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

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!
5 from 41 votes
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
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

  • 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.
  • Pick over lentils, removing any broken pieces/rocls. Rinse in a fine mesh colander or sieve.
  • Next prep your vegetables. Peel and dice onion. Remove stem/seeds from peppers and dice. Peel garlic and finely mince. Measure out remaining ingredients.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Set slow cooker to HIGH for 5 hours or LOW for 9-10 hours, until lentils are cooked through and tender.
  • Serve with rice, cornbread, or straight up with your choice of toppings. It's fabulous every which way!
  • 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!

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

Calories: 400kcal, Carbohydrates: 79g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1204mg, Potassium: 1718mg, Fiber: 26g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 3119IU, Vitamin C: 82mg, Calcium: 156mg, Iron: 9mg

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!

More Taco Inspired Eats:

Jenn Laughlin Peas and Crayons Author
About The Author:

Jenn Laughlin

Hi! I’m Jenn and I’m here to help you eat your veggies! It’ll be fun, painless, and pretty darn delicious as I teach you to plan your meals around fresh, seasonal produce with a little help from healthy freezer and pantry staples.

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Recipe Rating




Questions & Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    This is a really great recipe. I cooked my lentils in the instant pot and then added other ingredients. It was delicious. Family really enjoyed it. One “not so healthy” family member added Fritos and cheese!

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve been looking for new meatless Monday ideas and loved this chili. I made it on the stovetop due to time issues and it turned out great. My husband may have missed the meat but my 8 year old asked for seconds!

    1. Hi Julie! Beans and Lentils are high in carbohydrates and the grams of carbs listed are per serving. I put it through a different calculator (my fitness pal) as the recipe card’s calculations are just an estimate and it gave me 58 grams of carbohydrates per serving. If you are looking for low carb recipes I have lots of those as well, but anything with beans will have a larger amount due to their makeup. Hope this helps and for sure let me know if there is something in particular you’re searching for.

  3. 5 stars
    Okay I have NEVER rated a recipe I found through Pinterest but this one deserves it. I have ditched meat recently to focus on my health and chronic illness. I followed this recipe to a T and it was PERFECT. I see myself making this regularly for years to come it was delicious. I topped it with cheese, sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips. SO GOOD.

  4. 5 stars
    Wow. This is delicious! I cooked it on low for the full 8 hours and the flavors are incredible. I used black beans and black eyed peas, one can of each and it was plenty. Next time I’ll use lentils. The veggies make this recipe so hearty and filling. I did one red pepper, one green, and a few poblanos from my garden that I roasted before adding. You could add anything to this. Mushrooms would be good, and I think I’ll add sweet potatoes next time. I’m eating it for lunch as I write this and we will be having it again for dinner. The longer it sits after cooking the better it gets. I topped mine with raw red onion, fresh cilantro, tortilla chips and a squeeze of lime. Yum! Great for summer or winter!

  5. 5 stars
    Delicious! Didn’t change a thing other than double the garlic because we always do in everything. Made the pico & also baked some oil-free tortillas w/ avocado. The flavor of the chili is fantastic without any additions. My new favorite crockpot meal. I am a WFPB chef for a couple of families and they will absolutely devour this!

  6. 5 stars
    Soooo good! Best vegetarian chili I’ve ever made! I halved the recipe and used one green bell pepper (no red) and a 14 oz can chili ready tomatoes instead of the crushed. This still made plenty with some to freeze. Thank you! Love your recipes!

  7. Ok. I made this today and the spices made it so blazing hot it was inedible! Is the measurement for chili powder snd cumin supposed to be in TEASPOONS instead of Tablespoobs??!! It looked so good too!

    1. Hi Paula! It’s for sure supposed to be TBSP (Tablespoons) but my chili powder blend and cumin are not spicy at all. I use a very basic mild brand. If you’re using one that is spicier that my explain why it was so hot?

  8. 5 stars
    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!

    1. 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

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