Meet Alex Caspero
Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.
This high-protein instant pot vegan chili is made with lentils, jalapeños and fire-roasted tomatoes. Gluten-free with slow cooker + stove top directions.
Introducing my new weeknight favorite– Instant Pot lentil chili. I bought an instant pot a few months ago on an Amazon sale and I fell hard in love. I didn’t think I was going to go this ga-ga for an appliance but once I found the Instant Pot, I haven’t given a second look to my slow-cooker or rice-cooker. An appliance that makes meals in a fraction of the time? Sign me up.
Newborn life means that I’ve got very little time to do anything, let alone made dinner. I think this is the biggest surprise that I’ve found so far; I spend pretty much all day doing nothing, yet I don’t have time for anything.
Our babe is a super snuggly one and prefers being in his mama’s arms to just about anything else. It’s magical- except when I want to cook, eat or do anything but hold him. But, I know this time is so fleeting and the fourth trimester is almost through, so I’m holding him tight and making sure my husband knows his way around the Instant Pot.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this vegan lentil chili.
To cook in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker, start by pressing the sauté button. Heat the olive oil, then add the onion, garlic, carrots and jalapeños and cook until soft, taking care not to burn, about 5-6 minutes.
Add in the spices and all of the remaining ingredients: canned crushed tomatoes, canned fire roasted diced tomatoes, lentils and vegetable broth. Cover and turn the vent to seal. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes, then turn the pressure valve to open for a quick release of pressure.
Stir in lime juice and fresh chopped cilantro. Taste, adjusting for flavor as desired, and serve.
This recipe is pretty straight forward, and can be adapted for the slow cooker as well. I know not everyone is an Instant Pot convert like me, so I’ve included preparations for both.
To make in the slow-cooker, sauté the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots and jalapeño and sauté until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
Stir in the spices and cook an additional minute. Transfer the entire mixture to the slow cooker along with remaining ingredients except for lime juice and cilantro and cook on high for 4 hours until lentils are tender. Right before serving, stir in the lime juice and cilantro.
To cook on the stove, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots and jalapeño and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the spices and cook until just fragrant. Reduce heat to low and add in the canned crushed and diced tomatoes along with the lentils and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until lentils are cooked through, about 25 minutes.
Stir in the lime juice and fresh chopped cilantro right before finished and enjoy.
This Instant Pot Chili recipe is very adaptable, depending on how you like your vegan chili! For a spicier chili, add in cayenne pepper or more chili powder.
If you like your chili to have more beans, then you can swap in some of the lentils for black beans, kidney beans or pinto beans. Because these beans have varying cooking time using dried beans, I’d recommend canned beans.
My favorite thing about chili is enjoying all of the toppings! Crushed tortilla chips, diced avocado, sour cream (regular or dairy-free, depending on preference) and/or shredded cheese.
We also love this chili served with whole-grain elbow noodles or brown rice. It’s also delicious served with my no-knead bread made in the Instant Pot!
To store, let the vegan chili cool completely then place in an airtight container. Place in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 3-4 months. To serve, thaw overnight in the fridge then warm the chili in a saucepan or microwave until warmed through.
Instant Pot Quinoa Enchiladas
Vegan Burrito Bowls
Instant Pot Chai Applesauce
Thick, hearty and packed with plant-based protein. You’re going to love this Instant Pot vegan lentil chili. If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking!Print
Instant Pot Vegan Lentil Chili! Looking for a healthy, quick chili? Try this vegan and gluten-free lentil chili, with directions for the slow-cooker.
To make in the slow-cooker, saute the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots and jalapeno and saute until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
Stir in the spices and cook an additional minute. Transfer the entire mixture to the slow cooker along with remaining ingredients except for lime and cilantro and cook on high for 4 hours until lentils are tender. Stir in lime juice and cilantro and serve.
This recipe was first published in 2017 and updated in 2022.
The Ultimate Plant-Based Protein Cookbook + Course
(Includes 40+ recipes!)
FREE 7-DAY COURSE + COOKBOOK
(31 comments) leave a comment
it’s cooking now. I used red lentils. Hope this looks ok. The IP has a bean/chili setting for 30 min. That would be too much??
Hi Corey- red lentils will alter the dish slightly; they break down as opposed to brown or green lentils, so the chili will be more like a soup. Should still taste good! I think it’s too much, especially with red lentils. I would use 15 minutes.
Is this very spicy?
Hi Christina, you can adjust the spice level as needed.
I made this tonight for some vegan friends and it was a huge hit! I’ll be making it for myself at some point. Thanks!
So glad you liked it!
Really enjoyed this and will be making it again. I made a few tweaks, just based on what I had in and personal preference. I enjoy vegan dishes, but ended up adding a beef stock pot to it. Added a red bell pepper, just because I had one and it was an easy way to add more veg. I didn’t have any fire-roasted tomatoes, so added a dash of liquid smoke. In the end, my chili was quite thin, likely because I didn’t have dried lentils and had to use tinned. To thicken it up a bit, I added a tin of black beans, a tin of kidney beans, and a tin of haricot beans. Am listing all this here, as my partner really liked it and said she hopes I can remember how I made it. 🙂 Flavours were spot on, and the lime really added a nice touch. Will be making it again; thanks!
So glad you liked it!
Can I halve the recipe and it would still turn out? Cooking just for 1!
Hi Ali, I don’t know- I haven’t tried it but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work! If you try it, let me know. Though- this recipe does freezer very, very well!
What is the nutritional value for this dish? I’m mainly interested in the amount of carbs per serving.
Just updated the nutrition information; it’s 62g carbs, 12g fiber and 19g protein.
I am not vegan, although I am trying to eat a more plant based diet and I do need vegan recipes for when my daughter comes to dinner. I love this one, easy to make, tastes great and freezes well.
So glad you liked it! Thanks Karen!
Delish and was a great hearty meal for a cold night. Just a question is the 1.5 tbsp of chilli powder a typo? Because I used less than half of that and found it quite spicy.
Hi SC- I like my chili with some heat, so I usually use between 1-2 tbsp. of chili powder; you can also adjust by adding less or more. Glad you liked it!
Are the lentils you add to the IP dried or have you soaked them or from a can? Thanks
Hi Mike, they are dried and uncooked. Lentils you get from a can are already cooked.
The beauty of lentils is that they don’t require any soaking ahead of time! Just cook and go.
Amazing! !!!!! Thank you for sharing. I make it every week now!