Vegetarian Red Lentil Chili

I’ve heard that there are different ways to spell “chili.” Did you know that?


Apparently, “chilli” is how people in Springfield, Illinois spell the word, because the dish is serious biz in the midwest.


Springfield, Illinois: home of chilli and… Lincoln?


“Illi” and “Illinois”… I see what they did there. For my purposes, we’ll stick with spelling it like “chili,” since this isn’t any old meat ‘n’ beans “chilli.”


No, this isn’t your average, run of the mill, comfort food chili. This is Vegetarian Red Lentil Chili. I promise you won’t miss the meat at all. And if you already don’t miss meat, then this recipe is most definitely for you. You’re welcome.


This dish has a bit of a kick to it. I’d say it’s a medium on the heat scale, because when I eat spicy foods I like them to have a punch but not so much that I’m literally guzzling water between every bite (I’m looking at you red sauce from Chipotle).


Not only that, but you’ve got some serious nutrient power up in there. Red lentils are an outstanding source of fiber, protein, and valuable minerals, not to mention all of the other veggie powers you get packed in this one-pot meal.


Vegetarian Red Lentil Chili

Serves 6 as a main dish

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced
  • 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 c red lentils, dry
  • 1 c water
  • 1-2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add garlic, onion, carrot, and celery. Cook until onions are just translucent.
  3. Add yellow squash; cook for about two minutes more.
  4. Add all spices, including salt and black pepper, except the bay leaf. Stir to coat all of the vegetables.
  5. Add both kidney and black beans. Cook for five minutes.
  6. Pour in crushed tomatoes and water, stirring.
  7. Add lentils to the pot, making sure to combine thoroughly.
  8. Stir bay leaf into the mixture.
  9. Bring the chili to a boil. Cover, and simmer for approximately 45 minutes to an hour.
  10. Feel free to add more salt/pepper if necessary! Make sure you take out the bay leaf.


I put half of this pot directly into a tupperware in the freezer after it cooled off so that I will have three meals ready to go next week.

My mouth is already watering for it.

Question of the Day:

What are some other word-spelling debates? These aren’t debates exactly, but I find it totally annoying when people spell “their, there, and they’re” wrong. Or “it’s and its.” Things that like really get me!



  1. I love vegetarian CHILI šŸ˜‰ This one looks so thick and hearty! And full of fiber to fill you up. I never knew that chili was spelled multiple ways… so strange. I get peeved about the their/there/they’re too… learn your grammar!

    1. Thanks! There was a lot of good texture in the chili. I always think there should be some real grammar police task force (a girl can dream).

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