Slow Cooker Lentil Taco Chili

Weeknight dinners are a breeze with this delicious vegetarian Slow Cooker Lentil Taco Chili simmering away in the crock-pot!

Slow Cooker Lentil Taco Chili

My love of lentils is no secret. I put those bad boys in everything!

They add a punch of filling fiber and nutrients as well as a delicious, almost meaty flavor to everything from soups to tacos to chilis.

I’ve been playing around with red lentils in my chilis for a while now, but decided to channel the flavors of my tasty Lentil Tacos and use brown lentils to jazz up my latest chili creation.

Taco toppings and flavors make the most epic match for a big bowl of comforting chili and I am SO here for it.

Lentil Taco Chili for the win!

Lentil Taco Chili with Toppings

Because we all could use a win right now, this one pot wonder is made right in the slow cooker.

I’m all for dump and go crock-pot dinners right now and since this vegetarian chili can be made in advance (hello meal prep!) you can also save yourself extra time and clean-up by planning on the deeeeelish leftovers for lunch or dinner another night.

Classic chili has always been one of those dishes that’s even better the next day and this lentil taco chili is no exception! The leftover chili is AMAZING!

If needed, you can also portion freeze this chili for later, since tucking away some healthy “fast food” for later is always an epic time-saver.

Taco Lentil Chili in Slow Cooker

Tasty Taco Chili Topping Options

  • sliced jalapeños (fresh or pickled)
  • sour cream (regular or vegan)
  • sliced or cubed avocado
  • fresh salsa or pico de gallo
  • grated cheddar or Mexican blend cheese (skip for vegan)
  • sliced olives
  • fritos corn chips
  • fresh cilantro
  • chopped scallions
  • tortilla chips or strips

I’m forever a huge fan of whipping up some fluffy homemade cornbread with my chili. You can stick with classic cornbread or embrace the taco vibes of this chili by serving it with my easy homemade Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread!

Another fun serving suggestion is to plate this Lentil Taco Chili over a bed of fluffy white or yellow rice. Then simply top it with all your favorite toppings from the list above and dive in!

It gives the chili a rice bowl vibe and is super duper filling and comforting – perfect for all the cold weather we’ve been having.

Slow Cooker Lentil Taco Chili

This recipe was made using a 6-QT crock-pot and yields 12 cups or 6 large bowls of tasty lentil taco chili.

Both brown and green lentils will work marvelous here so feel free to use what you have on hand!

Slow Cooker Lentil Taco Chili
5 from 2 votes
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Slow Cooker Lentil Taco Chili

Weeknight dinners are a breeze with this delicious vegetarian Slow Cooker Lentil Taco Chili simmering away in the crock-pot!

Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, Vegetarian
Keyword Lentil Taco Chili, Slow Cooker Lentil Chili
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 400 kcal
Author Jenn Laughlin – Peas and Crayons

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry green or brown lentils
  • 1 medium onion (white or yellow)
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeño pepper (plus extra for topping, if desired)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cans black beans (15 oz each) drained and rinsed
  • 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 cup salsa (choose your favorite!)
  • 2 TBSP chili powder
  • 1.5 TBSP ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 TBSP fresh chopped cilantro plus extra for topping, to taste

Easy Homemade Pico de Gallo

  • 2 cups finely diced roma tomatoes (plum tomatoes)
  • 1 cup finely diced white onion
  • 1 jalapeño (seeds/stem removed)
  • ¼-⅓ cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • ½ lime , juiced
  • ½-¾ tsp salt or season to taste

More Tasty Topping Options

  • crushed tortilla chips
  • grated cheese (skip for vegan)
  • sour cream (vegan or regular)
  • sliced avocado
  • sliced or diced jalapeño peppers

Instructions

  1. QUICK NOTE: This recipe was developed using a 6-QUART slow cooker. Cook time will be approx. 5 hours on HIGH or 9-10 hours on LOW heat.

  2. Pick over lentils, removing any broken pieces/rocls. Rinse in a fine mesh colander or sieve.

  3. Next prep your vegetables. Peel and dice onion. Remove stem/seeds from peppers and dice. Peel garlic and finely mince. Measure out remaining ingredients.

  4. This is the fun part – toss everything but the toppings in a 6-QUART crock-pot! To your slow cooker you will add chopped onion, bell peppers, jalapeno, garlic, beans, corn, crushed tomatoes, broth, salsa, spices, and lentils. Mix it all up and secure the lid.

  5. Want your chili spicy? Go for it! Feel free to add extra jalapeño on top, use spicy salsa in place of regular, and you can also control the heat of the chili by adding ground cayenne pepper to season your chili.

  6. Set slow cooker to HIGH for 5 hours or LOW for 9-10 hours, until lentils are cooked through and tender.

  7. Serve with rice, cornbread, or straight up with your choice of toppings. It's fabulous every which way!

  8. My favorite toppings for this chili are crushed tortilla chips (perfect for those broken chips at the bottom of the bag!) and fresh pico de gallo. To make the pico, finely chop onion, tomato, and jalapeno. Combine with the juice of 1/2 a lime, fresh cilantro, and season with salt. Add a hearty dollop on top of your piping hot chili and get ready to faceplant!

Recipe Notes

Recipe yields 6 bowls of chili or 12 cups.

Nutrition Facts below are estimated per bowl of chili (with pico de gallo) using an online recipe nutrition calculator. Adjust as needed based on extra toppings and sides chosen. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Lentil Taco Chili
Amount Per Serving
Calories 400 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 1204mg52%
Potassium 1718mg49%
Carbohydrates 79g26%
Fiber 26g108%
Sugar 15g17%
Protein 23g46%
Vitamin A 3119IU62%
Vitamin C 82mg99%
Calcium 156mg16%
Iron 9mg50%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

As written this pretty plant-based recipe can be either vegan or vegetarian (it just depends on your topping choice) and is gloriously gluten-free too. Love it so!

Leftover Lentil Taco Chili is cause for celebration! It’s AMAZING the next day and can even be revamped into different recipes such as Vegetarian Chili Cheese Dip or (one of my favorites!!!) Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes.

If you get a chance to try this tasty slow cooker lentil taco chili, let me know!

Leave some love in the comment form below or tag your photos with @peasandcrayons on Instagram so I can happy dance over your creation. I can’t wait to see what you whip up!

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Comments

  • Katie

    5 stars
    Looks like something my family would love. Can’t wait to try this with them.

  • Shadi Hasanzadenemati

    5 stars
    Love all the flavors here, I already know I’m going to enjoy this recipe a lot!

  • Tammy

    This chili was awesome. I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical of the lentils, but both my husband and I loved this chili so much. I think it’s our new go-to vegetarian chili option. I made it in an instant pot and the whole thing was ready in about 35 minutes with no oversight. Thanks for this recipe!

    • Ahhh yay! I’m so glad you both enjoyed the chili! Love that it worked in the Instant Pot as well – I’ll have to give that method a go next time! xoxo

  • I swear I can smell this through the screen! Going on next week’s to-make list since it’s gonna be cold AFFFFF.

    • HAHA yay!!!! So excited or you to try it!

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