Vegan 1 Pot Red Lentil Chili

The fantastic thing about this perfect protein-rich 1 pot winter dish is that even the die-hard meat-eaters in the family think it is the best chili they ever tasted (I never thought I would hear that!). This recipe couldn’t be simpler or more hearty and delicious.  There is no need to soak or precook the red lentils. Like with any good chili, I think it’s more flavorful the second day, so make a lot and refrigerate it.

Cooking Time: 40-50 minutes

Servings: 6 to 8


2 tablespoons Extra-Virgin OLIVE OIL (or Coconut)
1 medium yellow ONION, finely chopped
1 RED PEPPER, finely chopped
1 CELERY STALK, finely chopped (optional)
SALT and PEPPER, to taste
2 tablespoons GARLIC (4 cloves minced)
1 25-ounce can salt-free DICED TOMATOES (add your own salt to taste)
2 cups of WATER (more if needed)
1 1/2 tablespoons CHILI POWDER (more if you like it spicy)
1/4 teaspoon crushed RED PEPPER FLAKE (more if you like it spicy)
1 1/2 tablespoons ground CUMIN
1 teaspoon SMOKED PAPRIKA (this tastes different than regular)
3/4 cup dry RED LENTILS, rinsed, cleaned, and drained
1 15-ounce can BLACK BEANS, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can KIDNEY BEANS, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can CORN, drained
2 tablespoons MAPLE SYRUP (optional but brings our the favors nicely)
Serving Suggestions:
Top with Vegan CHEDDAR or MEXICAN MIX CHEESE, Shredded
Top with SCALLIONS, chopped
Serve with Gluten-Free Corn TORTILLA CHIPS


  • HEAT a large pot over medium heat. ADD oil.
  • SAUTE onion, red pepper, and celery for about 3 minutes stirring often. 
  • ADD garlic and STIR. ADD salt and pepper to taste. SAUTE another minute.
  • STIR IN diced tomatoes (with liquid), refried beans, and water. 
  • ADD spices: chili powder, red pepper flakes, cumin, smoked paprika. STIR completely to combine.
  • Bring to a BOIL over medium heat.
  • When boiling, ADD lentils, COVER, and lower to a SIMMER for about 15 minutes. ADD more water if the mixture is looking too think or dry. You want the lentils to cook completely and to get tender. STIR occasionally so that the lentils don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. 
  • ADD black beans, kidney beans, corn and more spices for your taste and maple syrup. STIR to combine.
  • SIMMER (not boiling) over medium heat so that you see little bubbles and then reduce to low for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.   
  • COOL slightly and then SPRINKLE Vegan cheese on top before serving.
  • SCOOP with your favorite tortilla chips. 

NOTE: This chili can last at least a week in your refigerator and freezes easily for several months. Just thaw and reheat on the stove. 

2 thoughts on “Vegan 1 Pot Red Lentil Chili

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