Instant Pot Vegetarian Lentil Chili
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
An easy recipe for Instant Pot Vegetarian Lentil Chili. This healthy vegan chili recipe is made with black beans, quinoa, lentils and veggies. Just dump all of the ingredients in your pressure cooker and cook! Crockpot directions also included.
This lentil chili is one of my favorite quick and easy vegetarian chilis. You can cook this vegetarian chili in your Instant Pot or in your slow cooker. It’s nice to have options, depending on what your day and evening look like.
More easy vegetarian meals include my Instant Pot Vegetable Soup and Instant Pot Lentil Sloppy Joes.
I especially like this Instant Pot vegetarian chili recipe because it’s made with pantry ingredients. If you have a well stocked pantry, an onion and a bell pepper, you can probably make this recipe today!
I’m always looking for more family-friendly vegetarian recipes. We have a few favorite vegetarian recipes, including Instant Pot potato leek soup, these easy lentil tacos (slow cooker or Instant Pot) and this sweet potato black bean chili (stove top, slow cooker or Instant Pot). I also have a delicious Instant Pot Lentil Soup for you to try.
This lentil chili has quickly become one of our favorites, especially with my 17 month old! We love this Instant Pot vegetarian chili because it’s rich and hearty. The best part is that you get to load up your chili with your favorite toppings! Chopped red onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, crumbled tortilla chips, chopped bell pepper, avocado… what will you put on your bowl of chili?
How to Make Instant Pot Vegetarian Lentil Chili
This is a dump and go recipe, meaning you just put all of the ingredients into your Instant Pot and hit pressure cook. It’s so easy!
I recommend using green or brown lentils in this chili recipe, rather than red lentils. Red lentils are much more delicate and will turn to mush under pressure cooking. Even using green or brown lentils, you can expect the lentils to be very soft in the cooked chili.
Once you have everything in the Instant Pot, give it a good stir. Then put the lid on the pot and turn the steam release valve to the sealing position. You’ll pressure cook the chili for 7 minutes on high pressure and then let the pot naturally release for 10 minutes.
After the natural release there will still be some steam and pressure left in the pot. Do a quick release of the remaining pressure by carefully turning the steam release valve to the venting position. I like to use the handle of a long wooden spoon to turn the valve.
Stir the chili and serve with your favorite toppings! If the chili is too thick for your tastes, you can add a little more broth.
How to Make Slow Cooker Lentil Chili
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, or you want to be able to prep dinner early in the day, you can cook this chili in your crock pot. I’ve tested this recipe in my slow cooker and it works great!
To make this chili in your slow cooker, add all of the ingredients to your slow cooker and increase the vegetable broth to 6 cups. You’ll use more broth in the slow cooker because there is more evaporation as foods cook in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours, stir and serve.
Freezer Meal Vegetarian Chili
You can prep this lentil chili ahead as a freezer meal and freeze before cooking. Here are the easy steps:
- Put all of the ingredients, except for the broth, in a large zip-top bag and seal.
- Freeze for up to 3 months.
- The day before you plan to cook the chili, put the freezer bag in your refrigerator to defrost.
- Cook the thawed chili as directed in the recipe (don’t forget to add the broth), either in your Instant Pot or slow cooker.
More Instant Pot Chili Recipes
- Instant Pot White Chicken Chili
- Instant Pot Turkey Chili
- Instant Pot Beef Chili
- 12+ Easy Instant Pot Chili Recipes
Instant Pot Vegetarian Lentil Chili
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 15 ounces can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 15 ounces can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup dry green or brown lentils, picked over, rinsed and drained
- 3/4 cup quinoa, uncooked, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- Add all ingredients to Instant Pot and stir well.
- Close the Instant Pot lid and turn the steam release valve to the sealing position.
- Cook on Manual/Pressure Cook (high pressure) for 7 minutes. The Instant Pot will display "ON" as it comes to pressure and then the cook time will begin counting down. When the Instant Pot beeps a few times to let you know that the cook time has ended, allow it to naturally release for 10 minutes (just leave the Instant Pot alone).
