Hearty Beluga Lentil Vegan Chili

Beluga Lentil Vegan Chili – Healthy, Hearty, Plant-Based, Oil-Free, Gluten-Free, Comfort Food Soup, Stew Recipe

Medium |  Servings: 6 |  Ready In: 35 minutes |  Yield: 10 to 12 Cups

This hearty vegan chili uses black Beluga lentils, which resemble the texture and size of ground meat.  You can use also use brown lentils or even crumbled tempeh for healthy vegan protein.  Make a big batch of this fat-free, gluten-free recipe in the Slow Cooker.  Serve it with Gluten-Free Cornbread and Guacamole for a satisfying, healthy game-day entertaining meal.


  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Black Beluga lentils (or other petite brown or green lentil), uncooked
  • 1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Diced avocado, sliced radish, minced onion, or minced jalapeno, for serving

How It’s Done:

To make Hearty Beluga Lentil Vegan Chili: Heat a dry pot over medium-high heat. No oil needed. Add the onion and bell pepper.  Sauté until slightly browned, about 7-10 minutes, stirring often.

Add chili powder, cumin, and garlic. Cook just another minute or two, until aromatic.

Add tomato paste and cook just a minute or two, to lightly caramelize. The tomato paste will darken as the sugars caramelize.

Add the vinegar to deglaze the pan. Use your spoon to scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pan.

Add the lentils, tomatoes, and enough water to cover everything, about 2 cups. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until lentils are soft, about 20 minutes. Add the beans during the last 5 minutes or so of cooking. This helps them retain some texture.

Skim off any tomato “foam”.  Taste to check seasoning.

Serve with diced avocado, crumbled corn bread, or any other favorite topping

Yield: 10 to 12 cups

Chef Katie’s Tips:

Lentil Options: Black Beluga lentils are my favorite for this meat-free chili. Au Puy (petite French lentils) or any other small green or brown lentil will work.

Control the Spice: If you prefer more spice, add 1 jalapeno (minced) to the chili.  Cook it when you sauté the onions and bell pepper.

Salt at the End: Don’t salt the lentils until the end of cooking.  Otherwise, the salt will toughen the lentils and it will take forever for the them to cook!

Slow Cooker or Instapot: For the Slow-Cooker, combine everything except the red kidney beans and set on Low for 6 to 8 hours.  Remember not to add salt until the end of cooking, as it will toughen the lentils.  For the Instapot, sauté the onions and bell pepper first, then add the lentils.  Choose “Bean” or “Lentil” setting for the appropriate cooking time.

Other Uses: This chili can be transformed for a variety of healthy dinners.  Use as a topping over baked russet potatoes. Combine with cooked whole wheat macaroni for Chili Mac. Pour over baked tortilla chips for loaded nachos.

Watch to Learn More:

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving (about 1 1/2 cups)

Calories 171.73
Calories From Fat (5%) 7.74
% Daily Value

  • Total Fat 0.92g 1%
  • Saturated Fat 0.15g <1%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 203.36mg 8%
  • Potassium 821.22mg 23%
  • Total Carbohydrates 32.71g 11%
  • Fiber 12.49g 50%
  • Sugar 6.07g
  • Protein 11.08g 22%
  • Calcium 27.99mg 3%
  • Iron 101.63mg 565%
  • Vitamin A 1532.84IU 31%
  • Vitamin C 6687.62mg 11146%

Shopping and Gear List

  • Shiloh Farms, Organic Petite Black Lentils, 16 Ounces
  • McCormick Gourmet Organic Ground Cumin, 1.5 oz
  • Frontier Co-op Organic Chili Powder Blend, 1 Pound Bulk Bag


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