There’s nothing quite like a bowl of chili on a cold, dreary day. It warms you up from the inside out and you can batch cook it, leaving you plenty of leftovers for those days you might be tempted to order a pizza instead of prepping dinner yourself.

Chili has long been one of my favorite dinners to put into rotation for winter meal planning. But for the longest time, I thought a good chili had to be meaty! After all, that’s what makes it hearty – right?! But when I switched to eating a mostly vegan diet, I was left wondering if I’d still enjoy this dish. Enter red lentils. Lentils are excellent for thickening up dishes (hello, hearty!) and are both nutritious and very inexpensive. With a little help from the Instant Pot, this cheap-yet-filling meal can be done and on the table in less than 30 minutes!

You can easily adjust the heat by changing the amount of chili powder and sriracha in this recipe. Cooking for your littles? Reduce or omit the sriracha. Cooking for your quirky relative who practically collects hot sauces? Bump it up! No matter what, you and your guests will love this delicious, rich chili so much you won’t miss the meat one bit.

Servings: 6


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Sriracha, to taste (we used about a 1/2 tbsp to achieve our desired spiciness)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • Optional: Vegan corn chips, vegan sour cream, and avocado for serving


  • Instant Pot


  • Add oil and onion to Instant Pot and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until the onions have softened
  • Add garlic, green and red peppers, and corn and sauté for another 3-4 minutes
  • Turn sauté mode off
  • Add remaining ingredients to Instant Pot and stir to combine
  • Put the lid on, seal, and set to "Manual" for 15 minutes
  • Quick release the pressure once it's finished cooking
  • Top with any toppings you want! We used vegan corn chips and sour cream, and some sliced avocado! Enjoy!
Rhiannon Ball

Rhiannon loves to cook and bake but has also never said "no" to a takeout burrito (see, she's just like you!). Despite slowly running out of room in her cabinets, she continues to expand her collections of cookbooks and kitchen gadgets and is deeply jealous of people who can just "whip something up" without a recipe. When she's not in the kitchen, you can find her camping and hiking with her husband and rescue dog, Waffles.

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