homemade Salsa Roja.
I made this last night. I really like the Chipolte zing. I imagine it would be quite tasty and filling served over a baked potato, but alas, I just ate it with avocado, lime, and scallions. I am definitely adding this to my dinner rotation.
Tania Sheff says
That's so great to hear! Thanks, Erin!
Just made this for dinner. Only had one can of black beans so used a can of pinto beans. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
Tania Sheff says
Thank you for the feedback, Keeta!
Hi thank you for recipe what is the serving size?
Tania Sheff says
Hi Rachel! The whole recipe makes 6 servings. So if you can divide the whole pot into 6 equal parts, 1 part will equal one serving. Hope this helps! Happy cooking!
Stephanie Brown says
Tania Sheff says
Thank you, Stephanie!
Rezeda Ryzhkov says
Definitely making this Lentil Chili again! My new favorite!!!
Tania Sheff says
Thank you so much!