Easy Lentil Chili Recipe

eating a bowl of healthy lentil chili

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.


easy lentil chili in a white bowl

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.

Taking a bite of lentil chili

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

eating a bowl of healthy lentil chili

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

a bowl of meatless lentil chili

More delicious ways to incorporate healthy beans into your menu~

eating a bowl of healthy lentil chili
4.86 from 7 votes

Easy Lentil Chili

Easy Lentil Chili 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.  
Course 30 minute dinner
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Yield 8 servings
Calories 191kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 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
  • avocado
  • 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.

Cook's notes

If you use a different variety of lentils, you cooking time may be shorter.  I recommend French lentils because they keep their shape and don't turn to mush like regular lentils do.
Sometimes I like to add a jar of roasted red peppers, pureed in the food processor, to the chili.  This adds another layer of flavor.


Calories: 191kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 348mg | Potassium: 612mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 338IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 4mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

lentil chili pin


email sign up prompt

You Might Also Like


    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    October 18, 2020 at 11:58 am

    This sound GREAT…except for the beer (I can’t stand the smell or taste of it, and the taste of hops lingers after cooking.). Would you recommend I substitute an additional amount of broth?

    • Reply
      October 18, 2020 at 12:42 pm

      Yes, for sure.

  • Reply
    February 2, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    5 stars
    I loved this recipe

    • Reply
      February 2, 2020 at 7:29 pm

      Yay ~ thanks Mindee!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    5 stars
    Sue, I love lentils and appreciate this recipe! They are delicious and nutritious! And I imagine awesome in chili! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Reply
      January 21, 2020 at 5:50 pm

      5 stars
      This is a great chili recipe. I cut the recipe in half and made it tonight for two people. I recommend using the French Lentils both for taste and texture. My vegetarian husband loved it. I reduced the spices by about 1/3 mainly because I’m not a fan of cumin. I also added a chopped up jalapeño since I had one. I served it with grated cheese, fresh chopped onion, cilantro, sour cream and a couple of warmed corn tortillas. We had a few corn chips but loved the softened warmed corn tortilla with it. Excellent!

      • Reply
        January 21, 2020 at 8:03 pm

        Thanks Marta ~ my husband is a confirmed meat lover and he approved too!

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!


Get my tips, tricks & recipes for easy

foolproof baking


logo png