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This Lentil Chili is packed with nutrients and comforting flavor and is perfect for weeknight dinners and weekend gatherings. It can be made ahead, and leftovers taste even better! Vegan adaptable. Video.
I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.John o’donohue
Lentil Chili is filled with the best smoky and savory spices, chorizo (vegan adaptable) carrots and peppers that give a hearty texture and boost of nutrition.
Make it on the stovetop, and it’s ready to serve in about 45 minutes. We have also included a crockpot version for the days you just want to come home to a meal ready to eat!
As with most stews and soups, this chili develops even more flavor a day or two after it is made. You can make a batch ahead for hands-off meals to enjoy throughout the week.
For a more traditional Chili take a peek at this recipe for Homemade Instant Pot Chili.
Table of Contents
Lentil Chili| 60-second video
Ingredients In Lentil Chili
- chorizo: (you can make your own and use ground veggie meat, turkey, beef, chicken)
- dried lentils: brown & red lentils (can sub brown lentils for the red, red makes the chili thicker)
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
While there are many different types of chorizo, the two most common varieties are Mexican chorizo and Spanish chorizo, they are very different from each other. We are using a Mexican type of chorizo in this recipe.
You can make your own chorizo here, with a simple blend of spices and your choice of meat. This allows you to add more or less spice without any fillers or preservatives. You can easily adapt this to plant-based “meats” to create a delicious vegan chili! Feel free to use store-bought chorizo for ease and speed.
How To Make Lentil Chili (2 Ways)
Stovetop Lentil Chili
STEP ONE– Sauté onion in a pan over medium-high heat with oil for 3 minutes until it softens.
STEP TWO– Add garlic stirring in and add chorizo, sauté for 5 minutes.
STEP THREE– Add lentils, carrots, tomatoes, jalapeño, salt, ancho powder, oregano, smoked paprika, and cumin. Mix together.
STEP FOUR– Add broth, molasses, and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil, and turn down to a simmer with a vented lid for 30 minutes.
STEP FIVE– Add green pepper and simmer 15 minutes more.
Slow Cooker Instructions
STEP ONE– In a skillet, sauté onion in a pan over medium-high heat with oil for 3 minutes until it softens. Add garlic stirring in and add chorizo, sauté for 5 minutes.
STEP TWO– Add the chorizo mixture into the crockpot along with the lentils, carrots, tomatoes, jalapeño, salt, ancho powder, oregano, smoked paprika cumin broth, molasses and cinnamon sticks.
STEP THREE– With the lid on, cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours. Add in the green peppers in the last 30 minutes of cooking.
What To Serve With Chili
Not necessary but it will reduce the cooking time. For some it also helps with digestibility.
Lentils are loaded with nutrients, protein, fiber and iron.
Typically chorizo is made from pork, sometimes a combination of beef and pork.
Typically chorizo is in the medium spice range. Sometimes you can find a range offered from mild to hot.
More Recipes You May Enjoy
Hope you enjoy!
Love this recipe? Please let us know in the comments and leave a 5-star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating below the recipe card.Print
Lentil Chili with Chorizo
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes (stove top)
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: 3 quarts 1x
- Category: main
- Method: stovetop, crockpot
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
Packed with nutrients and comforting flavor, this lentil chili is perfect for fall, from weeknight dinners to weekend gatherings. It saves well, leftovers taste even better! Vegan adaptable.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 pound ground meat chorizo (use veggie meat, turkey, beef, chicken)
- 8 ounces dried brown lentils
- 4 ounces dried red lentils (can sub brown lentils, red makes the chili thicker)
- 2 carrot, sliced in half rounds about 1 1/2 cups
- 15 oz diced tomatoes
- 1 jalapeno, diced (seeds removed or not)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (adjust salt to taste)
- 1 teaspoon ancho powder (use chipotle for spicy)
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 6 cups broth, veggie, chicken or beef
- 1 bell pepper, green or colored, chopped
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (optional-to taste)
For Stove Top
- Sauté onion in a pan over medium high heat with oil for 3 minutes until it starts to soften. Add garlic stirring in and add chorizo, sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add lentils, carrots, tomatoes, jalapeño, salt, ancho powder, oregano, smoked paprika, and cumin. Mix together.
- Add broth, molasses and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer with a vented lid for 30 minutes.
- Add green pepper and simmer 15 minutes more.
- In a skillet, sauté onion in a pan over medium high heat with oil for 3 minutes until it starts to soften. Add garlic stirring in and add chorizo, sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add the chorizo mixture into the crockpot along with the lentils, carrots, tomatoes, jalapeño, salt, ancho powder, oregano, smoked paprika cumin broth, molasses and cinnamon sticks.
- With the lid on, cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours. Add in the green peppers in the last 30 minutes of cooking.
Serve with fresh cilantro and sour cream.
The Lentil Chili will have a thicker consistency when slow cooked in the crockpot.
Taste your broth for salt and adjust recipe measurement if needed. You can always add more to finish!
- Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
- Calories: 281
- Sugar: 9.1 g
- Sodium: 774.9 mg
- Fat: 2.8 g
- Saturated Fat: 1 g
- Carbohydrates: 41 g
- Fiber: 7.9 g
- Protein: 24.3 g
- Cholesterol: 33.9 mg
Keywords: lentil chili, crockpot lentil chili, lentil chili recipe, lentil chili crockpot, lentil chili slow cooker
Loved it 👍
second time making this recipe with veggie-meat and it turned out delicious! This is my favorite go-to site for recipes as they are always a success!
Great to hear!
This is so good! How is it that you always get the seasoning just right? I’m never afraid to try one of your recipes because 99% of the time they are a hit with the whole family. I love all the healthy ingredients – many of which are new to me. Thank you for such a wonderful collection of recipes that have elevated my kitchen game and exposed us to fabulous new meals.
Thanks Jennifer, we love that these recipes are working for you!
Any recommended substitute for molasses?
A teaspoon or two of maple syrup.
Sylvia, I found the texture of this recipe great made fresh. But rather mushy after freezing. Next time, I would defrost it, warm it up a little, blend it, and eat it like hummus with assorted crackers.
That is a good idea M Bee! Good to know on the freezing.
I just found a jar in the freezer that I’d made in Oct. Oh my, it is sooooo good! Panicked for a moment as I didn’t recall from where the recipe came! Crisis averted. 😉 Thank you so much for all of the fabulous recipes. 🥰
Awesome Marla! What a nice find!
Can I sub green lentils in for the brown?
Yes that will work.
Do you use dried lentils or canned lantils for this recipe?
Hey Brent, dried lentils.
I made this chili today in my Instant Pot using hot Italian sausage. It was delicious and I would definitely make it again. Thank you!
Great to hear Susan- can you share the pressure cooking time you used?
I used the slow cooker function on the Instant Pot.
oh great, thank you Susan!
Sylvia, Tonia and Suwannee…thank you for the Lentil Chili recipe. It was delicious! My tip is, if people use jarred dried vegetable broth instead of low sodium liquid variety broth be aware there is already salt in the dried seasoning. I use Plochman’s. So adjust the suggested recipe salt seasoning accordingly.
Oh this is important advice Maureen! I will note the recipe. Thanks!
You’re so welcome! To add: the collaborative efforts by your team to offer easy, quick recipes often with an exotic twist has also restored my interest in cooking, which can get monotonous, lol.
I hear you Maureen, so happy you have felt some inspiration!
Lentils, vegetables and spices all together makes a hot dish. will definitely give it a try.
Great Anuradha, let us know what you think.
Brilliant, economical dish. We tried it tonight and it works so well, with or without the sour cream.
Thanks Erma, glad you enjoyed!