Red Lentil Chili

5 from 1 vote

This hearty and flavorful Red Lentil Chili is a perfect plant-based meal that’s easy to make and packed with nutrition. It’s a crowd-pleaser that’s sure to become a favorite in your household!

lentil chili feature

Why I Love This Recipe

Hello, fabulous foodies! It’s Chef AJ, your Queen of Quick and Easy, here to share one of my most beloved recipes: Red Lentil Chili. When I’m not busy creating oil-free, refined sugar-free, and salt-free recipes, I’m interviewing amazing plant-based experts for my YouTube show. With my busy schedule, I need recipes that are both nutritious and incredibly simple to make. This chili is made in the Instant Pot and requires minimal prep work, yet it’s bursting with flavor. I’ve received more thank-you emails for this recipe than for just about any other, and I’m thrilled to share it with you!

This Red Lentil Chili is a nutritious powerhouse, featuring red lentils, fire-roasted tomatoes, red bell peppers, and a blend of flavorful spices. The dates add a touch of natural sweetness, balancing the smoky and spicy notes of the chili. Whether you’re serving it over a baked potato, brown rice, or enjoying it on its own, this chili is sure to satisfy. Plus, it freezes beautifully, making it perfect for meal prep and busy weeknights.

Key Ingredients

  • Red Lentils: These are the star of the chili, providing a hearty texture and a boost of protein and fiber. They are also rich in iron, folate, and antioxidants.
  • Fire-Roasted Tomatoes: These add a smoky, rich flavor to the chili. Tomatoes are a great source of vitamins C and K, potassium, and lycopene, an antioxidant known for its heart health benefits.
  • Tomato Paste: Concentrated tomato goodness that thickens the chili and enhances its richness. It also adds a dose of vitamins A and C.
  • Onion: Adds a sweet and savory base flavor to the chili. Onions are high in vitamin C, B vitamins, and antioxidants like quercetin, which may help reduce inflammation.
  • Red Bell Peppers: These add a sweet, mild flavor and a pop of color. Bell peppers are rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, and folic acid.
  • Garlic: Provides a robust, savory taste that enhances the overall flavor of the chili. Garlic is known for its immune-boosting properties and contains compounds like allicin, which have anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Dates: These add a natural sweetness that balances the smoky and spicy flavors. Dates are high in fiber, antioxidants, and essential minerals like potassium and magnesium.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Adds a tangy flavor that brightens the chili. It is also known for its potential benefits in regulating blood sugar levels and improving digestion.
  • Spices (Parsley Flakes, Dried Oregano, Salt-Free Chili Powder, Smoked Paprika, Chipotle Powder, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes): A blend of spices that creates a smoky, spicy, and slightly sweet profile, making the chili irresistibly flavorful. These spices also offer various health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

The Process

To make this delicious Red Lentil Chili, start by placing 8 cups of water in the Instant Pot. Next, blend the fire-roasted tomatoes, red bell peppers, garlic, dates, tomato paste, and apple cider vinegar in a high-speed blender until puréed.

Pour the puréed mixture into the Instant Pot and add the red lentils, chopped onions, parsley flakes, dried oregano, salt-free chili powder, smoked paprika, chipotle powder, and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir everything together to combine.

Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Once the cooking time is up, release the pressure immediately. Your hearty and flavorful Red Lentil Chili is now ready to enjoy!

Chef’s Tips

  • If you’re watching your sugar intake or have weight to lose, consider omitting the dates. The chili will still be delicious!
  • Serve this chili over a baked Yukon Gold potato or with brown or wild rice for a hearty meal.
  • The recipe can be cut in half if you want to make less, but it freezes very well. Consider making a full batch and freezing the leftovers for a quick meal another day.

How to Store the Red Lentil Chili

Store any leftover chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. This chili also freezes beautifully, so you can keep portions in the freezer for up to 3 months. Simply reheat when ready to enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will the chili last in the fridge?

Stored in an airtight container, this chili will stay fresh for up to 4 days.

Can I freeze the chili?

Yes, this chili freezes very well. Store it in airtight containers or freezer bags for up to 3 months.

Can I omit the dates?

Yes, if you’re watching your sugar intake or trying to lose weight, you can omit the dates. The chili will still be flavorful and delicious.

What are some good serving suggestions?

Serve this chili over a baked Yukon Gold potato, brown rice, or wild rice. It’s also great on its own with your favorite toppings.

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Serving Suggestion

This Red Lentil Chili is incredibly versatile. Serve it over a baked potato, brown rice, or wild rice or with a fresh salad for a complete meal. You can also enjoy it on its own, topped with your favorite chili toppings like avocado, cilantro, or a dollop of plant-based sour cream.

Summary

Red Lentil Chili is a hearty, flavorful, and nutritious dish that’s perfect for any meal. It’s easy to make in the Instant Pot and packed with wholesome ingredients. Whether you’re enjoying it fresh or from the freezer, this chili is sure to become a staple in your meal rotation.

If you tried this recipe, I’d love to see your results! Share your culinary creation on social media and tag me. As the Queen of Quick and Easy, nothing makes me happier than seeing how my convenient plant-based recipes inspire your kitchen adventures. Let’s celebrate the love of cooking and enjoy the deliciousness together!

lentil chili feature
5 from 1 vote

Red Lentil Chili

This hearty and flavorful Red Lentil Chili is a perfect plant-based meal that’s easy to make and packed with nutrition.

Equipment

  • Instant pot
  • Blender

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound Dry red lentils
  • 8 cups Water
  • 2 14.5-oz cans Salt-free fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 6-oz can Salt-free tomato paste
  • 10 ounces Chopped onion, approximately 3 cups
  • 1 pound Red bell peppers, approximately 2 large
  • 8 cloves Garlic
  • 3 ounces Pitted Deglet Noor dates, about 12
  • 4 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
  • Tbsp Parsley flakes
  • Tbsp Dried oregano
  • Tbsp Salt-free chili powder
  • 2 tsp Smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp Chipotle powder, more or less, to taste
  • ¼ tsp Crushed red pepper flakes, more or less, to taste
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Instructions 

  • Place the 8 cups of water in the Instant Pot.
  • Blend the tomatoes, red bell peppers, garlic, dates, tomato paste and apple cider vinegar in a high-speed blender and blend until puréed.
  • Add the purée to the Instant Pot with the remaining ingredients.
  • Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Release the pressure immediately and enjoy.
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Chef AJ

Hey there, I’m Chef AJ, the Queen of Quick and Easy plant-based recipes. I’m the culinary wizard behind delicious dishes that are oil-free, refined sugar-free, and salt-free. As a chef, author, and host, I’m passionate about creating convenient and easy recipes that make healthy eating fun and incredibly tasty!

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Recipe Rating




1 Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Been making this recipe very other week for over 10 years! So easy to make, makes over 20 cups of chili so multiples days of meals, and goes great over potatoes, rice, and for those nor following SOFAS free, cornbread or polenta.