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.

This lentil chili is packed with nutrients and comforting flavor and is perfect for fall, from weeknight dinners to weekend gatherings.  It saves well, and leftovers taste even better!  Vegan adaptable.

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 Instant Pot Chili recipe.

Ingredients In Lentil Chili

Lentils in a white bowl surrounded by ingredients for chili.

Ingredient Notes

  • 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.     

Chorizo Options

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)

Diced onions and garlic on a cutting board with chorizo in the back ground.

Stovetop Lentil Chili

STEP ONE– Sauté onion in a pan over medium-high heat with oil for 3 minutes until it softens.  

Sautéing chorizo and onions in a ceramic pot with a wooden spoon.

STEP TWO– Add garlic stirring in and add chorizo, sauté for 5 minutes.  

All ingredients in Lentil Chili in the ceramic pot.

STEP THREE– Add lentils, carrots, tomatoes, jalapeño, salt, ancho powder, oregano, smoked paprika, and cumin.  Mix together.  

Spices to all to Lentil Chili

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.

Adding the peppers for the last few minutes of cooking the Lentil Chili.

Slow Cooker Lentil Chili 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.  

Cooking the chili in the crockpot, all the ingredients in the pot.

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.

Cook with lid on.

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.

Lentil Chili with Chorizo cooked in a slow cooker/ crockpot.

What To Serve With Lentil Chili

faqs

Do I need to soak lentils?

Not necessary but it will reduce the cooking time. For some it also helps with digestibility.

Are lentils good for you?

Lentils are loaded with nutrients, protein, fiber and iron.

Can you substitute lentils for beans in chili?

Yes!

What is chorizo made of?

Typically chorizo is made from pork, sometimes a combination of beef and pork.

Is chorizo hot or spicy?

Typically chorizo is in the medium spice range. Sometimes you can find a range offered from mild to hot.

More Favorite Chili Recipes!

This lentil chili is packed with nutrients and comforting flavor and is perfect for fall, from weeknight dinners to weekend gatherings.  It saves well, and leftovers taste even better!  Vegan adaptable.

Hope you enjoy!

~Tonia

Love this recipe? Please let us know in the comments and leave a 5-star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating below the recipe card.

Lentil Chili| 60-second video

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This lentil chili is packed with nutrients and comforting flavor and is perfect for fall, from weeknight dinners to weekend gatherings. It saves well, and leftovers taste even better! Vegan adaptable.

Lentil Chili with Chorizo

  • Author: Tonia | Feasting at Home
  • 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

Description

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.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 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)

Instructions

For Stove Top

  1. 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.  
  2. Add lentils, carrots, tomatoes, jalapeño, salt, ancho powder, oregano, smoked paprika, and cumin.  Mix together.  
  3. Add broth, molasses and cinnamon sticks.  Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer with a vented lid for 30 minutes.  
  4. Add green pepper and simmer 15 minutes more.

For Crockpot 

  1. 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.  
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Stir in the apple cider vinegar and adjust seasonings if needed.

Serve with fresh cilantro and sour cream.


Notes

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!

Nutrition

  • 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

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Comments

  1. This was great! I followed the crockpot directions and it was great! The only change I made was to use the Better Than Bouillion Adobo stock in place of the chicken or veggie stock. This was really delicious!

  2. So, so good! I used the crockpot version and the only change I made was to use the Better Than Bouillion Adobo stock in place of the chicken or veggie stock. We wanted chili to watch the UNC-Duke game, but wanted to be healthier. This recipe didn’t disappoint. My husband proclaimed, “This is really good!” Again, we’re so happy with a Feasting at Home recipe.

  3. I haven’t even gotten to the simmering stage yet, and this already tastes incredible! I used my home ground chili powder instead of the cumin/ancho powder mix, as well as our homemade stock. I can tell this will be in the “keeper list”. Made in my trusty enamel Dutch oven.

  4. You did it again with this super delicious recipe! I used our home raised heritage pork chorizo from the freezer. I rough chopped the garlic and used brown lentils. I didn’t have red ones), so I added 2 T of corn flour to thicken a bit. This is a keeper, thanks again!

  5. Thank you for another awesome recipe. I have so many favorites from your site. When do you add the apple cider vinegar? At the end?

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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. 🥰

  10. 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!

  11. 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.
    M.

      1. 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.

  12. Lentils, vegetables and spices all together makes a hot dish. will definitely give it a try.

  13. Brilliant, economical dish. We tried it tonight and it works so well, with or without the sour cream.

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