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Hearty Lentil Chili


Hearty Lentil Chili

After a whirlwind weekend, we are back at it. We drove 13 hours to western Oklahoma on Wednesday night, drove an hour and a half back east to Oklahoma City on Friday where we had a wedding rehearsal, and a wedding. Following that, we had another long drive back to Indiana.

And the highlight of the weekend? I was suffering from a head cold. I had to give my first (and probably only) matron-of-honor speech and I had a head cold! Other than the nasally voice and sniffling, I think it was a success. And most importantly, I was there to help celebrate the marriage of my best friend.

That’s the last wedding we’ll be attending this year, for a grand total of 4! One by one, each of our friends is getting hitched. *tear*

Wedding season is over, October is in full swing, and it is most definitely fall. Head colds, chilly nights, brisk winds, and crunchy leaves – to me, this translates to steaming lentils, fragrant spices, and hearty bowls. Who’s with me?

Hearty Lentil Chili

To be honest, I never used to be a huge fan of chili. But then I grew up and learned to love it. Especially when lentils are involved. I love the way they cook down and absorb all of the flavors – and in this chili, there are lots of flavors. Spicy, smoky, sweet, and savory. When the lentils soak all of that up, magic happens. Spoonful after spoonful of chili magic.


Hearty Lentil Chili

With loads of lentils and savory spice, this chili is perfect for cool fall weather.

  • Author: Jordan Cord
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Main


  • 1 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • water for cooking lentils
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 jalapeños, minced
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon sriracha
  • 16 oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 115 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced


  1. Rinse lentils and add them to a large pot. Cover with about 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes.
  2. While the lentils are cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and jalapeños. Sauté until the onion is translucent and starting to brown, about 5-8 minutes.
  3. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, chipotle, cayenne, sriracha, and tomato paste. Cook for about 2 minutes until combined, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the vinegar and combine. Add 1 cup of water, diced tomatoes, maple syrup, brown sugar, and garlic. Simmer on medium-low heat for about 30 minutes until the mixture thickens some.
  5. Once the lentils are finished cooking, drain and combine with the sauce mixture.


  • Calories: 204
  • Sugar: 18 g
  • Sodium: 986 mg
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 3 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 34 g
  • Fiber: 8 g
  • Protein: 8 g

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  • Ashley
    February 15, 2019

    Now, I will say, I didn’t have Tomato Paste, so I did sub with Tomato Sauce. I also didn’t have chipotle powder.

    That being said, This recipe was a bit bland. I did try to make up for what I didn’t have with other flavors and I still ended up having to add quite a bit more chili powder and some salt as well. Once I did that, it tasted great. So I wouldn’t necissarily say find a new recipe. I’d just say overseason and it will come out tasting good.

    • thefitchen
      February 17, 2019

      The tomato paste is definitely a big component in the flavor of this chili, as well as the chipotle. Without those two flavors, you would definitely need to add a lot more seasoning to compensate for what was left out.

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