One-Pot Wonders

Chetna Makan's Vegetarian Chili

July  1, 2021
6 Ratings
Photo by Chetna Makan
  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Chili is perfect in cold weather when you're looking for warmth and comfort. For me, this vegetarian chili is perfect, and sure does tick all the boxes. It's got lots of layers of flavor starting with vegetables, followed by lentils and then beans, all brought together with lots of tomatoes and warm spices. All the simmering is time well-spent, making this the most wonderful blend of simple ingredients. Enjoy it with rice, mashed potatoes, or a good piece of toast.

Hear more from Resident Chetna Makhan on our new podcast, Either Side Eaters, where cross-Atlantic friends Katie Quinn and Jen Phanomrat compare notes with their guests on everything from scone etiquette to charcuterie trends.Chetna Makan

What You'll Need
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Chetna Makan's Vegetarian Chili
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chili, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 14.5-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14.5-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  1. Heat the oil in a deep sauté pan, and add the onions. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Add the chopped celery, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the chopped red pepper and cook for 5 minutes more.
  2. In a pestle and mortar, crush the garlic and green chili with a pinch of salt until you get a paste (or use a small food processor). Add this paste to the pan, and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  3. Next add the tomato purée and chopped tomatoes and mix well, then add the lentils and spices and stir to coat.
  4. Pour in the stock and stir again. Cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes until the lentils are slightly cooked.
  5. Add the rinsed kidney beans and black beans to the pan with 1/2 cup of boiling water. Cover and cook on low heat for 30 minutes. Stir in the sugar and chopped coriander leaves, mix well, and serve warm.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Yessica
  • Linda
  • Smaug
  • Natalie Popovic
    Natalie Popovic

7 Reviews

Yessica February 16, 2021
Saw this on IG and tried it. Have had a bag of red lentils waiting to be explored. This was both delicious and beautiful. Very easy to follow and so satisfying. My meat eaters did not miss anything. A keeper for sure. Thank you Chetna.
Natalie P. January 31, 2021
This is a solid vegetarian chili, but please check ingredient list. "Celery" is not listed but it is in step 1.
Smaug February 16, 2021
And celery is a vital ingredient of this type of tomato based "chili". It might also be helpful to know what is meant by "green chili"; could be literally anything from a serrano to a poblano, even another bell by some peoples' usage. As this is a nearly chili free chili, it would be helpful to know what's intended. I'd guess something small since it's crushed with the garlic, but guessing isn't ideal.
LaMalva January 31, 2021
This vegan chili was easy to realize and a success with my carnivorous family. The paprika and cumin is a simple but effective combination to create a fulfilling savory dish. I doubled the recipe and froze individual portions for lunches. Thank you, Chetna!
Food520713 January 28, 2021
Recipe was easy to follow and tastes delicious! Served with cornbread...the directions said to saute the celery after the onions but celery wasn't listed in the ingredients so I was confused for a minute....didnt have celery so I used carrots:)
Linda January 27, 2021
A gray, cold day here as well so decided to give this chili a try. It had the perfect amount of heat for me (my husband added a little hot sauce). Thank you Chetna for a wonderful vegan addition to my chili recipes. The red lentils make it especially bright and different!
lisa V. January 28, 2021
I used a Serrano and a Thai chili pepper. So warming. Temps today below 20 and dipping into the teens tonight in MA, so a bowl of this will be perfect for supper.