Wholesome Vegan Chili With Lentils

on June 26, 2020
last updated on August 17, 2021
5 from 1 vote

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The epitome of heartiness and warmth, this Wholesome Vegan Chili with Lentils is comfort food at it's finest. It's subtle spice and meaty texture will keep you satisfied for hours!
Vegan Chili With Lentils - Featured Image

Looking for a wholesome family-style meal, but don’t have time or energy to stand over a hot stove for hours?

This Vegan Chili With Lentils only requires one pot, a handful of ingredients, and a casual 10 minutes of your time before it does all the work for you on its own.

Totally dreamy, right?

Vegan Chili With Lentils - On Wooden Tray

Sometimes I want to cook a warm, cozy family meal, but I only have two minutes here and there in between diaper changes, chasing a new crawler around the house, and cranking out baby food and bottles.

As a new mom, I appreciate this Wholesome Vegan Chili With Lentils recipe more than ever because you just sort of dump all the ingredients in, leave it on the stove, and let it work its magic.

It makes meals FOR DAYS and is one of those foods that actually may even taste better as leftovers.

My best friend’s mom made THE BEST turkey chili growing up, and we would just sit on the couch and eat it by the pound with our favorite blue corn tortilla chips.

And with a full-time job, three kids, and ALL their friends constantly running around her house I am now realizing how GENIUS making this dish was. Throw it in the pot and feed a small army with it.

So as soon as I became a mom I was like “okay, time to perfect a meatless chili”. This wholesome vegan chili with lentils gives me all the nostalgia, heartiness, and flavor of Helaine’s famous turkey chili, but just without the meat.

Vegan Chili With Lentils - Holding Mug

Wholesome Vegan Chili With Lentils Main Ingredients

Every good chili has a mix of beans, seasoning, and a healthy amount of garlic and onion, but this chili has two unique ingredients that make it stand out.

Corn is a highly debated chili add-in, but I would never chili without the corn. While classic chili leaves it out, you will find it in most southwestern style chili’s, and here’s why it’s an absolute YES in my book.

Between the beans, the lentils (or meat), and the warm spices, chili is a HEAVY dish.

It is begging for something slightly sweet and fresh to break up your bite. Corn can successfully stew for 2+ hours while retaining its crisp, juicy, freshness. Plus, it doesn’t interrupt the texture.

Let’s talk lentils! They are such a great plant-based protein. They have a meaty texture, absorb flavor well, and are packed with fiber and vitamin B.

They’re great in veggie burgers and as a meat-alternative in tacos, and you guessed it! GREAT in vegan chili! I used to make this the exact same way without the lentils and just felt something was missing.

This “beefs” it up (pun intended) and gives it that heartiness any true chili achieves.

Green Tip: Consider using legumes as your main protein source in family meals instead of meat. Factory farming is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, water contamination, and deforestation.

Reducing your meat consumption is a great way to lower the demand for animal products.

Vegan Chili With Lentils - Portrait

How To Serve Wholesome Vegan Chili With Lentils

The short answer is with anything and everything. But, I’ll share my top five faves for my wholesome vegan chili with lentils:

Smothered in cheese and served as a dip with chips. Chili makes for THE ULTIMATE dip. I like it best with cheddar cheese.

There are some really awesome vegan cheddar options that melt well, but my favorite is Violife Just Like Cheddar Shreds. Or just leave off the cheese and dive right in with the tortilla chips.

Over pasta. No, I’m not crazy. It’s awesome. We had a local chili restaurant growing up that introduced me to this unlikely combo and it’s A+. I like it best with penne. But I can make an argument for spaghetti, too.

On a bun. It’s basically a sloppy joe. Enough said.

Over quinoa or rice. Add some cheese, and guacamole and you have the perfect Tex-Mex bowl. You can also add some veggies and red onion to bulk it up and hit every flavor note.

In a tortilla with lime. Like a taco. Or in a burrito-sized tortilla and add some rice and other fixings, too.

So, there ya have it! The easiest, most filling, ever-versatile, healthy and hearty, almost-every-diet-friendly chili recipe you never knew how much you needed. The epitome of heartiness and warmth and comfort food at its finest.

For other vegan dinner ideas, check out these Meatless Chickpea Meatballs in Marinara and these Smoky and Spicy Black Bean Burgers!

Wholesome Vegan Chili With Lentils

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Marley Goldin Course: DinnerCuisine: Mexican


Prep time


Total time





The epitome of heartiness and warmth, this Wholesome Vegan Chili with Lentils is comfort food at its finest. Its subtle spice and meaty texture will keep you satisfied for hours!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 large yellow onion

  • 5 cloves garlic

  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes (no salt added)

  • 15.5 ounces (1 can) black beans

  • 15 ounces white kennel corn (frozen)

  • 1 cup lentils (uncooked)

  • 2 tablespoons chili seasoning

  • 1 cup vegetable broth

  • Optional Toppings
  • 1/4 cup cheese per serving

  • 1 raw scallion

  • 1 Handful cilantro

  • 1/2 avocado


  • Dice onions and cook in a large pot or Dutch oven with a lid with olive oil for about 5 minutes, just to release some of their juices.
  • Add all remaining ingredients except for optional toppings. Mix well, cover, and simmer on low for about two hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve warm with cheddar cheese (Violife is my favorite vegan option- it melts well!), scallions, avocado and/or cilantro.

Pro Tips

  • Try making your own seasoning. I even have a go-to chili and taco seasoning recipe for you. It’s simple and let’s face it—nothing is better than fresh and homemade!
  • You can leave it more than two hours to simmer, just make sure you are stirring so it doesn’t stick to the bottom. The longer the flavors have to meld together the better.

    However, you may need to add more veggie broth if the chili starts to get dry. Just check it and stir it every 30-45 minutes or so.

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2 thoughts on “Wholesome Vegan Chili With Lentils”

  1. Nancy Sheintal

    This Lentil Chili recipe Is AWESOME!!! You need to make a cookbook with these recipes. I am really impressed that you have recipes for EVERYONE on your blog❣️❣️

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