This One Pot Red Lentil Chili takes only ten minutes of prep! It makes an absolutely delicious vegan chili and it incredibly easy to whip up for you and your family!

Overhead view of red lentil chili in a bowl, topped with diced avocado and sour cream.

Whether you want to get a jump on meal prep for the week, want to stay warm during cool days, or you’re a chili fan like me, you are really going to love this recipe. This Red Lentil Chili was inspired by my Vegan Crockpot Chili but with a quick cooking twist! It’s the fastest chili I’ve ever made and also one of the best.

Between the thick, hearty texture and abundance of veggies, it’s the most satisfying meals I’ve had in a long time. The flavors are incredibly well developed in just half an hour of being on the stove, but it gets even better the next day. It’s hard to believe it cooks up so quickly! What tastes like a full day’s worth of work and simmering only takes a matter of minutes.

Red lentil chili in a blue pot with a ladle scooping some out.

Why You’ll Love This Vegan Chili

Follow this basic blueprint and you too can have an incredibly filling meal that’s complex and boldly seasoned, not to mention beautiful enough to grace your Instagram feed. Oh, and if you’re thinking of skipping the toppings, trust me don’t! Some noteworthy assets include:

  • Made for meal prep – One batch makes 8 hearty servings, so you’ll be set for a week! It keeps perfectly in either the fridge or freezer too; scroll down for those details.
  • One Pot – Cleanup is a breeze when you only have a single dish to wash!  
  • Filled with protein and fiber – This is one nutritional dynamo. We’re talking about 11 grams of plant protein and 13 grams of fiber, all for less than 200 calories! That’s better than most energy bars on the market these days, plus it’s all from real, whole foods.
  • Great for game day – No one can resist the universe appeal of this hot, comforting meal. Make it into a real party and set out a topping bar for friends and family to customize their bowls to taste.
This One Pot Red Lentil Chili takes only ten minutes of prep! It makes an absolutely delicious vegan chili and it incredibly easy to whip up for you and your family! via https://jessicainthekitchen.com

Notes on Ingredients

Please note that this is important information on the ingredients and instructions and the FULL recipe with amounts and details can be found DOWN BELOW (scroll to it) in the recipe card.

  • Red lentils – Lentils are the fastest cooking legumes around, so you never need to soak or pre-cook them.
  • Vegetable broth – Chose a low sodium variety to keep your salt levels in check.
  • Diced tomatoes – If using canned tomatoes, don’t drain them! Add all that liquid in.
  • Red onion
  • Black beans
  • Red and green bell peppers – You can use any color you like, including yellow and orange, or just one to make it simpler.
  • Corn – This can be fresh, canned, or frozen.
  • Chili pepper – Chose carefully based on your spice tolerance, whether that’s a mild jalapeno, punchy habanero, or scorching ghost chili.
  • Chili powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Oregano
  • Garlic
  • Carrot – If using prepared shredded carrots, you’ll need roughly 1/3 cup.
  • Lime

How to Make One Pot Red Lentil Chili

In the large stockpot over medium high heat, add in all the ingredients. Stir well to combine.

Bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. Cover slightly and let the chili cook down. Stir periodically to ensure that the lentil don’t stick to the bottom. Allow to cook until the red lentils are fully tender, and the stew thickens.

Remove from the stove. Squeeze in the lime juice and stir to combine. Let it cool slightly before serving. Top with your favorite garnishes and enjoy!

Why Are My Lentils Still Firm After Simmering?

If you’ve followed the timing suggestions closely but your lentils are still tough, don’t panic! It’s a very common issue that can result from several possible factors and is an easy fix no matter what.

  • Your tomatoes might have been particularly acidic, which slows the cooking process. In extreme cases, you can add a tiny (TINY!) pinch of baking soda to help break down the cell walls faster, but if you can spare the time, just keep simmering for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Your lentils might have been old, which means they’re drier and tougher on the outside than normal. Just be patient and keep simmering for an additional 15 to 30 minutes.
  • If you used any lentils other than red lentils, they simply take longer to cook. Green, brown, and black lentils are all fine substitutions. Just bear in mind that they might need anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes longer to reach the same degree of doneness.
Top down view of red lentil chili topped with avocado.

Tips for Success

  • Ready-made vegan Greek yogurt or sour cream is a great garnish to cut through the heat of the chilies. You can also make a cashew sour cream recipe to go on top.
  • For those that are heat-sensitive or cooking for picky kids, it’s easy to dial back the spice. If you want to make a milder version, either de-seed the pepper or omit it entirely. You can also take out the cayenne pepper.

What to Serve With Red Lentil Chili

The toppings are what really make this entrée an unforgettable meal!

Don’t skimp on my favorites:

  • Vegan cheese
  • Diced avocado
  • Vegan Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Parsley or scallions
  • Hot sauce or crushed red pepper flakes

Pair it with a hearty side dish for seriously monstrous appetites:

How to Store Leftovers

This chili lasts in the fridge up to 10 days. Let it cool completely before packing it in an airtight container and store in the fridge until needed. Reheat in the microwave at full power for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring as needed, until hot all the way though.

Close up of red lentil chili in two white bowls, on a striped cloth.

Can I Freeze Lentil Chili?

You can also easily freeze this chili instead for up to 6 months! Simply let it thaw in the fridge overnight when needed the next day. In that case, reheat according to the instructions above. If reheating directly from the freezer, microwave for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring periodically, until hot all the way through.

More Vegan Chili Recipes

Enjoy friends! If you make this One Pot Red Lentil Chili, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!

Overhead shot of red lentil chili in a white bowl.

Stovetop Red Lentil Chili (Vegan & Gluten Free) 10 Min Prep

This One Pot Red Lentil Chili takes only ten minutes of prep! It makes an absolutely delicious vegan chili and it incredibly easy to whip up for you and your family!
5 (from 16 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 840 ml 3 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 400 g 14 ounces tomatoes, diced (if using canned, do not drain)
  • 1 red onion
  • 15 oz. can black beans
  • ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper, about ½ bell pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped green bell pepper, about ½ bell pepper
  • 123 g ½ cup corn
  • ½ small chili pepper*, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shredded carrot, 101.49g
  • juice of 1 lime

For Garnish

  • For garnish: vegan cheese, vegan greek yogurt, parsley,

Instructions 

  • In the large stockpot over medium high heat, add in all the ingredients and stir completely to combine.
  • Bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. Cover slightly, and let the chili cook down for 25-30 minutes. Stir every now and then to ensure that the lentil don’t stick to the bottom. Allow to cook until the red lentils are cooked completely and begins to thicken.
  • Remove from the stove, and squeeze in the juice of lime, stirring to thoroughly combine. Let it cool slightly before serving. Top with your favourite garnishes, and enjoy! I love adding some avocado on top!

Notes

Notes
This chili lasts in the fridge up to 10 days. You can also easily freeze it in a Tupperware container and thaw it in the fridge overnight when needed.
You can also make a cashew sour cream recipe to go on top.
*The chili pepper makes it spicy! If you want it less spicy, de-seed the pepper)
Calories: 177kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1156mg, Potassium: 610mg, Fiber: 13g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 2117IU, Vitamin C: 26mg, Calcium: 64mg, Iron: 4mg

Disclaimer: Although jessicainthekitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Jessicainthekitchen.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.