It’s full-on chili season, the season of semi-hibernating, low cooking motivation, and easy one-pot meals. Also, post-holiday seasonal depression is real, and this smoky, spicy red lentil chili has the YUM factor to bring a little extra comfort into your January. Also try pairing this vegan lentil chili with some of my favorite Easy Flourless Cornbread to make this meal extra yummy.
Why You’ll Love This Vegan Lentil Chili:
- It’s made in one pot, just throw it all in one pot and leave it alone.
- Most of the ingredients come from cans, jars, and pantry staples
- It uses red lentils and canned beans so it’s ready in less than 30 minutes
- It’s versatile, swap away!
- You can make it using a variety of methods, stovetop, crockpot, instant pot, or just setting it on top of a wood burning stove for 5 hours (which is what I did!)
- You can dress it up with so many tasty toppings
- It’s got a beautiful balance of smoky, sweet, and spicy
- It scales up well to feed a crowd and freezes beautifully
- It’s deliciously plant-based for your #veganuary goals
Readers often ask me which Instant Pot I recommend. I have the Duo model, and I absolutely love it. It has 7 handy functions including a pressure cooker, sterilizer, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté, yogurt maker, and food warmer. It's a great size, and the cheapest model. I personally don't think that the fancy features on the more expensive models are worth the higher price tag. This one does everything I could ever need!
The Key to Good Chili: Good Chili Powder
It may seem obvious, but mediocre chili is usually the result of mediocre or old chili powder. Chili powder that’s been sitting in your pantry for 6 months just won’t be as flavorful and punchy as fresh, high quality chili powder. This time of year when I’m making a pot or two per week, I like to make sure I’ve got the good stuff stocked. My favorite brand is this one from McCormick Gourmet, or this one from Simply Organic. It’s also fun to make your own!
More Delicious Chili Inspiration:
- How to Make Vegan Chili (Without a Recipe)
- Veggie Bean Chili (Instant Pot)
- Black Bean & Pumpkin Chili
- Flourless Cornbread
If you make this vegan red lentil chili, leave a star rating or comment below! Your feedback is so helpful to me and other readers. You can also tag me in your meal pics on Instagram @katiesconsciouskitchen, or join my free private facebook group to share your creations and inspire others! I love to see what you all are making.
Smoky Red Lentil Chili
- 1 diced onion
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 2 15-oz cans diced tomatoes
- 2 cups corn kernels, frozen or canned
- 1 can black beans, 15 oz
- 1 can kidney beans, 15 oz
- 3/4 cup red lentils, not green or brown lentils
- chopped cilantro
- green onions
- diced avocado
- minced white onions
- sour cream
- shredded cheese
- crème fraîche
- corn chips
- sliced jalapeño
- lime wedges
- Heat a splash of oil over medium heat in a large heavy bottomed soup pot. Sauté the onion and red pepper for 5 minutes or so, stirring often.
- Add the garlic, and stir for another minute.
- Add the seasonings, tomatoes, beans, corn, lentils, and water.
- Bring to a boil then reduce to a gentle simmer and let cook, covered, for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are mushy and fully cooked. Add liquid as needed and stir occasionally to prevent from sticking.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Add salt to taste, chili powder for heat, and paprika for smokiness.
- Garnish with toppings of choice and serve.