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!


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!

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.

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Crock Pot Pumpkin Red Lentil Chili

Yield: 6

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes

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!

Ingredients:

  • 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.

Directions:

  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

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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.

33 Responses to “Crock Pot Pumpkin Red Lentil Chili”

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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!

  6. 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! 🙂

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  9. 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!

    • 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. 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!

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

  13. 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. 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.

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

  16. 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?

  17. 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. Made this today and it is delicious! Thank you!

  19. 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!!!!  

  20. I made this recipe but with 1 can of black beans and 1 can of Spanish red beans instead of the kidney beans, because that’s what I had handy. Cooked at low for almost 10 hours because that’s how long I was gone for work. It is AWESOME. I posted the link to your recipe on facebook and raved about it. Thanks!

  21. Is it fine to use normal lentils? Red lentils are hard to come by.

    • I’ve not tried it with other lentils, but I would suggest brown lentils if you’re going to use another kind. French green lentils tend to keep their shape and that could affect the texture. I’m sorry you have a hard time finding red lentils! They’re in nearly every store around here. Do you have Trader Joes nearby? I know they carry them.

  22. I want to make this but don’t have a crock pot. I do have a Dutch oven though. How long would I cook the chili in it?

    • I haven’t tried this in a Dutch oven. I would think it needs to cook for at least an hour. Check the liquid levels – you might need as much as double the liquid. Oh, and I’d suggest sauteing the veggies first! If you try it, please report back on how it goes!

  23. I sauteed the onions in Dutch oven as suggested. Didn’t have any fire roasted tomatoes, only had 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies so left out the jalapeno.I simmered covered on medium low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. I then added a half cup of additional liquid and continued cooking until lentils were completely cooked. Total cooking time was 40 minutes. It tastes awesome. I make red lentils frequently But usually in a dal. This is more hearty. Glad I ca.e across this recipe. I am currently sick and love foods like these to comfort me.

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