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Hearty, warming and so easy to make, this vegan lentil chili is the perfect weeknight family meal. Loaded with fresh and healthy ingredients, it’s a great dump and go Instant Pot recipe that’s ready to serve in less than 30 minutes.
This vegan lentil chili is excerpted from The Pressure Cooker Cookbook for Weight Loss which includes over one hundred easy and healthy recipes by Sukaina Bharwani. The recipes are all simple to prepare and all of which can be made in the instant pot. This one is one of the best!
Combining the hearty textures of green and red lentils with the bold flavors of a traditional chili, this vegetarian chili recipe is a robust, filling dish that promises to satisfy your comfort food cravings. Simmered with a medley of spices, tomato sauce, and a hint of optional sweetness from maple syrup, every spoonful of this lentil chili is packed with flavor. Topped with fresh cilantro and creamy diced avocados, this lentil chili is a one-pot wonder that’s sure to be a hit in your home.
Why You’ll Love This Lentil Chili
- Brimming with Nutrients: Lentils are an excellent source of plant-based protein and fiber, helping you feel fuller for longer. Plus, they’re packed with iron, potassium, and folate. Combined with the vitamins in the tomatoes and beans, and the healthy fats in avocados, this chili is a nutritional powerhouse.
- Rich and Flavorful: The combination of chili powder, oregano, and cumin infuses this vegan chili with deep, aromatic flavors. The optional addition of maple syrup adds a subtle sweetness that beautifully balances the spicy, savory notes.
- Quick and Easy: This lentil chili comes together easily in an Instant Pot, reducing your active cooking time and simplifying cleanup. It’s a fantastic choice for busy weeknight meals or meal prepping.
- Versatile: This chili is customizable! Add in extra veggies, adjust the spices to suit your palate, or switch up the toppings for variety.
- Perfect for All: Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or just looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, this chili is a delicious, satisfying option.
Ingredients & substitutions
- Red and green lentils: Lentils make a wonderful substitute for meat in many vegetarian meals like chili. They are low in calories, packed full of fiber and when eaten with whole grains, they can provide a complete source of protein. Feel free to switch the type of lentils used.
- Garlic and onion: These are sautéed in the Instant Pot before the other ingredients are added for a really flavorful chili.
- Tomato sauce and diced tomatoes: For a rich tomatoey flavor. Use diced tomatoes with chili for an extra kick of flavor, but you can use them without the added seasoning.
- Red kidney beans: Rinse and drain the canned beans before adding the to the Instant Pot. Kidney beans are great in a chili, but you can also use black beans or any others you have to hand.
- Seasonings: Chili powder, oregano, cumin and salt or use your own mix.
- Maple syrup: A little sweetness in this chili does wonders! If you are not vegan, you can use honey instead, and brown sugar also works well.
RECIPE VIDEO TUTORIAL
How to make lentil chili in instant pot
- Saute the garlic and onion in oil in the pressure cooker.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients.
- Stir to combine until everything is well mixed.
- Cook on the Beans/Chili function and naturally release before serving.
Tips for making lentil chili
- Be mindful of the type of lentils you use. Some lentils, like red lentils, absorb more liquid than others, like small green lentils. Adjust the tomato sauce in the recipe if you’re using more or less red lentils or other varieties that expand a lot.
- Switch some of the tomato sauce for vegetable broth. For a more subtle tomato flavor, you can use vegetable or chicken broth to replace some of the liquid in the recipe.
- Don’t forget the toppings. Fresh cilantro and diced avocado add some great freshness and flavor to each bite. Feel free to add other favorite toppings like sour cream, shredded cheese, lime wedges and sliced jalapenos.
- Try it on top of a baked potato. Because of how thick and hearty the lentil chili is, it makes for a wonderful topping on top of baked potatoes.
Frequently asked questions
Yes! This vegan lentil chili is a great option for meal prep, and, like all chilis, it tastes even better the next day when those flavors have had time to develop. Let your chili cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. It will keep well in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
You can reheat your chili on the stovetop to heat through, or in a microwave for 3 minutes, stirring halfway.
This chili freezes wonderfully. This recipe makes enough for 8 servings, so it’s great for freezer meals. Just place into a freezer safe container or bag to freeze and it will keep well for up to 6 months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight before reheating.
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can easily make this lentil chili on the stovetop, it will just take a bit longer. Saute the garlic and onions in a pot with the oil, then add in the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Bring the chili to a boil and then let it simmer for 50minutes to an hour until the lentils are cooked.
This vegan lentil chili is so effortless to make and it’s also a really economical family meal using pantry staple ingredients. It’s so wonderfully flavorful and is a great option for a healthy plant based dinner.
More soups and chilis to try:
- White Chicken Chili
- Sweet Potato Chili
- Lentil Kale Soup
- Red Lentil Chicken Soup
- Lebanese Lentil Soup
- Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Vegan Lentil Chili recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. We would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots, share it on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!
Vegan Lentil Chili
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 ½ cup green lentils rinsed
- ½ cup red lentils rinsed
- 2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
- 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 10-ounce canned diced tomatoes with chili seasonings
- 1 15 ounce can red kidney beans rinsed
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup optional
- Cilantro leaves for serving
- Diced avocados for serving
- Press Sauté button on the Instant Pot and add olive oil. Once oil is heated, add the chopped onion and stir for 1 minute. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Add in the rest of the ingredients, stir to combine all ingredients together. Press Off/Cancel to turn off Sauté function.
- Place the lid on and move the valve to sealing. Press Beans/Chili and set the timer to 12 minutes. You’ll notice the Instant Pot will start to come to pressure first and then the timer will begin. It can take 8-10 minutes to come to pressure.
- When the cook time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then do a quick release for any remaining pressure. Carefully open and remove the lid.
- Serve with fresh cilantro and avocados and any other chili toppings, if desired.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.