Vegan Lentil Chili

Vegan lentil chili is a perfect meatless weeknight dinner. Flavourful, but not spicy, this chili is family friendly, and full of healthy plant based protein and fibre.

a bowl of vegetarian chili with lentils on a table ready to eat

Is there anything more ubiquitous to fall than big pots of chili?

Now that chili season is here I wanted to share my go-to meatless chili recipe with you all.  What I love most about this recipe is that the ingredient list is simple, it comes together quickly, and it’s a dish my whole family loves – which is exactly what I am looking for in a recipe most weeknights.  I use canned beans and lentils in this chili to keep the cook time down, and the rest of the ingredients are pantry staples so it’s easy to throw a pot on when it’s the end of the day and you haven’t planned anything for dinner.

How to make vegan lentil chili

A good chili starts with a base of aromatics: onion, celery and green peppers.  These are sauteed in the pot until they begin to soften, then you add the spices, and finally, you add the remaining ingredients to the pot and let it all simmer for a little while.  The simmering part is important – this is how all the flavours infuse into the tomatoes and beans and what really makes the chilli.  If you have time to allow it to simmer longer, please do!

A pot full of vegetarian chili with lentils

Additional Information

  • Chili is the kind of dish that tastes better the longer it sits – this recipe makes about 6 servings, and the leftovers are more flavourful than what you cooked the night before
  • Vegan lentil chili freezes well.  I like to freeze it in individual servings to take out for lunch.  If you have a big enough pot, you can also make a double batch and freeze half for another meal.
  • This chili is mildly spiced.  Feel free to add your favourite hot peppers or spicy chili powders if you like things a little spicier.
  •  My favourite thing about chili is toppings!  For tastiest results, serve your chili with a variety of toppings.  We like, shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, pickled jalapenos and green onions.



This recipe for vegan lentil chili is suitable for the following diets:

  • vegan and vegetarian
  • clean eating
  • gluten free, dairy free, and allergy friendly


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If you like this recipe for vegan lentil chili, you might want to check out some of our other easy vegan dinner recipes:


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Vegan Lentil Chili

A quick and delicious meatless chili with beans and lentils. Perfect for busy weeknights.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Vegan Lentil Chili
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Calories 273kcal
Author Courtney


  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 stalks celery finely diced
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 1 green pepper finely diced
  • 2 28 fl oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 19 oz red kidney beans drained
  • 1 19 fl oz can pinto beans drained
  • 1 19 fl oz lentils drained
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1⁄2 tbsp ground cumin
  • salt and peppe


  • Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the oil. When the oil has heated, add the celery, onion, and green pepper to the pot and season with salt and pepper.
  • Saute the vegetables while stirring for 2-3 minutes or until they start to release their liquids and become translucent.
  • Add the chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and ground cumin to the pot and stir to cover the vegetables.
  • Cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, kidney beans, pinto beans and lentils to the pot and season well with salt and pepper.
  • Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for at least 30 minutes.


Serve with a variety of toppings such as shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, avocado, jalapenos, and green onions.

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