The weather outside is 90 degrees right now, and most people don’t want to eat chili, but I enjoy chili all year round. Especially back in the days when I worked in a building that kept the AC set to 68 and it felt like winter all year long.

I know I’m not the only one who suffers during summertime with office AC, so I want to reach out to all the members of the always cold club.

For the rest of you, bookmark this page and set a reminder in your phone for two months from now to revisit this awesome Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili.

All About The Toppings

In this recipe for Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili, I’ve written it without toppings, since toppings are very personal and often depend on what you’ve got on hand.

My favorite additions are creamy (avocado, cheese, or sour cream), green (avocado, green onion, cilantro, or cornbread), and starchy (tortilla chips, oyster crackers, cornbread, or crusty bread for dipping).

Take advantage of this opportunity to use up leftovers from your fridge by adding your own toppings to the chili!

Vegan or Vegetarian?

In fact, the chili is vegan! But I have titled it as vegetarian since I am picturing it with non-vegan toppings, but you can customize it as you wish.

Suitable for Freezing

The chili is extremely freezer friendly, so it’s best to divide it up into single servings as soon as you have finished cooking it.

If you want to store them longer, once those portions have cooled completely in the fridge, transfer a few of them to your freezer.

Every time you get a craving for chili, pull one out and reheat either in the microwave or on the stove.

Short Cut for Chili Seasoning

In this recipe, I modified my Homemade Chili Seasoning, but you can substitute a store-bought packet of chili seasoning if you prefer.

However, I believe the herbs and spices listed in the following recipe will definitely yield a better result.

Front view of a bowl of Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili with cheese and sour cream on top

The picture is served with Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread!

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili Recipe

The Vegetarian Lentil Chili you’ll make with this Slow Cooker makes a big batch, is packed full of flavor and nutrition, and only costs around $5!

Total Time: 4 hrs 10 mins

Servings: 6 (1.5 cups each)


  • 1 yellow onion ($0.33)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 15oz. can petite diced tomatoes (with juices) ($0.48)
  • 1 6oz. can tomato paste ($0.48)
  • 1 15oz. can black beans, drained ($0.59)
  • 1 15oz. can kidney beans, drained ($0.59)
  • 1 cup brown lentils, uncooked ($0.70)
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder ($0.30)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika ($0.10)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.03)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.03)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • freshly cracked black pepper ($0.03)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil* ($0.13)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth ($0.52)


  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the onion and garlic to the slow cooker along with all the other ingredients and stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours (or low for 8 hours). After cooking, the lentils should be tender. Taste the chili and add salt to taste, if needed (this will depend on the salt content of your broth).
  • Serve the chili hot, with your favorite toppings.


*I like to use coconut oil because it has a similar mouth feel to animal fat, but it does give a slight coconut aroma to the chili. Feel free to use your favorite oil or fat in its place.


Serving: 1.5 Cups ・ Calories: 368.75 kcal ・ Carbohydrates: 60.85 g ・ Protein: 19.72 g ・ Fat: 6.75 g ・ Sodium: 1169.77 mg ・ Fiber: 14.28 g

The nutritional values shown here are only estimates. Please see our nutrition disclaimer.

Slow Cooker

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If you’d like to try my traditional chili recipe, click here for my The Best Homemade Chili Recipe Ever.
A bowl of Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili with avocado and tortilla chips

Step-by-step Photos of How to Make Slow Cooker Lentil Chili

Onion Garlic Tomatoes in Slow Cooker
The onion and garlic should be diced and minced. Add the onion and garlic to the slow cooker along with a 15 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes (with their juices), this can of tomato paste, and a 6 ounce can of tomato sauce…Beans and Lentils in Slow Cooker
Using one 15-ounce can each of black beans (drained) and kidney beans (drained), one cup of uncooked brown lentils…
Add chili spices to slow cooker
1 Tbsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp smoked paprika and some freshly cracked pepper (about 20 cranks of a pepper mill). You can substitute store bought chili seasoning if you don’t have a well-stocked spice cabinet.
Add broth to slow cooker
Add 4 cups vegetable broth and 2 Tbsp coconut oil. You can use your favorite fat or oil in its place, but coconut oil has a similar mouthfeel to animal fats (since it’s a solid saturated fat). Stir everything well to get the spices and tomato paste evenly distributed.
Cook Vegetarian Lentil Chili
Put the lid on the slow cooker and set it to high for four hours (or low for eight). When the lentils are cooked, they should be tender. Check the salt level and add it if necessary.
Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili ready to top
After that, grab whatever toppings you have in your fridge and get to work.Dressed bowls of Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili with various toppings on the side
There will be little waste from leftovers of this Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili, as each bowl can be unique…A close up view of a bowl of Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili fully dressed with avocado, sour cream, cheese, and chips