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closeup of a white bowl full of lentil chili topped cheese, sour cream and three jalapeno slices with a silver spoon on the side

Lentil Chili

Lentil Chili is wholesome, hearty, delicious, and made with lentils instead of the traditional ground beef for a meatless version the whole family will devour!
Course Chili, Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 307kcal


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bell pepper green or red, diced
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 15 ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can red kidney beans
  • 1 15 ounce can great northern beans
  • ¾ cup dry lentils
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional


  • In a dutch oven or stock pot, add the olive oil, bell pepper and onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often, until onions become soft and translucent.
  • Add in the garlic and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  • Then, add the water and tomato paste and stir until the tomato paste is incorporated.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, lentils, chili powder, cumin, salt, paprika, oregano, and red pepper flakes.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes. If your soup begins to look too dry, feel free to add more water as needed.
  • Add the red kidney beans and great northern beans.
  • Simmer for another 15 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
  • Garnish with traditional toppings! Shredded cheese, sour cream or plain yogurt, diced avocado, sliced jalapenos, tortilla chips.


Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Use vegetable stock or chicken broth instead of the water if desired.
Use canned or dry lentils.
Use any color bell pepper you prefer - red, green, orange or yellow.
Substitute shallots or leeks for the onion, if preferred.
Add a diced jalapeno pepper if you prefer more heat.
Substitute 1 teaspoon garlic powder for the fresh garlic.
Add more water or broth if chili seems to thick.
Use plain or fire roasted diced tomatoes.
Use any lentils you'd like, green brown, orange or red!
Use a packet of chili seasoning if your'd like instead of all the separate spices.
Use all kidney beans or all great northern beans instead of a blend of each. Use any beans you prefer.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 533mg | Potassium: 1013mg | Fiber: 18g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1066IU | Vitamin C: 37mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 6mg