chili in a bowl with avacado and cilantro ontop. Bowl is on a platter with cilantro

Vegan Lentil Chili: Instant Pot and Stovetop Recipe

Mmmmm let me fill you in on my latest obsession, CHILI! There is something so magical about digging into a big bowl of this goodness at the end of a long cold winter day, it’s like a fuzzy blanket for your belly. mushrooms, peppers, celery and onions on a marble and wood cutting board

When I started thinking about my ideal chili, yaaa I’m THAT person…I came up with a list of chili necessities. My perfect chili must:

  • Be quick to make after work! I’m a 3 hour commuter, so coming home and standing over a pot for an hour + is not going to make me happy about chili
  • Contain mushrooms and corn. Personal preference but these two ingredients really make a chili for me
  • Be bulky. stop right there you soupy chili! I’m looking for something that is going to be so thick and hearty I won’t physically be able to go for a second helping…for at least an hour…
  • Contain ingredients I readily have in my fridge and pantry, because when you need chili, you NEED chili and the grocery store is not where you want to be.

With this list in mind I got to work doing what I do best, cooking and eating scientific taste testing.raw chili ingredients in instant pot

I decided the Instant Pot was going to help me make this dish fast and allow more hands off cooking so I can get straight to relaxing; think- set it and forget it. Now that’s my kind of weeknight cooking.raw chili ingredients in instant pot bowl

To bulk up the chili I turned to lentils. I knew they were the perfect little balls of love to add lots of protein and healthy bulk to the chili. I couldn’t decide what type of lentils would work best. When in doubt, add it all. My new slogan. Red lentils break down to form creamy base, while green or brown lentils hold their shape and are a fantastic meat substitute. While on that topic, NO ONE is going to miss the meat in this chili! They’re too busy swooning over all the deliciousness and you’re  too happy saving money too notice the lack of animal products.

Please go, go make this Instant Pot vegan lentil chili, go cuddle up with your chili, go get your belly the fuzzy blanket it deserves close up of vegan lentil chili in a bowl

Try this recipe? I’d love to hear your feedback and see your creation! Leave a comment below, rate the recipe or take a picture and tag #whippingitup .

Until next time my friend, happy eating and much love to you each and everyday❤

Instant Pot Vegan Lentil Chili

Everyone needs a delicious, quick, and easy chili recipe and this Instant Pot vegan lentil chili ticks all the boxes. Full of healthy vegetables such as corn, mushrooms, celery, onions, and tomatoes. Protein packed with hearty lentils and black beans. Comes together quickly in the Instant Pot and freezes beautifully
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Waiting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8 People
Author Whipping it Up


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 Stalks celery, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, diced
  • 2 1/2 Cups mushrooms, sliced (About 6-10)
  • 4 Cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 Cups water
  • 2 (796ml) Cans diced tomatoes (not drained)
  • 1/2 Cup green or brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 Cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 (540ml) Can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 (341ml) Can corn (drained)


Intant Pot Method

  1. Press the "sauté" button and let the Instant Pot heat up
  2. Once hot, add oil and coat the bottom of the pot.
  3. Add onions, celery, mushrooms, jalapeno and bell peppers to the pot and sauté until onions start to become translucent, about 5 minutes. If vegetables start to stick to the pot add water 1 tablespoon at a time and continue stirring.  
  4. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika and salt. Sauté for another minute.
  5. Pour in water and cans of tomatoes (including the juice). Deglaze the bottom of the pot by scrubbing off all the delicious brown bits with a wooden spoon. Stir it all up.
  6. Add both types of rinsed lentils. Stir and close the lid.
  7. Press the "manual" button and set the timer to cook at high pressure for 10 minutes.
  8. Once the 10 minutes is up, turn off the instant pot and allow to naturally depressurize for 10 minutes before doing a quick release.
  9. Stir in corn and black beans.
  10. Taste and adjust seasonings such as adding more salt if necessary and cayenne powder to increase the spiciness.

Stovetop Method

  1. Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add oil. Once hot, add onions, celery, mushrooms, jalapeno and bell peppers and sauté until onions start to become translucent, about 5 minutes. If vegetables start to stick to the pot add water 1 tablespoon at a time and continue stirring. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika (don't add the salt yet). Sauté for another minute. Pour in water and cans of tomatoes (including the juice). Add both types of rinsed lentils and stir. Bring mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, lower the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid. Simmer for 45 minutes or until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in corn, black beans, and salt. Taste and adjust seasonings, such as adding more salt if necessary and cayenne powder to increase the spiciness.

Recipe Notes

-When using the Instant Pot method, I have had success skipping the sauté steps and just adding all the ingredients (other than corn and black beans) directly to the cold pot and pressure cooking for the same amount of time as described. When in a rush this is a great shortcut and I personally cannot tell a difference in taste.

-Feel free to experiment with other types of beans rather than black beans. Pinto beans or kidney beans would work perfect

-If you have a picky eater in the family omit the mushrooms if needed

-I have experimented with different ratios of red lentils to green/brown lentils when testing this recipe. Conclusion is that any ratio works, this is just my preferred. If you only have one type of lentil then that will work too but note if you don't add red lentils the chili might be a bit more liquidy.

-This chili is mild, add more jalapenos or wait until the end and slowly add cayenne powder to kick up the heat.

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