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Lentil and Vegetable Chili

in Soups

The perfect hearty, flavorful, just-spicy-enough bowl of vegan chili soup.

lentil chiliIt is officially soup and chili season and I could not be more excited about it!

lentil chili 2Who am I kidding?  I eat chili year round.  But for you more “normal” individuals, it is time to dive into a hot bowl of chili goodness.  And no I am not talking about beefy chili.  I am talking about chili that is chocked full of vegetables, lentils, and beans.  There is no lack of protein, fiber, or nutrients with this meal.

lentil chili 5A lot of vegetarian and vegan chili soups contain soy crumbles or extra beans to give them the meaty effect.  But I wanted to “beef” things up (no pun intended) by using lentils in addition to hearty vegetables and traditional chili beans.  I am convinced that lentils were made for soup.  Do not try to tell me that I am wrong on this one.

lentil chili 9Is there anything more warming and comforting than a good bowl of chili?  The correct answer to that question would be “no.”  And thank goodness because these chilly September evenings have left me wanting nothing more than a warm bowl of soup.

lentil chili 6Lentil and Vegetable Chili
Vegan + Gluten-Free

Serves 4


water, for cooking
2 cloves garlic, minced
small yellow onion, diced
green bell pepper, diced
small zucchini, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
large russet potato, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
14.5 oz can chili-ready diced tomatoes
14.5 oz can chili beans (I used a Tex Mex variety)
14.5 oz can dark red kidney beans (no salt added), drained
1 oz chili seasoning packet (or your favorite chili seasoning blend) <– look for real ingredients!
3 cups tomato juice
1 cup dried green/brown lentils


1. Line a dutch oven or large pot with a thin layer of water.  Heat over medium-high heat.  Once hot, lower the heat to medium and add garlic, onion, and pepper to the pot.  Cook for approximately 5 minutes, adding additional water as necessary.

2. Add zucchini and potato to the pot and cook for 5 minutes.  Add additional water to prevent sticking when necessary.

3. Add tomatoes, beans, chili seasoning, and tomato juice to the pot.  Stir well to combine.  Turn the heat back to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil.

4. Once boiling, add lentils to the pot.  Stir to mix all of the ingredients together.  Lower the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid, and simmer for approximately 45 to 60 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked.  Stir occasionally throughout the cooking time.

5. Serve warm with your favorite side.

lentil chili 7Make sure you serve your chili with your favorite bread, roll, cornbread, crackers, and/or chips.  Basically, eat your carbs!  I served mine with my Summer Vegetable Cornbread a couple of nights and ate it with blue corn tortilla chips for lunches.

lentil chili 3So, again with the photographing soup thing…  It is not my forte.  But I must say, I am most proud of these pictures out of all of the soup pictures I have taken.  Maybe it was my cold food photography trick?  I am totally down for hearing your soup photography tips and tricks, so lay ’em on me!

lentil chili 10What are your favorite chili ingredients?  Are there any “secret” ingredients out there?

Are you excited to dive into a bowl of chili?  Please pin this hearty bowl on Pinterest and share it on Facebook and Twitter using the buttons below!

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{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies September 25, 2014, 7:09 am
    I'm definitely always up for a good bowl of chili! I like that you threw potatoes in too -- I've never had a russet potato in chili before! We're also not the world's greatest soup photo takers, but it helps if you put something on top of the soup, especially if the surface is a little shiny (as wet things tend to be!). Cameras have trouble focusing on glossy stuff, so a bit of parsley or a dollop of (vegan :-p) yogurt/sour cream on top can make a big difference. Or a slice of avocado on chili, mmmm. Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies recently posted...BBQ Tempeh NachosMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl September 25, 2014, 10:21 pm
      Oooo awesome idea, Kelly!! Thanks for sharing :)
  • CARLA September 25, 2014, 7:27 am
    (((jumps in and awaits other people's comments about the SECRET INGREDIENTS!!)))
    • ClnEatingVegGrl September 25, 2014, 10:24 pm
      I have tried vegetarian baked beans before and they are really good! That is the only "secret" ingredient that I know of ;)
  • Katherine (@thepbloverblog) September 25, 2014, 7:45 am
    Ugh chili is so so good. Here in Texas, so many people put tons of meat in chili, which I just don't like! This chili is full of veggies and looks so so good! My dad puts cocoa in his chili. He's from Ohio, and that's how they make "Cincinnati Chili". It sounds super weird, but his is my favorite chili out there! Katherine (@thepbloverblog) recently posted...An Open Letter To My MomMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl September 25, 2014, 10:36 pm
      Oh, I have heard of people doing that but I haven't tried it yet. I need to do that!!
  • Jessie September 25, 2014, 8:25 am
    I've only made chili with lentils once, and I didn't even get to eat any. I'm thinking this needs to be changed asap! Jessie recently posted...Pumpkin, Pumpkin, PumpkinMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl September 25, 2014, 10:38 pm
      WHAT? That is so wrong! You definitely need to make some more and keep it all to yourself ;)
  • DJ September 25, 2014, 8:50 am
    this recipe sounds delish! I will be trying it this weekend! thanks
    • ClnEatingVegGrl September 25, 2014, 10:39 pm
      I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, DJ!
  • Erin @ Her Heartland Soul September 25, 2014, 10:05 am
    This looks AMAZING! Erin @ Her Heartland Soul recently posted...September 2014 POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review – Giveaway!My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl September 25, 2014, 10:40 pm
      Thanks Erin! I now firmly believe that lentils in chili are a MUST!
  • Ashley September 25, 2014, 10:07 am
    I agree! Lentils are totally made for soups! I just made my first big batch of chili last week - bring on chili season! This sounds fantastic! Ashley recently posted...Mexican Pot Pie with Sweet Potato BiscuitsMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl September 25, 2014, 10:41 pm
      Chili season is my favorite! Heck, I am just a major soup love in general.
  • Carly @ Snack Therapy September 25, 2014, 11:06 am
    We've been in a major drought here in California, but we're getting 1/10 inch of rain (whoaaaa flood status) today so I'm getting in the chili spirit real quick. I love that this doesn't have any meat substitutes! And yes, lentils were made for soup. Carly @ Snack Therapy recently posted...This Body.My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl September 25, 2014, 10:43 pm
      I hope you get some cooler weather soon so that it will REALLY feel like Fall. Fall is not the same without soup, right?
  • lindsay September 25, 2014, 2:00 pm
    i love a good lentil chili! so hearty and delicious. Adding this to the list! YUM!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl September 25, 2014, 10:45 pm
      I am so glad you agree, Lindsay! I hope you enjoy it as much as I have :)
  • Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen September 25, 2014, 7:04 pm
    I adore lentils, especially in soup, but I've never tried them in chili before. This looks delicious! Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen recently posted...Goodness Me Organic Farm TourMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl September 25, 2014, 10:46 pm
      This was my first time putting them in chili and it most definitely will not be the last time. I love how it thickened the chili and made is extra hearty!
  • Danica @ It's Progression September 26, 2014, 12:08 pm
    This looks awesome! I LOVE chili. Danica @ It's Progression recently posted...Five things Friday 9.26.14My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl September 27, 2014, 10:41 am
      Thanks Danica! You and me both! :)

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