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Easy Red Lentil Chili Recipe

Perfect simply spiced red lentil chili made in under 45 minutes with a simple hands-off approach, and it’s vegan too! Leftovers taste even more AMAZING so if you make extra we won’t blame you!

Close up of red lentils and avocado in a grey bowl

If you love easy recipes and you love red lentils, then this easy red lentil chili recipe from Dianne Wenz’s Eating Vegan cookbook is definitely for you.

On the other hand, if you fancy your chili a bit more complex, have a look at my chocolate coffee Guinness chili. If you’re looking for more easy lentil dishes, this light lemon lentil soup or dal makhani might be up your alley.

Dianne Wenz is a certified vegan health and lifestyle coach and what I love about this recipe book is that she has included so many recipes that are uncomplicated and don’t require a million ingredients, perfect for beginner plant-based eaters and fed-up cooks alike.

As a bonus, I’ve noticed that a lot of the recipes are quite low on calories!

I have been absolutely delighted with this recipe book. I’m actually vegetarian but allergic to eggs and my son is allergic to both eggs and dairy so we mainly eat vegan in my household.

It’s a pleasingly hefty book with 158 pages and an impressive 75 recipes and is aimed at plant-based beginners. The recipes are really easy but have impressive results and were simple enough that my eight-year could get his head around them (albeit not cook them himself) and really get into meal planning with the recipes within.

Two bowls of lentil chili with tortilla chips on the side

Just a selection of the super simple but delicious recipes in the cookbook include:

  • Breakfast tacos
  • Banana bread pancakes
  • Buffalo chickpea salad
  • Miso Ramen
  • Strawberry and feta bruschetta
  • Seitan Shawarma
  • Fully loaded vegetable pizza
  • Snickerdoodle cookie dough dip
  • Peanut butter truffles

Hello, whose mouth is not watering right now?

I picked this deceptively easy red lentil chili, due to having massive amounts of legumes at home (we can’t be the only veggies in this boat right now) to share and we’ve been noshing down on it every since.

This is what Dianne had to say about her lovely red lentil chili “Who doesn’t love chili? It’s hearty and filling, and a great dish for hiding veggies from picky eaters. If you have extra time, add some diced carrot, cubed butternut squash, and even a handful of finely chopped kale”.

Well, I certainly won’t say no to stuffing my kids (or myself) with extra and nutritious veggies!

A bowl of chili with jalapeños and tofu sour cream

How to make it

This easy vegan red lentil chili comes together in no time, even more so if you have a food processor to handle the minimal chopping. I’ve outlined the steps below along with some photos in case you have any doubts at any point or feel you might be going wrong.

First, simply chop the onion and red pepper and sauté in the vegetable oil over a medium-high heat in a stockpot for five minutes. Any mild-flavored oil such as sunflower or canola will do, or you can even use olive oil.

Chopped red peppers and onions in a pan

You’re looking to soften the vegetables, not char them. Next, add the minced garlic (I’m lazy and just press the garlic instead) and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes until the raw garlic smell has gone.

Add in the vegetable stock, red lentils, tinned chopped tomatoes and the chili powder. I find chili powder very hard to find where I live so I make up my own following this quick chili powder recipe.

Tomato sauce and herbs in a pan

Note that chili powder is NOT the same as powdered chili or cayenne pepper, it’s a blend of different spices.

Bring to the boil and then lower the heat to a medium-low temperature (I set it to about 4 on the induction hob) to keep it gently simmering.

Set a timer for 20 minutes and stir every now and then. I didn’t have any issues with the lentils sticking to the bottom of the bot, due to the gentle heat, and my lentils were done at around 15 minutes but those extra five minutes help to thicken the chili.

Red lentils and tomato in a pan

Taste and add salt and pepper. I used about 3/4 teaspoon of salt but it will depend on the salt content of the vegetable stock and how salty you like your food.

This is a really simple tasty recipe and you can serve it right away, but I find the flavours really deepen the longer you let it sit and it’s even better the next day.

As it’s so simple, the chili fixings will really make the dish. Dianne Wenz recommends serving it with chopped avocado, tofu sour cream (great recipe in her Eating Vegan recipe book) and jalapeño slices and I also add a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.

It’s also divine with some grated vegan cheese and extra chopped tomatoes and onions sprinkled on top.

Did you make this recipe? Let me know how much you loved it with a star rating in the recipe box, review, or comment below.

Or take a picture and tag me on Instagram (@the_fiery_vegetarian) or connect with me on Facebook, I love seeing all your creations!

If you just can’t wait to get your hands on more of Dianne Wenz’s easy recipes, then get her Eating Vegan cookbook on Amazon today or check out her blog, Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen.

Recipe is reprinted from Eating Vegan: A Plant-Based Cookbook for Beginners by Dianne Wenz, published by Rockridge Press. Copyright © 2020 by Callisto Media, Inc. All rights reserved (shared with permission).

Yield: 4 servings

Easy Red Lentil Chili Recipe

A bowl of chili with jalapeños and tofu sour cream

Easy lightly spiced vegan red lentil chili, perfect for beginners and ready in under 45 minutes.

Excerpt from Eating Vegan, by Dianne Wenz, published by Rockridge Press. Copyright © 2020 by Callisto Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onion and red bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.
  2. Stir in the vegetable stock, lentils, tomatoes, and chili powder. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are fully cooked and the chili has thickened.
  3. Taste and season with salt and pepper.


Slow cooker tip: if you have a slow cooker, combine the ingredients in it, cover the cooker and cook the chili on low heat for 8 hours.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 125Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 0mgSodium 935mgCarbohydrates 20gFiber 7gSugar 5gProtein 6g

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