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overhead: bowl of vegan chili topped with diced avocado and jalapeno slices

Vegan Red Lentil Chili (Crockpot Recipe)

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Lindsay Cotter
  • Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 5-6 1x


This smoky BBQ lentil chili recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and full of protein and fiber! Make this easy crockpot chili for a hearty, healthy meal.


Units Scale
  • 16 oz red lentils (Green lentils will cook more al dente)
  • 1 cup diced onion – red or white
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 12 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers (about 1 large)
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes, or 15 ounces canned tomatoes (drained)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (3 cups for thicker chili)
  • 1/3 cup BBQ sauce or tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened ketchup or tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • black pepper to taste

Toppings of choice – Cilantro, avocado, dairy-free sour cream, etc.


  1. Place lentils in a strainer and rinse thoroughly. Set aside.
  2. Place the onion, garlic, oil, peppers, and tomato in the crock pot, then stir to combine.
  3. Add the rinsed lentils, broth, and remaining ingredients (minus salt and pepper) into the crock pot/slow cooker. Stir everything to combine. 
  4. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 5 hours. Halfway through cooking time, check for taste and add more seasoning if needed. Add salt and pepper during the final 10 to 15 minutes of cooking. If the chili seems too thick, you can add more broth at this point. *SEE NOTES
  5. Once cooked, serve and garnish with cilantro or topping of choice.
  6. Keeps well in the fridge for up to 7 days.


  • Red lentils don’t hold their shape as well as green or black lentils, which tend to cook more al dente.
  • If you are using green or black lentils, they will probably take closer to 4 hours, but they’ll be firmer and hold their shape. I found that cooking the red lentils on high 3.5 hours made them soft enough.
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Category: soups
  • Method: slow cooker
  • Cuisine: American


  • Calories: 285
  • Sugar: 5
  • Sodium: 100 mg
  • Fat: 2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 50 g
  • Fiber: 9 g
  • Protein: 18 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg