This slow cooker vegan red lentil chili is the perfect recipe for food prep. You can set-it-and-forget-it and the flavours improve the next day. Cook a batch on a Sunday and enjoy throughout the week topped with avocado, cilantro, green onion and crushed tortilla chips.

Slow Cooker Vegan Red Lentil Chili - Running on Real Food

This hearty, nourishing chili is perfect for chilly weather. It will warm you right up. It’s also a great recipe for food prep as you can throw it all in the slow cooker at the start of your prep and let it cook while you finish your other prep items.

It tastes even better the next day too, so leftovers are no problem. It also freezes well so if you’re batch cooking, it can be tucked away in the freezer so you’ve got it ready when you need it.

What You’ll Need

  1. Diced tomatoes. I love the organic fire-roasted diced tomatoes from Muir Glen (their cans are BPA-free too!) but any canned diced tomatoes will do. You’ll need one large 28 ounce can or two smaller 14.5 ounce canes.
  2. Chili spices. I used chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika (regular paprika is fine) and oregano. The chili powder is essential but if you don’t have paprika, cumin and oregano on hand, no worries. Use what you have, it won’t make or break the recipe.
  3. Vegetables. I kept things simple for this recipe and used onion, carrot, jalapeno, garlic and bell peppers. Feel free to add a few more veggies if you feel like it. Some corn would be yummy or try some diced zucchini or sweet potato.
  4. Red lentils. You’ll need 1 1/2 cups of uncooked red lentils for this recipe. I would recommend using red lentils over over green as green lentils hold their shape when cooked whereas red lentils tend to cook up much softer, kinda mushy really, so while you could use green lentils in this recipe, the final result would have a very different texture.
  5. Vegetable broth. I used 2 cups of veggie broth for the the cooking liquid but you can use water in a pinch.
A chunky chili cooking in a slow cooker.
Red lentil and bell pepper chili cooking in a slow cooker.

Stovetop Instructions

This recipe is a breeze to make in a slow cooker but just as easy to cook stovetop if you’re looking to have it on the table in under 40 minutes.

To make it stovetop, saute the onions and garlic in a splash of broth for 5 minutes or so then add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a light simmer. Let it simmer lightly for 25-30 minutes until the lentils are tender and the chili is nice and thick.

Chili Topping Ideas

I love topping my chili with things like:

  • avocado
  • crushed tortilla chips
  • fresh cilantro
  • cashew or tofu sour cream (blend cashews or tofu with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, sea salt and water if needed)
  • vegan cheese

Texture Note

Since this chili is made with just red lentils, the texture is a bit different than a traditional chili. It’s kinda mushy as that’s how red lentils cook. To make it more chunky, I’d suggest adding one or two cans of other beans such as black beans, kidney beans or navy beans, mixing them in once the lentils are finished cooking.

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Slow Cooker Vegan Red Lentil Chili

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

This vegan red lentil chili is so easy to make in a slow cooker. You’ll need less than 10 minutes of prep before throwing everything in the crock pot and forgetting about it until dinner time. So easy! It’s also high in protein and fibre, low in fat, vegan and gluten-free.



  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced (approx. 2 cups or 300 g)
  • 2 medium bell peppers, any colour, diced
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and chopped (approx. 1 cup or 150 g)
  • 1 jalapeño, de-seeded and minced (leave some seeds in if you want spicy chili!)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoons each oregano and smoked paprika
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with the juices (or 2 x 14.5 oz. cans)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) tomato paste
  • 2 1/4 cups (500 mL) vegetable broth (water is ok but broth adds a more flavour)
  • 2 cups (370 g) dry red lentilsthoroughly rinsed and drained
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste


  1. Add all of the ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5-6 hours.
  2. Serve right away or store in the fridge for up to 5 days or freezer up to 3 months.


You can make this recipe stovetop as well. Simply add everything to a pot and simmer lightly for 25-30 minutes until the lentils are tender and it’s nice and thick.

Keywords: slow cooker lentil chili, red lentil chili