Crock Pot Pumpkin Red Lentil Chili

This thick, hearty vegetarian chili is just different enough to be special, but still tastes mainstream enough to appeal to most everyone. It's the perfect fall chili!

Vegan Light & Healthy

Options: Vegetarian

Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes


This thick, hearty, and vegan Crock Pot Pumpkin Red Lentil Chili recipe is just different enough to be special, but still tastes mainstream enough to appeal to most everyone. It's the perfect fall chili!

We are up to our ears in firewood right now. A giant, half-dead hemlock towered over our new place, and I, ever the worrywart, wanted it down immediately after we moved in.

So the professionals climbed up and it came down. And we were left with wood. Lots and lots of wood.

We rented a log splitter and my guy, my brother, my nephew, and my sister spent the majority of yesterday taming the giant rounds – some were coffee-table-sized, I’m not kidding – into manageable hunks of firewood. Me, well, I primarily took up residence inside, working on chili recipes, including this one – Crock Pot Pumpkin Red Lentil Chili.

This thick, hearty, and vegan Crock Pot Pumpkin Red Lentil Chili recipe is just different enough to be special, but still tastes mainstream enough to appeal to most everyone. It's the perfect fall chili!

I felt sort of lame bowing out of most of the hard labor in the name of babywatching and lunchmaking, but hey … someone’s gotta feed the troops, right?! And besides, this chili? Totally worth it.

I actually dreamed up this chili last winter, but by the time I got it just about right, it was nearly spring and not really a good time to share a Crock Pot chili recipe. So I made it again yesterday with a couple of final tweaks, and I officially love this one more than ever.

This one is a nice, thick chili. The red lentils soak up all of the flavors and help give this chili its wonderfully hearty texture. I adore the subtle, unexpected complexities that the pumpkin, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and cloves add to the mix.

I like this one to be fairly spicy (for me) – so I add an jalapeno, seeds and all, for a nice bit of heat. If the jalapeno seems like it’s a bit on the mild side, I’ll add two.

Yep – this one pretty much the perfect chili for fall. Or wood-cutting days. Or both.

Print Recipe

Crock Pot Pumpkin Red Lentil Chili

This thick, hearty vegetarian chili is just different enough to be special, but still tastes mainstream enough to appeal to most everyone. It's the perfect fall chili!

Yield: 6

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes


  • 2 15-ounce cans kidney beans, drained
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 15-ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1/2 a medium onion)
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper, minced (taste pepper for heat and add another pepper if you like. If you prefer a milder chili, scrape out the seeds before mincing)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Assorted optional toppings such as diced tomatoes, diced onions or (if not vegan) sour cream, shredded cheddar or gruyere cheese.


  1. Add all ingredients to a 3-quart or larger Crock Pot. Stir.
  2. Cook on high for 4 - 5 hours or on low for 8 - 10 hours, until lentils are tender and chili is thick and hearty. Serve with assorted toppings, if desired.

 So long, House Crusher

This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a portion of the proceeds.

Karen Raye

Kare is a vegetarian home cook living among carnivores. She loves creating irresistible and flexible recipes that help multi-vore families like hers keep the peace - deliciously.

26 Responses to “Crock Pot Pumpkin Red Lentil Chili”

  1. Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl posted on October 21, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    I am DEFINITELY going to be giving this a try. I LOVE vegetarian chili, and adding two of my favorite foods (lentils and pumpkin) sounds amazing!

  2. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies posted on October 23, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    You weren’t kidding about that tree being giant! As soon as you mentioned coffee table-sized pieces of wood, my mind went to, “Ooh, I bet that would be good for food photography.” I am in need of crockpot recipes, so I’m definitely saving this one to make soon!

  3. Denise posted on November 2, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    be careful burning that hemlock in your wood stove or fireplace. it is in the family of pine tree, so it has lots of creasote in it. That stuff gums up the chimney really bad. a little bit is ok once in awhile, but don’t depend on burning that wood regularly. BTW, I will try this recipe as it sounds yummy! thanks :)

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  5. Lisa posted on November 10, 2013 at 8:13 am

    I Googled pumpkin and red lentils, because that’s what I need to use up today, and here I am. Looks like I have everything in my pantry, so I can whip this together for tonight’s dinner. Thanks!

