Easy Vegan Chilli with Lentils and Beans

Full of plant power This protein and fibre packed vegan lentil and bean chilli is loaded with delicious smokey flavours. Using store cupboard essentials this easy chilli recipe is the perfect addition to your Mexican night!


vegan lentil chilli in a bowl

Chilli has always been one of my go-to recipes for years. It’s brilliant for feeding a crowd or just an easy option as a midweek dinner or at the weekend stuffed in some crispy tacos or served with rice. However, traditionally, I always made mine with minced beef but this has changed.

As part of reducing the meat we all eat as a family, over the past few years, we have all completely converted to this vegan version of the classic chilli. It is such a hearty meal full of texture and flavour you really don’t miss the meat at all I promise!


Why this is the BEST vegan chilli recipe!

A good chilli, for me, really is the ultimate comfort food. I just love the winning combination of spicy rich flavours and textures which can be enjoyed in so many different ways, from rice, tacos or even a jacket potato.

This recipe uses cupboard staples which means that when you have those days when you just don’t know what to cook you often have most of the ingredients already there without even having to go to the shops.

What’s even better is that there really aren’t any rules, you can literally do a sweep of your cupboards and fridge. You could swap the beans or lentils used, or add in any leftover veg. Literally, anything works in this recipe thanks to its sumptuously smokey sauce.

Make it in advance – This recipe is best slow cooked and made in advance so the flavours really infuse. It’s so quick to bring together you can quickly make it in the morning and then leave it for a couple of hours to slowly cook while you get on with your day. Then all you need to do is reheat it the following day or that evening for a delicious dinner.

This chilli is full of plant power. Instead of the meat this recipe is full of legumes which pack a brilliant plant protein and fibre punch. I use a mixture of red and green lentils, chickpeas and kidney beans in this dish.

This dish is a tasty way to increase whole foods in your meals. Including more whole foods in your diet can also help to support your blood glucose levels and overall diabetes management. If you would like to read more about adding whole foods to your diet then make sure to read the article below.

a pin for the benefits of a wholefood diet & diabetes management

The Benefits of a Whole Food Diet and Diabetes

Explore the potential benefits associated with eating more whole foods, and learn tips on how you can incorporate more whole foods into your diet.


What is the difference between chilli and chilli con carne?

The Spanish phrase “chilli con carne” means chilli with meat, but both chilli and chilli con carne can traditionally refer to the authentic spicy dish of meat, chilli peppers, beans, tomatoes, seasonings and spices. However, I think with more and more of us reducing our meat intake or looking to enjoy vegetarian or vegan options we are all pretty familiar with the term chilli now covering a wider range of options.

This easy vegan lentil and bean chilli is easy to bring together but it does require a little extra cooking time to really get all of those delicious flavours working together at their best. I recommend leaving it to cook for a minimum of 30 minutes but up to 2 hours if you can.

vegan chilli in a pot with wooden spoon
The rich and spicy tomato sauce combined with the beans and lentils make for a brilliantly delicious vegetarian and vegan-friendly dish that is packed full of protein, fibre minerals and nutrients.

What you will need to make easy vegan lentil and bean chilli

  • Onions and Garlic
    • No chilli dish is complete without the soft sweet flavours of onions and garlic
  • Paprika – Sweet, smoked and original
    • these are just peppers but in their powdered form
    • the triple combination gives a greater peppery depth to this dish
  • Cumin
    • A dried seed and member of the parsley family. 
    • It has a slightly sweet, warming flavour
  • Chipotle paste
    • Adds extra spice and smokiness.
    • Use as much as you like, I only do a small amount as my girls find it too spicy otherwise
  • Soy sauce
    • A liquid condiment made from a fermented paste of soybeans
    • Adds an extra salty dark richness to the sauce
  • Vegetable stock
    • Adds an extra intense vegetable kick
  • Tinned tomatoes
    • A brilliant source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits as well as vitamin C and K
    • I really like the tinned cherry tomatoes but you can also use chopped
  • Chickpeas
    • a nutritional superstar rich in plant-based protein, full of fibre and nutrients
    • give a nutty taste and a nice grainy texture to the dish
  • Red Kidney Beans
    • No chilli would be complete without them
    • Also a nutritional superstar rich in plant-based protein, full of fibre and nutrients
  • Green and Red lentils
    • A great source of protein, fibre and B vitamins
    • Also helps to thicken the sauce giving this dish a great hearty texture
  • Dark chocolate
    • Helps to balance the flavours of the chilli, especially if you are using tomatoes. The richness of the chocolate can help soften the acidity of the tomatoes and paprika

How to make vegan chilli

This chilli recipe is called easy for a reason. In under 15 minutes, you can have all your ingredients bubbling away to make the tastiest vegan chilli.

Start by adding a little oil to your pan and gently sweating the onions, on a low heat, until they are soft and turning light brown. (around 5-10 minutes)

Next, add in your crushed garlic and cook for a further minute or so, stirring so as not to burn the garlic.

