Sit by the fire with a big bowl of this vegan bean and lentil chili for a cozy Sunday evening. This recipe is easy to make, ready in just about 40 minutes, and loved by both vegans and meat eaters. It’s also freezable and perfect for meal prep!
There’s nothing quite as comforting as some fuzzy socks, a warm fire, lentil chili and some of your favorite people on a Sunday afternoon. Ugh, how perfect does that sound?!
This recipe is made similarly to my vegan chana masala, so if you’ve ever made that, you know just how simple it is. I’ll walk you through it step by step so you can make it perfectly every time.
Ingredients for lentil chili
This chili is loaded with 3 different types of legumes- black beans, kidney beans and red lentils which makes it a plant based protein powerhouse. For this recipe you will need:
- Black Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Red Lentils
- Red Onion
- Red Bell Pepper
- Serrano Pepper
- Tomato Sauce
- Veggie Broth
- 2 Bay Leaves
- A touch of coconut oil
- Lots of spices!
How to make lentil chili
Before I do anything, I like to first prep all of the veggies. So, I’ll mince the garlic, (this garlic press makes it super easy), chop the peppers, measure the corn, dice the onion, celery and set them all aside.
Next, add the diced onion to a large pot with coconut oil. Let it saute for 5-10 minutes or until translucent. Add in the garlic, peppers and celery and saute for a few minutes. Then add in all of the spices and the bay leaves.
Finally, add in the beans, lentils, corn, tomato sauce, veggie broth and bring to a low boil. Let the mixture simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
This final step is optional, but I often will take 1-2 cups of the chili and pulse it in a food processor and then pour it back in. This give this chili a slightly meaty texture and adds more substance.
I love serving this lentil chili with cornbread (usually from a box if I’m feeling lazy!), fresh cilantro and avocado on top. It is also delicious with sour cream or just as is!
If you aren’t a spice wuss like me, some jalapeno peppers on top adds a nice flavor and a little crunch. No matter how you have it ,this lentil chili is a high protein dinner recipe that is perfect for a chilly Fall or Winter day.
Recipe tips, tricks and notes!
- Once prepared, this recipe will store in the fridge for 5 days. However, chili is also freezer friendly! Allow the chili to cool completely and store it in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 1 month.
- This recipe calls for 1 can each of black beans and kidney beans, but you can use any combination of bean, just be sure to use 2 cans, drained and rinsed.
- I do not recommend subbing the red lentils for a different type of lentil as this would change the proportion of liquid used in this recipe.
- I personally don’t like tomato chunks in chili, so I used canned tomato sauce, but pureed tomatoes or finely diced tomatoes also works.
- For a spicy chili, use 2 serrano peppers WITH seeds. For a mild chili, use 1 serrano pepper with no seeds. I personally like 2 serrano peppers with no seeds plus a small pinch of cayenne for medium spice.
Try these cozy vegan recipes next!
Stovetop Vegan Bean and Lentil Chili
- 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 can kidney or pinto beans (drained and rinse)
- 1 cup red lentils
- 28 ounce can tomato sauce or finely diced tomatoes
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 medium red onion (chopped)
- 1 cup fire roasted or regular corn
- 1-2 stalks celery (finely diced)
- 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
- 2 serrano peppers (chopped*)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp coconut sugar
- 2 1/2 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 -1 tsp sea salt
- Black pepper to taste
- Optional: Pinch of cayenne
- Chop the onion into small pieces and add to a pan with the coconut oil.
- Saute until translucent, about 5-10 minutes.
- Add in the chopped celery, bell pepper, serrano pepper (see notes about spice), garlic and saute an additional 5 minutes.
- Add in all of the spices, coconut sugar, salt, and bay leaves and mix well.
- Add in all remaining ingredients and bring to a low boil.
- Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 25 minutes stirring occasionally to ensure the chili doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom.
- If the chili isn’t reaching your desired thickness, let it simmer with the top off for about 10 minutes.
- Serve warm and enjoy!