This protein-packed Vegetarian Three Bean & Lentil Chili recipe simmers away in your slow cooker all day to hearty perfection.
Hey! I was so glad to see lentils back in this week’s ALDI ad (why are they “seasonal” there, anyway?), that I decided to use some of mine in a big batch of chili yesterday. In honor of Meatless Monday, I also decided to make it a Vegetarian Three Bean & Lentil Chili. And, in honor of my busy day running around in circles, I lastly decided to make it a vegetarian Crock-Pot chili recipe.
No watery chili here; this meatless bean & lentil chili recipe is sooo very thick, hearty, and filling. (The chili itself is also gluten free & completely vegan — assuming, of course, that you don’t top yours with cheese as I chose to here.)
Because we want simple in any vegetarian Crock-Pot chili recipe, this comes together easily with mostly pantry staples. It’s an easy meal to throw into your slow cooker in the morning when you know you’ll have a busy evening ahead. Plus: There’s nothing better than the leftovers from a big batch of chili!
Chili leftovers always keep and reheat really well, too; it’s one of those foods that’s often even better the next day. I actually did a little meal prep with mine last night (hence the terrible kitchen counter lighting on the above photo), and just enjoyed one of these containers for lunch.
ALDI actually had a set of two compartment meal prep containers on sale last week, but I usually prefer these three compartment ones.
Vegetarian Three Bean & Lentil Chili
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic (about six cloves)
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup green lentils, rinsed, drained, and picked through
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 can kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 can Great Northern beans, rinsed & drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
6 oz can tomato paste
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp packed brown sugar
1 tsp unsweetened baking cocoa
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt, plus additional to taste
Chop onion, bell pepper, and garlic.
Add all ingredients to a larger slow cooker (I used my seven quart Crock-Pot). Stir to combine, then cook on low for 8 hours, until lentils are tender.
Stir the finished chili, then taste and add a little more salt, if desired — I gave mine just a few extra grinds of sea salt at the end, and it was perfect. Serve with your favorite chili toppings.
Note: You’ll see a little bit of brown sugar in this recipe. It’s not much when spread out across eight servings — but thought I’d mention, given that I don’t usually include sugar in my chili recipes. Lentils can impart some bitterness, and this is just enough sweetness to balance that out.
A protein packed chili for a chilly day
This particular vegetarian slow cooker chili recipe might seem a little soupy when you first add all the ingredients to the crock, but it thickens up beautifully while cooking. Let’s hear it for simple vegetarian comfort food! Three bean & lentil chili isn’t especially spicy, but has just enough heat to warm you up on a cold winter’s day.
If you haven’t cooked with green lentils before, they tend to hold their shape and retain a bit more firmness than some other lentil varieties. This makes them a super-satisfying choice to add texture to your finished pot of chili. (You can, of course, substitute a different lentil variety if you prefer.)
More recipe options?
Looking for more vegetarian recipe ideas? Take a few minutes to browse through the Meatless Monday category for additional dinner options. Plus:
- In a hurry, and prefer a vegetarian chili that you don’t need to take the time to slow cook? Also check out this easy vegetarian black bean chili recipe.
- Or, if you’re looking for a way to help use up the rest of your bag of green lentils, don’t miss slow cooker lentil & smoked sausage soup.
Vegetarian three bean + lentil chili, printable recipe
Vegetarian Three Bean & Lentil Chili
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic about six cloves
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup green lentils rinsed, drained, and picked through
- 1 can black beans rinsed & drained
- 1 can kidney beans rinsed & drained
- 1 can Great Northern beans rinsed & drained
- 1 can corn drained
- 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 6 oz can tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp unsweetened baking cocoa
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt plus additional to taste
- Chop onion, bell pepper, and garlic.
- Add all ingredients to a larger slow cooker (I used my seven quart Crock-Pot).
- Stir to combine, then cook on low for 8 hours, until lentils are tender.
- Stir the finished chili, then taste and add a little more salt, if desired — I gave mine just a few extra grinds of sea salt at the end, and it was perfect.
- Serve with your favorite chili toppings.
Recipes in the real world
Be sure not to miss the free weekly ALDI meal plans, which show you how to use these easy family recipes to meal plan affordably and realistically for your family. Or, find more recipe ideas with the Recipe Search!