Vegan Lentil Chili
This Vegan Lentil Chili has brown and red lentils, roasted red peppers, and olives and it’s loaded with flavor. And this delicious meatless lentil chili is also gluten-free.
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This Vegan Lentil Chili is so flavorful that I think it makes a perfect meatless dinner, even for people who aren’t vegans. And the chili is loaded with healthy and flavorful ingredients to make it a wonderful combination of flavors.
I couldn’t resist adding red lentils along with the regular brown lentils this recipe started out with. I also added roasted red peppers and sliced olives for a little more flavor, and used canned vegetable broth as the base of the chili.
This was delicious as-is, but if you like tart flavors I think a generous squeeze of lime juice would really be good. And I’m guessing everyone who’s a fan of lentils will enjoy this tasty lentil chili recipe!
What ingredients do you need?
- Olive Oil (affiliate link)
- Minced Garlic (affiliate link)
- Chili Powder (affiliate link)
- ground Cumin (affiliate link)
- Dried Oregano (affiliate link)
- dried Chipotle chile pepper
- brown lentils
- red lentils
- vegetable broth
- tomato sauce
- green onions
- black olives
- Roasted Red Peppers in a jar (affiliate link)
- lime slices for serving (optional)
What are lentils?
Lentils are the dried seeds of the lentil plant, and they are legumes which are never eaten fresh but always dried right after ripening. There are many different kinds and colors of lentils, but the brown lentils and red lentils used in this recipe are the two I use most often.
Why do I love red lentils?
Red lentils add a nice color to any recipe you use them in. They also cook more quickly than brown, green, or black lentils and dissolve in to the dish to thicken it.
Want more tasty recipes for chili?
Check out Healthy Chili Recipes Your Family Will Love! for more delicious chili recipes.
How to Make Vegan Lentil Chili:
(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)
- Heat the oil and then cook the onions until they’re starting to brown. Add garlic and cook about one minute more.
- Then add the chile powder, ground cumin, dried oregano, and ground chipotle powder (or cayenne) and cook about 90 seconds more.
- You can use all regular brown-green lentils like you normally find in the grocery store, but if you have red lentils, they will dissolve a little faster and thicken the chili, and the red ones add a nice sweetness.
- When the spices are fragrant, add the brown lentils, red lentils, vegetable broth, water, and tomato sauce and start to simmer.
- When red lentils are mostly dissolved and brown ones are nicely tender, add the sliced green onion, sliced olives, and diced roasted red bell pepper and simmer about 15-20 minutes more.
- Serve hot, with a squeeze of lime juice if desired.
More Vegan Recipes with Lentils
Weekend Food Prep:
This recipe has been added to a category called Weekend Food Prep to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!
Vegan Lentil Chili
This Vegan Lentil Chili has both brown and red lentils, and it’s loaded with flavor from the roasted red peppers and olives.
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped in small pieces
- 2 tsp. finely minced garlic
- 2 T Chili Powder
- 1 T ground cumin
- 1 tsp. dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
- 1/8 tsp. dried Chipotle chile pepper (or cayenne; use more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 1/4 cup red lentils (or use more brown lentils if you don’t have red ones)
- 3 14 oz. cans vegetable broth + 1 can water
- 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup sliced green onions
- 1 6 oz. can black olives, drained and sliced
- 1 12 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
- lime slices for serving (optional)
- Use a large dutch oven type pan so you have a big surface area for cooking the vegetables.
- Heat olive oil over medium heat, then saute the chopped onion until it’s starting to brown. Add garlic and saute about 1 minute more.
- Add the chili powder, ground cumin (affiliate link), dried oregano, and Chipotle or Cayenne powder and saute about 90 seconds more, or until the spices are fragrant.
- Add the brown lentils, red lentils, vegetable broth, water, and tomato sauce and heat until the mixture comes to a low boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and let the mixture cook until red lentils are mostly dissolved and brown lentils are well-softened. Cooking time will depend on how fresh the lentils are, but I simmered this for slightly more than an hour, adding more water a couple of times. (Tomatoes make the lentils cook a bit more slowly, so if you’re in a hurry don’t add the tomato sauce until lentils are starting to get tender.)
- While the mixture cooks, slice the green onions, drain olives and cut into slices, and drain the roasted red pepper and chop into small pieces.
