One Pot Red Lentil Chili (Vegan & Gluten Free)
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!
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.
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.
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
- Carrot – If using prepared shredded carrots, you’ll need roughly 1/3 cup.
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.
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.
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
- Vegan Pumpkin Chili
- Vegan Chili (Slow Cooker)
- Vegan Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quinoa Chili
- Vegan Chili Cornbread Casserole
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!
Stovetop Red Lentil Chili (Vegan & Gluten Free) 10 Min Prep
- 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: vegan cheese, vegan greek yogurt, parsley,
- 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!
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.
This was such a great, easy recipe!! I love how you just throw everything into one pot. Definitely a keeper!!
Really enjoyed this recipe, I added ground cumin and bay leaf. Lots left over for the freezer too!! 😋
We’re so happy that you enjoyed this recipe James. Thank you so much for reading and leaving such a nice comment!
So tasty and super easy! Highly recommend!
Awesome we’re so happy you enjoyed it Kate! Thanks so much for reading!
I made this along with your best ever cornbread recipe. It was the perfect pairing! I didn’t use the small chili pepper because I didn’t have one. I thought it was the perfect spice level with the cayenne pepper. Delicious recipe, as always. Thank you!
We’re so happy that you enjoyed both recipes Lori! Thank you so much for reading and leaving such a nice comment!
This recipe was so delicious and so easy!! Even my husband, who is a hands down meat eater ate and enjoyed this chili. I followed the recipe exactly but added some extra veggies (extra of everything in the recipe, plus a zucchini and half a can of pumpkin purée). Will be making this recipe over and over.
We’re so happy that you and your husband enjoyed this recipe Melissa! Thank you so much for reading and leaving such a nice comment!
Another home run of a recipe Jessica! Loved that I could throw everything in the pot and just cook. Ready in 30 minutes. I like extra spice so added in some Chipotle chili powder and some cumin. Didn’t have bell peppers so used a poblano instead and added in a zucchini because, why not. This is definitely a keeper and will make a great lunch this week because it is cold here in New Hampshire.
Can’t wait to try it!
Did you use split lentils or whole?
Thanks so much Sofia!. We used whole lentils.
When I thought I had nothing to cook for dinner tonight, I did some Pinterest searching for red lentil recipes and fell upon this. I had just enough of everything to make it. Looking forward to eating it in a few minutes. SMELLS SO GOOD!
Oh wow! Thank you so much Meghan! We’re so happy that you found this recipe.
Really good base recipe with great potential for personalizing! I sautéed the onions and garlic and spices first in a little bit of olive oil before adding the other ingredients. I didn’t have black beans (what?!) but had a can of kidney beans and instead of using peppers, i used Rotel in place of the tomatoes. Delicious with bread right out of the oven. Thank you!
THanks so much for your review Shawna. We really appreciate it.
Can I use green lentils for this recipe?
Hi Caroline you can definitely use green lentils. Just make sure you cook it to doneness which may be longer than red lentils. I hope this helps.