Now, add in your spices and stir in well allowing them to absorb into the onions and garlic. Then crumble in the stock cube, chipotle, tamari (or soy) sauce and stir. Add your tomatoes, lentils and beans, including the water from the chickpeas, turn the heat up a little and stir well to combine. (You may find that you want to add a little extra water at this point to loosen the sauce.)

Once your chilli is bubbling away, add your chocolate and stir until melted. Then turn down the heat, pop the lid on and leave it to gently simmer for a minimum of 30 minutes but if you can for up to 2 hours to allow the flavours to really mellow.



Serving Suggestions For Vegan Chilli

This chilli is a great vegan, vegetarian, dairy and gluten-free meal. You can keep it that way by choosing vegan toppings or you may want to add in some other vegetarian options too:

Here’s a suggested list of additions, serving and topping options:

Add

  • Soya protein mince to bulk the meal even more (cook as per packet instructions)
  • Roasted aubergines cut into chunks
  • Jarred roasted peppers

Serve

Top

  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream or crème fraîche
  • Sliced or diced avocado
  • Jalapenos
  • Tortilla chips (crumbled if desired)
  • Lime wedges
  • Pickled red onions
  • Chipotle chilli flakes
vegan lentil chilli in a bowl

What to do with any leftovers of your Vegan Chilli

This chilli makes great leftovers that keep really well for up to 4 days in the fridge.

But you can also box it up and freeze it as well. Simply defrost and reheat your chilli in a bowl.


If you enjoyed this recipe then why not take a look at my other slow cooked recipes


Diabetes Note

A fantastic all-in-one dish full of whole foods with zero carb counting requirements (the amount of chocolate is so small it’s almost negligible per portion). Including more whole foods in your diet can also help to support your blood glucose levels and overall diabetes management

We often serve our chilli with a mixture of brown basmati rice and chunky cauliflower rice. Brown basmati rice has a lower glycemic index than white rice, which means that the carbs enter the bloodstream more slowly. This in turn could help to reduce the risk of a blood sugar spike.

But its also great stuffed in crispy tack shells smothered with lots of Mexican toppings!


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Easy Vegan Lentil and Bean Chilli

Easy Vegan Lentil and Bean Chilli

Recipe by Michelle

This protein and fibre packed vegan lentil and bean chilli is loaded with delicious flavours for an easy mid-week meal.

Course: MainCuisine: British / MexicanDifficulty: Easy
5.0 from 5 votes
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Min cooking time

45

minutes
Extra cooking time

2

hours
Total time

55

minutes
Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

  • 2 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1 tsp sweet paprika

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • 1/2 tsp mild chilli powder

  • 1 tsp chipotle paste

  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

  • 1 cube vegetable stock

  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes

  • 1 tin chickpeas

  • 1 tin red kidney beans

  • 70 g green lentils

  • 100 g red lentils

  • 25 g dark chocolate

Directions

  • Add a little oil to your pan and gently sweat the onions, on a low heat, until they are soft and turning lightly brown. (5-10 minutes)
  • Add in your crushed garlic and cook for a further minute or so, stirring so as not to burn the garlic.
  • Next, add in your spices and stir in well allowing them to absorb into the onions and garlic.
  • Then crumble in the stock cube, chipotle, tamari (or soy) sauce. Add your tomatoes, lentils and beans, including the water from the chickpeas and stir well.
    You may find that you want to add a little extra water at this point to loosen the sauce.
  • Once your chilli is bubbling away, add your chocolate and stir until melted.
  • Then turn down the heat, pop the lid on and leave it to gently simmer for a minimum of 30 minutes but if you can, for up to 2 hours to allow the flavours to really mellow.

Tips and Notes

  • This chilli tastes even better reheated. I often make it in the morning or the day before so the flavours have lots of time to mellow.
  • If you have the time, leave the chilli to cook for the full 2 hours.
  • Diabetes note – A brilliant protein and fibre packed all in one dish with zero carb counting requirements
Michelle Rorke avatar

AUTHOR

6 responses to “Easy Vegan Chilli with Lentils and Beans”

  1. Juliet avatar

    Always a winner in my house and so versatile, I mix up the types of beans and chickpeas etc depending on what I have in the cupboard. The seasoning and the chocolate is the key! Yum.

  2. Nicole avatar

    This chilli tastes amazing!!! Recommend!!!

    1. Michelle avatar

      Thanks so much. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  3. Nicola Shergold avatar

    This was delicious! So easy and such depth of flavour. Hubby couldn’t stop raving about it! Thank you Whole Hearty Kitchen for this amazing recipe! xx

    1. Michelle avatar

      Thanks so much for your lovely review Nicola and I am so glad it went down well at chez Shergold x

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I’m on a mission to prove that eating for health and managing diabetes can be easy & incredibly flavourful.

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