- Carefully quick release any remaining pressure.
- Stir and serve chili with toppings as desired.
- I recommend using green or brown lentils in this recipe. Red lentils will be much softer and turn mushy after pressure cooking. Even using green or brown lentils, you can expect the lentils to be very soft after cooking in the Instant Pot.
- This chili is mild on the spice. To make it spicier you can add a 4 ounce can of diced green chiles or a little bit of cayenne pepper.
- Slow Cooker Instructions: Add all of the ingredients to your slow cooker, increasing the vegetable broth to 6 cups. Cook on low for 8 hours, stir and serve.
- To Prep Ahead and Freeze (Before Cooking): Place all ingredients except for the broth in a zip-top bag. Seal and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and cook as directed in the recipe, remembering to add the broth before cooking.
Smells amazing, but I can’t seem to get past the overheat feature on the instant pot. 3 times I’ve had to cancel and scrape the bottom since it over heats. I think it might be the quinoa? Either way, i’ll get there eventually, just wondering if anyone else had that trouble?
Thanks for an awesome recipe!
Are used my Insta pot and the only changes that I made to the recipe is I did not use the quinoa. And I added fresh garlic and chickpeas. Came out amazing. I have an Insta pot and I did it for eight minutes I let it depressurize for 10 minutes and it was perfect
Ok here’s my thoughts, on my last comment, I think – make the quinoa separate, or throw it in after and sautee. Quinoa already cooks fast, so no reason to pressure cook it. It is sticking like all hell to the bottom of my instant pot and totally stopping the heating program. So message to others, save the quinoa for after! great idea to add it thought as it’s mega protein.
I’m sorry you are having that problem! That’s never happened to me with this recipe. What size and model of IP are you using? I know that the 8 quart can be more prone to getting a burn warning.
yep! you guessed it, I have the 8 quart..that could have been why. I’ve had this issue with a few other recipes so I should have remembered, haha. Also, I did make a bigger batch so maybe the machine was just overwhelmed, ha! Chili was a hit though! We just got an air fryer so we also made sweet potato fries, and loaded the chili on them, with all the fixings…. delicious!
I’m glad you’ve figured out what works for your pot – it can be tricky to create one size fits all recipes since the different models and sizes cook a little differently. 🙂 I’m so happy you enjoyed the chili! Serving it with sweet potato fries sounds amazing!
I am not a vegan, but we do try to eat meatless a few nights a week. My husband and I thought this recipe was a huge hit and the left overs the next day are even better. I will be making this one again.
Highly recommend this one for the non-vegans trying to eat healthier.
Thank you for your thoughtful comment. We are not vegan either, and, just like you, try to eat meatless a few nights a week. I’m so happy that you enjoyed this meal!
I just made this tonight and it was delicious! I did have to add more liquid because my instant pot gave me the “burn” alert. I had some of my mother’s home canned stewed tomatoes, so I added a jar of those. One of the best things about this recipe is that I had everything I needed to make it on hand. I will definitely be making this again!
Loved this meal! I am currently in the making of a post and plan to share a link to this page. Thanks for sharing!
Really good. I made it without quinoa. Everything else the same. Perfect flavor and consistency. Thank you
Question – if I wanted to use dried black beans instead of canned – do you have any suggestions for modification to the recipe?
I would suggest cooking the beans separately first and then using the cooked beans to follow this recipe as written. It will not work to add dry beans to this recipe. You can use my Instant Pot black beans recipe to cook the dry beans. Enjoy!
Can I use tomato sauce instead of crushed tomatoes and if so how much? Can I use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth? Thanks in advance!
Yes, you could substitute equal amounts of both if desired.
Has anyone added nutritional yeast to this using a slow cooker?
This was delicious! I left out the bell pepper (not a fan) and added the quinoa after pressure cooking allowing the residual heat “cook” the quinoa and it turned out perfect.
A side note: I have a 3 qt Instant Pot mini which is too small for this recipe as written. I recommend cutting the recipe in half OR add the quinoa AFTER pressure cooking, and maybe the canned beans too, so you don’t exceed the max fill line.