Lentil & Bean Chili (Vegan + GF)

Quite like a lot of my recipes this one has been adapted from one I used to make with meat. I used to make this with ground turkey and eventually I tried it with quinoa but I was never crazy about this chili with quinoa. It’s a good boost of protein but I just never liked it in the chili.


Then enter lentils and I was like now we are in business. It’s no secret that I love lentils and that I often use them as a protein source where I used to use meat. I can’t help it. They are so versatile and work well in so many dishes. They are low in calorie, full of fiber, loaded with minerals and b-vitamins, and all of this with basically no fat. Lentils, how I love thee.


Like I said I’ve been making this chili the same way for years just with different subs for protein sources. This time however my mom tasted it for the first time in a long time and told me that I should enter a vegan chili cook off. Is that a thing? Should I find one? I told her she’s had this chili before and never said that but she was convinced that this is the best batch of chili I have ever made.


I couldn’t figure out what she could possibly be tasting that was so different but then I remembered what happened when I was making this chili because I’m really dumb. My cornstarch and baking powder are in identical containers but one is green and one is white. I was paying the least amount of attention to what I was doing so I grabbed the baking powder instead of cornstarch.


I made the slurry and thought it was weird that it fizzed when cornstarch doesn’t do that but it didn’t stop me. I poured the slurry into the pot and then it dawned on me what I had done. I was kicking myself for being so dumb.


I scooped out as much as I could off the top since I didn’t stir it in thank god and I absolutely hate wasting food so I was not about to chuck the whole pot out cause I’m an idiot.


So as I was thinking what I had done different I realized that was the only thing. There was some leftover baking powder in there and I thought maybe I discovered the weirdest chili secret ingredient ever. I wouldn’t actually recommend adding any to your chili because I don’t actually think it’s a good secret ingredient I think my mom just hadn’t had my chili in a really long time. I just thought I’d share the story with you so you know how dumb I am.


If you do try this or any other recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #modernlittlevictories on Instagram! I’d love to hear what you think and see what you create in your kitchen.

4.5 from 2 votes

Lentil & Bean Chili (Vegan + GF)

An absolutely delicious and hearty vegetarian chili loaded with lentils, beans, and veggies it's the perfect food to get you through the cooler months! 

Course Dinner
Cuisine GF, Vegan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Modern Little Victories


  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ small onion diced
  • 1 jalapeno diced
  • 1 small bell pepper diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • ½ tbsp cumin
  • ½ tbsp oregano
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can kidney beans drained and rinsed well
  • 1 15 oz can pinto beans drained and rinsed well
  • ½ cup lentils
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • Optional for topping – sliced jalapeno diced scallions, shredded cheese, sour cream, & saltine crackers


  1. Heat olive oil in a medium/large pot. Add in diced onion, jalapeno, and bell pepper. Cook until soft and onion is translucent.
  2. Add in minced garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Toss in chili powder, cumin, and oregano.
  3. Cook in the heat for about a minute.
  4. Pour in water, tomatoes, and lentils. Bring to a boil and let cook for about 15 minutes.
  5. Add in beans and reduce chili to a simmer. Let simmer for about 15 minutes.
  6. Remove ½ cup liquid and pour into a small bowl with cornstarch. Whisk together to make a slurry. Pour back into the chili. Let thicken for 5 minutes.
  7. Serve and top with whatever garnishes you like.

Recipe Notes

You can omit cheese and sour cream if you’re vegan or you can just use vegan substitutes.















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  1. Oh wow I can’t wait to try this and hey, stop knocking yourself so much- we all do stupid stuff sometimes and so what?? You’re awesome!

    1. You are so sweet! Thank you 😉 I actually made this for lunch today and had no mishaps this time. I even joked that at least this time I won’t have to dump any out! Hope you enjoy it!

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