This Vegetarian Chili is a healthy and immensely satisfying alternative to meat-based varieties. Red lentils provide a protein and fiber rich chili that is thick and savory, and a snap to make. As an added bonus, it’s even better as leftovers and freezes beautifully.
I used the following ingredients for this amazing vegetarian chili: Olive oil, onion, red bell pepper, salt, pepper, jalapeño pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, red lentils, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, black beans and corn.
Making the Vegetarian Chili:
First, I added the onions, diced red pepper, salt, and pepper. I sautéed them in a little bit of olive oil in a Dutch oven set over medium heat. This took 3 to 4 minutes.
Next, I added the chopped jalapeño pepper and minced garlic, and continued cooking over medium heat.
After about 30 seconds, the garlic was fragrant, so I added some of the chili powder, some of the cumin and all of the paprika.
Then, I stirred the mixture to combine everything, and added the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and water.
Next, I brought the vegetarian chili to a boil over medium-high heat and added the red lentils that I had rinsed in cold water and drained. I stirred the mixture to ensure that everything was well combined.
At this point, I reduced the heat to medium-low, and gently simmered the mixture for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, the lentils were mostly tender. I added the drained and rinsed black beans and corn, along with the remainder of the chili powder and cumin.
I brought the vegetarian chili to a boil, reduced the heat to medium-low. Then, I covered the Dutch oven. Finally, I let the mixture simmer for another 20 minutes or so until the onions and peppers were tender. The Vegetarian Chili was full of flavor, filling and absolutely delicious. Yum!
I first posted this amazing Vegetarian Chili on April 21, 2017, but decided to add a video and tinker a bit with the text. I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe. If you’d prefer a meat based chili, you should try my turkey chili. Yum!
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 1 red pepper diced
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 jalapeño pepper seeds discarded, diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 3 Tablespoons chili powder, divided
- 2 Tablespoons ground cumin, divided
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 3 Tablespoons tomato paste (See Tip 1)
- 1 ¾ cup water (See Tip 2) plus more as needed
- ¾ cup dry red lentils rinsed in cold water and drained
- 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 15 ounce can of corn, drained and rinsed
- Heat olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, red pepper, salt and pepper. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add jalapeño and garlic; stir to combine.
- Add 2 Tablespoons chili powder, 1 Tablespoon ground cumin, paprika, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and water; stir to combine. Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat.
- Once boiling, add lentils and reduce heat to medium-low. Gently simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, or until lentils are mostly tender. If necessary, add more water if the mixture is looking too dry.
- Add black beans, corn, remaining 1 Tablespoon chili powder and remaining 1 Tablespoon cumin. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Gently simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until onions and peppers are tender.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more chili powder or cumin for smokiness, salt for saltiness, or a little brown sugar to balance the heat and draw out the other flavors. Serve as is, or garnished with shredded cheese, fresh jalapeño, sliced green onion, diced tomatoes, etc.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to 4 days and in the freezer up to 1 month. Yield: 6 servings. (See Tip 3)
Chula's Expert Tips
- Rather than tomato paste, you can use an 8-ounce can of tomato sauce.
- If using tomato sauce, reduce the water to 1 ½ cups.
- This makes incredible leftovers. For an added variety use in a taco salad. Yum!