    • Karen Troughton posted on November 14, 2013 at 8:05 am

      Hi Lisa, I hope you loved it! :)

  6. Sherry posted on November 13, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Thanks for sharing–this was amazing! I did sub 1 cup of beer for 1 cup of veggie broth but left everything else as is. YUMMMMMMMMY! :)

    • Karen Troughton posted on November 14, 2013 at 6:17 am

      Hi Sherry, I’m so glad you liked it! The beer substitution is brilliant – yum!

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  9. Melita posted on December 3, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Just wanted to add my thanks for this recipe! I had to sub sweet potato for the pumpkin, but probably both ways are good. Our whole family enjoyed it, including our three young kids, and I emailed out a link to your website so my whole family could make it. My mom made it just the other day, they loved it, too! Love the red lentils, the cocoa/chili powder, the pumpkin, so perfect, such a great blend! =) Glad to come across your blog; I’ve got lots of recipes to try!

    • Karen Troughton posted on December 6, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      Hi Melita! I’m so glad you liked it – I really have to try this with sweet potatoes, sounds SO good! Thanks so much for sharing my blog with others – and thanks also for the sweet comment. :)

  10. Christy posted on January 1, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    I searched online this afternoon for a lentil chili recipe and found this one. Fantastic! First meal I’ve made in a while that kids and parents all loved- including my picky 9 y.o. vegetarian who isn’t a bean fan. I added a bit of garlic and some extra water. Otherwise- no changes. Loved it and will definitely make again. Thank you!

    • Karen Troughton posted on January 4, 2014 at 7:58 am

      Hi Christy, so glad everyone loved it! Garlic is a great idea. :)

  11. Gina posted on February 21, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    This was really delicious! I’m making it again this weekend. I didn’t change the recipe at all. I can’t believe how good this was. Thanks so much for the recipe. It’s a keeper.

  12. Nancy Roylance posted on February 23, 2014 at 6:54 am

    I’ve just discovered your blog – and can’t wait to try these recipes!

  13. Colleen M. posted on March 5, 2014 at 8:28 am

    This was AWESOME!!! I couldn’t find red lentils at the local supermarket, so I used the standard green ones. SOOOO delicious, and my carnivore hubby devoured it. Can’t wait for leftovers for lunch today. Thanks for a fantastic recipe and awesome website!

  14. HealthNerd posted on August 14, 2014 at 4:07 am

    This is SO delicious! Thank you very much for this amazing recipe. I made this in bulk to stock the freezer for healthy, tasty, veggie dinners on lazy days too.

    • Karen Raye posted on August 18, 2014 at 9:53 am

      I’m so glad you love it! I’m gearing up to make some freezer recipes and I appreciate the reminder to put this one on the list. :)

  15. bill posted on October 2, 2014 at 10:34 am

    I will be making  this soon , can’t find dry red lentils,what can I use instead 

  16. Jamie posted on October 20, 2014 at 6:53 am

    I know this recipe is from awhile ago but do you think it would be ok to add ground turkey? Would I brown the turkey first?

    • Karen Raye posted on October 21, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      Absolutely! And yes, definitely brown the turkey first. :)

  17. Nikki posted on January 17, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Thanks for the great recipe! I made it today and it came out lovely. I added some baby bellas because I wanted a bit more veggies and it’s delicious! My slow cooker had it done perfectly on low in just 5.5 hours. 

  18. Abby posted on January 17, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Made this today and it is delicious! Thank you!

  19. marie torrisi posted on February 16, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    I was looking for a recipe for lentils as my husband has cancer and his doctor is using diet and meds together.  I am cooking it right now and it smells wonderful.  I am so grateful!!!!  Thank you for sharing your recipe with all of us trying to eat better.  My husband is getting better his doctor said that the cancer is under control and getting smaller and smaller..almost all gone!!!!  

    • Karen Raye posted on February 17, 2015 at 8:21 am

      I hope you both thought it tasted as good as it smelled! Wonderful news about your husband – sending positive thoughts your way!

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