- When lentils are cooked, add green onion, olives, and roasted red pepper and let the mixture simmer 15-20 minutes more.
- Serve hot, with slices of lime to squeeze into each serving if desired.
This freezes well. For best results, thaw in refrigerator overnight and then heat in microwave or in a small pan on the stove.
Recipe created by Kalyn.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 167Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1010mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 7gSugar: 6gProtein: 6g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This would be too high in carbs for traditional low-carb diet plans. Dried beans and lentils are approved for all phases of the original South Beach Diet, but they’re limited to 1/3 to 1/2 cup serving for Phase One. In a recipe like this Vegan Lentil Chili where there are lots of other low-glycemic ingredients besides the lentils, you could have a larger serving.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Chili Recipes to find more recipes like this one. Use the Diet Type Index to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe was posted in 2012. It was last updated with more information in 2021.
41 Comments on “Vegan Lentil Chili”
I'm not familiar with the oz unit (unless I convert it to mL), so i'm wondering if it's a mass or a volume unit in this recipe ? Thanks !
I believe it's a volume unit, but I googled and it says 14 oz. = 414 ml.
You said you couldn't find the original recipe that inspired you; I think I found it: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/lentil-chili-with-cumin-and-green-onions-1256015
Yes, that looks like the base recipe without the things I added; they must have put it online since I posted this. Thanks; I added a link to it!
This recipe came out really fantastic. Your recipes are consistently good and it is those little extras like including the note on adding the tomato sauce later, or giving an alternative to chipotle that keep me coming back to your site.
Jill, thanks for the nice feedback. So glad you've been enjoying the recipes!
So glad you enjoyed it!
I have been searching for a chili recipe I love for a long time, and I am pumped to say I finally found it! This is delicious! I've been struggling with a clean eating challenge at my gym for a few weeks, so I can't thank you enough for this recipe! I ate 3 bowls of it last night when I made it haha I think I am going to have to make another batch in just a couple of days! I think the olives make it. Yummmmmmm!
I'm always hoping my recipes go beyond what people think of as "diet food" so I am thrilled you've been enjoying them so much!
I know that your website is intended for people cooking in the south beach style but despite never trying the south beach diet I use your recipes quite often. I really like that you use alternative grains in many of your recipes. It was the reason I first found your blog. I've also found many of your veggie sides to be quite tasty. My bookclub has a couple of vegans/veggies and so we embrace the fun of cooking a vegan meal for everyone. I am hosting this month and your Lentil Chili was just the ticket. Thanks for all the healthy recipes that you provide!
I realize this is an old recipe, but I still wanted to say thank you! I tried this chili tonight and it came out wonderful. At first I was skeptical about the amount of liquids and it felt very soup-y to me, but in the end it reduced to a nice consistency. I thought the lentils worked really well. I'd made a vegetarian bolognese with red lentils, no idea why it had never occurred to me to try them in a chili.
Anyway, thanks for sharing this recipe. It's delicious!
I stumbled upon this recipe because I want to make a homemade version of Pacific brand vegetable lentil soup with roasted red peppers. I'm addicted to that stuff, but it's not very budget friendly. This recipe sounds delicious and I will be making it this week! Thank you!
Thanks Chris, so glad you liked it!
Just made and ate the Lentil Chili. What a winner! Deeeelicious! If anyone tries this, make sure you do the lime squeeze, it really adds pizazz. Love it Kalyn! Gotta tell my readers about his one.
Lynn, so glad you have enjoyed the recipes!
I made this last night and am having some for lunch right now. I'll definitely be making this again.
I gave the olives sort of a rough chop, so I will make them smaller next time.
Thank you for all the good Phase One recipes this month – I've saved most of them in my email recipe folder.
This is genius!
I'm a huge fan of that ground Chipotle powder, so much easier to use than the canned Chipotles!
I love this, comforting and healthy! Especially love the use of chipotle powder, too.
Thanks for the inspiration!
Jennifer, glad you like it.
Even though I like to eat meatless meals and love finding a good vegan recipe, I am not a vegetarian and believe strongly that everyone has the right to make their own food choices. Therefore I will not post comments with links to posts or videos about why people should become vegans.
I love lentils! This chili looks wonderful!