Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili

Yeah, I know, it’s 90 degrees outside and most people don’t want to be eating chili right now, but I’m a year ’round chili eater. Especially back in the day when I worked in a building that kept their AC set to 68 and it felt like winter all year long. I know I’m not the only one who suffers in summertime office AC, so this one goes out to all you fellow members of the always cold club. And the rest of you? Just bookmark this page and set a reminder in your phone to revisit this awesome Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili two months from now. ;)

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili

Two bowls of slow cooker vegetarian chili with chips and other toppings

It’s All About The Toppings…

I’ve written and priced this recipe for Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili as just the chili itself, without toppings because toppings are very personal, and often depends on what is already on hand. I love adding something creamy (cheese, sour cream, or avocado), something green (green onion, cilantro, or avocado), and sometimes something starchy (tortilla chips, oyster crackers, cornbread, or crusty bread for dipping). Make the chili your own with the toppings and take advantage of this opportunity to use up some leftovers from your fridge!

Vegetarian or Vegan?

The chili itself is actually vegan! But I titled it with vegetarian because I’m picturing it with non-vegan toppings, but you can customize that to your needs. ;)

Freezer Friendly

This chili is extremely freezer friendly, so as soon as you’re done cooking it, I suggest dividing it into single portions. Once those portions have cooled completely in the fridge, transfer at least a few to your freezer for long term storage. You can take one out at a time whenever the craving for chili hits and reheat either in the microwave or in a pot on the stove.

This Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili makes a huge batch, is packed with flavor and nutrients, and can be made for only about 5 dollars! Budgetbytes.com
Print Recipe
4.93 from 38 votes

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili

This Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili makes a huge batch, is packed with flavor and nutrients, and can be made for only about 5 dollars! 
Keyword: easy, gluten free, Slow Cooker, Vegan, Vegetarian
Total Cost: $4.64 recipe / $0.77 serving
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 4 hrs
Total Time: 4 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 6 1.5 cups each

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion ($0.33)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 15oz. can petite diced tomatoes (with juices) ($0.48)
  • 1 6oz. can tomato paste ($0.48)
  • 1 15oz. can black beans, drained ($0.59)
  • 1 15oz. can kidney beans, drained ($0.59)
  • 1 cup brown lentils, uncooked ($0.70)
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder ($0.30)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika ($0.10)
  • 1 tsp cumin ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.03)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.03)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • freshly cracked pepper ($0.03)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil* ($0.13)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth ($0.52)

Instructions

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the onion and garlic to the slow cooker, along with all the other ingredients to the slow cooker. Stir the ingredients in the slow cooker to combine.
  • Place a lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours (or low for 8 hours). After cooking, the lentils should be tender. Taste the chili and add salt to taste, if needed (this will depend on the salt content of your broth). 
  • Serve the chili hot, with your favorite toppings.

Notes

*I like to use coconut oil because it has a similar mouth feel to animal fat, but it does give a slight coconut aroma to the chili. Feel free to use your favorite oil or fat in its place.
Tried this recipe?Mention @budgetbytes or tag #budgetbytes on Instagram!

Front view of a bowl of Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili with cheese and sour cream on top

A bowl of Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili with avocado and tortilla chips

Step by Step Photos

Onion Garlic Tomatoes in Slow Cooker

Dice one onion and mince two cloves of garlic. Add the onion and garlic to the slow cooker along with one 15 oz. can petite diced tomatoes (with their juices), one 6 oz. can of tomato paste…

Beans and Lentils in Slow Cooker

One 15 oz. can black beans (drained), one 15 oz. can kidney beans (drained), one cup of uncooked brown lentils…

Add chili spices to slow cooker

1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper (about 20 cranks of a pepper mill). If you don’t have a well stocked spice cabinet, you can substitute one packet of store bought chili seasoning.

Add broth to slow cooker

Also add 4 cups vegetable broth and 2 Tbsp coconut oil. I like to use coconut oil because it has a similar mouth feel to animal fats (because it’s a solid saturated fat), but you can use your favorite fat or oil in its place. Give everything a good stir to distribute the spices and tomato paste.

Cook Vegetarian Lentil Chili

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours (or low for eight hours). Once it has cooked the lentils should be tender. Give it a taste and add salt if needed.

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili ready to top

Then grab whatever toppings you have in your fridge and GO TO TOWN.

Dressed bowls of Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili with various toppings on the side

Each bowl can be unique, which means leftovers of this Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili will be a little less tiring…

A close up view of a bowl of Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili fully dressed with avocado, sour cream, cheese, and chips

But don’t you just want to dive in, tho?? 🤤