My Easy Lentil Chili recipe is a quick weeknight meal for when you need to get warm, cozy, and well fed in 30 minutes. This is one plant based chili that actually satisfies. And yes, those are Fritos on top…you’re welcome.
Lentils replace the meat in this healthy plant based chili recipe
Did you know that beans are a great substitute for meat? They contain lots of protein, and they provide a chewy texture that mimics meat. The lentils in this chili give a ground beef vibe, for sure. And beans can take on many different flavor profiles, so they work well in soups, chilis, stews, and curries.
Want to live longer? Eat more beans!
- That’s right, beans have been identified as a common theme in so many of the diets of the longest lived people on earth.
Plant based eating doesn’t have to mean lab created meat protein or other artificial ingredients.
I use dried beans in my cooking to transition over to more meatless meals. And in my experience ingredients like beans (and mushrooms, too) help bridge the gap for people who are more attached to the meat in their diet (ahem, my husband.) If you build in enough flavor into your lentil chili, no one will even notice the meat is gone.
Lentils cook quickly, making them ideal for weeknight meals
Topping ideas for lentil chili
Like with so many meals, the toppings add a lot to the fun and flavor of this meal.
- avocado (drizzle with lemon juice to prevent it from browning.)
- sour cream (also yogurt, or Mexican crema.)
- jalapeños, finely minced
- green onions, sliced
- cilantro leaves
- Fritos or other corn chips give this healthy meal a little edge.
- shredded cheese
- sliced olives
More delicious ways to incorporate healthy beans into your menu~
- Italian White Bean Soup with Sausage Meatballs
- Chicken Thighs with White Beans and Wilted Greens
- Mediterranean Bean Salad
- Cowboy Caviar
Easy Lentil Chili
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
- 12 ounce bottle of your favorite beer, I used Corona
- 15 ounces vegetable, chicken, or beef stock
- 1 1/4 cups small French lentils, rinsed
- 1 or 2 canned chilies in adobo sauce, chopped (use the whole can if you like the heat)
- 1 heaped Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 heaped Tablespoon ground cumin
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- juice of 1 lime, optional
- sour cream
- fresh cilantro
- green onions
- Fritos corn chips
- Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil in a large stock pot. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, until the onions are softened.
- Add the canned tomatoes, beer, stock, lentils, chilies, chili powder, and cumin to the pot and combine well. Add a teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat way down and gently simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. I like to cover the pot but you can leave it off for a thicker chili.
- Taste the chili and add more salt if you like. Add the lime juice if using. Serve with the toppings of your choice.
notes and variations