Vegan/Vegetarian Lentil Chili Recipe (For Meat Free Monday or Any Other Day of the Week)

Vegan/Vegetarian Lentil Chili Recipe (For Meat Free Monday or Any Other Day of the Week)


I’ve come up with a vegetarian lentil chili recipe I’m really pleased with. A number of years ago, I heard about Meat Free Monday and stopped eating meat on Mondays. For a while now, I’ve been trying to develop a good vegetarian chili sin carne. I say “sin carne” because it’s impossible to have a vegetarian chili con carne. In Spanish, chili con carne translates to chili with meat. Sin carne means without meat.

I already had a chili sin carne recipe I was reasonably happy with but, for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been experimenting with a vegetarian lentil chili and find I like it better than my other recipe. The recipe is suitable for vegans and takes less than an hour to prepare and cook.

A year ago, I shared my lentil curry recipe via this blog. I’ve noticed the page gets a reasonable amount of visitors so I’ve decided to share this recipe as well. It’s quick, easy, and nutritious. It also tastes pretty good. That’s just my opinion, of course, but if you try my vegetarian lentil chili recipe, please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Prep Time Cook Time Ready Time
15-20 mins 40 minutes 55-60 minutes

Portion Size and Servings

Each batch should be enough to serve three to four people or provide three to four meals if you are only cooking for yourself.



Lentil Chili Ingredients

1 x Large Onion

2 x Cloves Garlic

1 x Medium Red Pepper

500 g Tomato Juice

1 x Cup Red Lentils

1 x Cup water

2 x Heaped Teaspoons Ground Cumin

1 x Heaped Teaspoon Chili Powder

240g Tin Red Kidney Beans

Splash of Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to Taste


How to Make the Lentil Chili

Frying Onions and PepperThis vegetarian lentil chilli recipe works best if you cook it in a pressure cooker. You can also use a normal pan, but it may add a further 15-20 minutes to the cooking time.

First of all, add some olive oil to the pan. About a tablespoon’s worth is about right. You could actually use just about any type of oil, but I always use olive oil because I know it’s one of the healthiest options.

Roughly chop the onion and add it to the pan. The garlic goes in next. If you have access to a garlic press, that’s probably the best way to go. If you don’t, chopping it fine is the next best thing. Chop the red pepper and add that as well.

Using a high heat, cook the vegetables until the onions start to look a little transparent. Then remove the pan from the heat and add the ground cumin, chili powder. Toss in a little salt and a sprinkle of black pepper. Stir the vegetables until they are coated with the spices and then cover the pan.

Next, wash the lentils. If you have one a sieve works best. I seldom have access to one and have to wash the lentils in a pan and keep draining the water until it looks reasonably clear. When you are satisfied the lentils are clean toss them into the pan as well. Drain the fluid from the kidney beans and toss them in ass well.

Add the tomato juice and the cup of water and return the pressure cooker/pan to the heat. When it starts to bubble turn the heat down low, put on the lid and allow the mixture to simmer.

After 20 minutes, remove the lid and give the mixture a good stir. This helps breakdown the lentils to thicken the sauce. After a couple of minutes or so you should be able to see and feel the difference in texture. Check the taste and add extra chili pepper, salt or pepper if required. Return the lid and allow the mixture to simmer a little longer while you prepare the rice.

Allow one small cup of rice per person/portion. Long grain white rice works best. It may take up to five minutes to clean the rice.

When the rice is clean add it to a suitably-sized pan. Add one cup of water for each cup of rice and toss in a pinch of salt.

As soon as the rice starts to bubble, turn the heat down low and place a lid on the pan. Allow it to simmer for 13 minutes and don’t be tempted to lift the lid.

After the 13 minutes are up, remove the pan from the heat, but don’t lift the lid. Let the pan sit for three minutes. The bottom of the pan is no longer over the heat and the presence of the steam in the pan help unstick any rice that may have adhered t the bottom of the pan.

When the three minutes are up, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. There should be no excess water to drain. Now it’s just a case of making a bed of rice on a plate or in a dish and adding two to three ladles of chili.

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