Vegetarian Lentil Chili. Recipe at | lentils | chili | vegetarian | vegan | food in bowls

Vegetarian Lentil Chili

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 generous servings
Author Karen Gibson


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus a little extra
  • 1 medium red onion diced
  • 4 strips of vegetarian bacon chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons mild curry powder
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/3 cups black beluga lentils or French Du Puy lentils, picked over for stones or debris
  • 6 cups very hot water keep it simmering on low in a small pot on the stove
  • 10 ounce can Rotel tomatoes
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

suggested toppings

  • green onions sliced
  • cilantro minced
  • sour cream
  • grated cheese
  • tortilla strips


  • Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat, until shimmering. Saute the onions in the oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the vegetarian bacon, and saute until crispy.
  • Scootch the onions to one side, and add a quick pour of extra virgin olive oil to the cleared spot. Spoon the tomato paste, curry powder, and paprika over the oil, and stir until very fragrant (just 30 seconds or so).
  • Mix the spice paste into the onions. Add the lentils, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and then add two ladles of the hot water, stirring well. Let the lentils absorb most of the water, and add two more ladles of water, stirring well. Repeat, until the lentils are tender, but not mushy (i.e., they should be al dente). The stew should be slightly saucy, but not at all soupy (about 20 minutes).
  • Pour in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, and mustard. Bring to a gentle simmer. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Ladle into bowls and serve with your favorite toppings.