Made with pantry staples, Slow Cooker Turmeric Lentil Chili is incredibly simple to prepare and is packed with good-for-you ingredients. A vegetarian crockpot meal perfect for any night of the week!
Is there anything better than coming home to a steamy, nourishing, hearty bowl of chili on a cold winter day? If there is, I’m not sure what it is.
That’s one of my very favorite things about the slow cooker–that taking just a few minutes to dump and stir together a handful of ingredients results in a dinner that’s ready and waiting for you when you get home.
I have too many favorite slow cooker recipes to count, but one that was missing from the list was a really good vegetarian lentil chili.
If you’ve never tried lentil chili, it may not sound very exciting at first, but trust me, it’s full of such big, hearty flavors you’ll be coming back for seconds (or thirds) before you know it.
This particular chili is a spin on an Indian-inspired Madras lentils. More specifically, it’s based on a pre-made Madras lentil dish that comes in sealed pouches that I found at Costco several years ago.
Elle and I were doing a little sample testing (as people do at Costco,) when the sample lady offered us some Madras lentils. Elle, the ever-skeptical 3 year-old, eyed the new food wearily.
The woman offered her the sample, assuring her that the lentils were indeed delicious, and that her grandchildren loved them and called them “lentil chili.”
Well, apparently that’s all Elle needed to hear, and after trying the sample, begged me to buy the box. I obliged, and she’s referred to the dish as “her favorite lentil chili” since that day.
The the packaged variety contains cream, so I wanted to create a version that was both easy to make, and dairy-free so that our entire family would be able to enjoy it.
Belive me, it took multiple times to nail down a recipe that was similar enough to the original to pass the “favorite lentil chili” test, but I finally prevailed and am thrilled to share this easy, filling meal with you.
It’s packed with plant based protein from the beans and lentils, and gets an extra boost of goodness from turmeric. Leftovers freeze beautifully, too, if you’re lucky enough to have any left. It’s lovely over rice, or on its own.
I hope you’ll make this delicious, vegetarian slow cooker recipe soon. Now, let’s make some Slow Cooker Turmeric Lentil Chili.
RECIPE & KID-FRIENDLY ADAPTATIONS
1 | My 5-year-old happens to love this chili, and its mild flavor makes it palatable to many little ones. If you have a resistant eater, invite him or her to assist in preparing the chili. Helping with the process may encourage him or her to give it a try!
2 | This chili is good on its own, but feel free to doctor it up with cilantro, green onion, fresh avocado, or a healthy dash of hot sauce.
THIS RECIPE IS . . .
Naturally Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free, Vegetarian and Vegan
Slow Cooker Turmeric Lentil Chili
- 2 15-oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups brown or green lentils picked over and rinsed
- 1 small yellow onion finely chopped
- 32- oz reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 1 6-oz can tomato paste
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon mild chili powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 cup coconut milk from a can
- Freshly ground pepper chopped cilantro, chopped green onion, and sliced avocado for topping (optional)
Add the kidney beans, lentils, onion, stock, water, tomato paste, salt, cumin, chili powder, and turmeric to a 6-quart slow cooker.
Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours, or until the lentils are very tender.
Add the coconut milk, stirring to combine. If the mixture seems dry, add a splash more water or stock. Taste and add additional salt if desired.
This chili is good on its own, but feel free to doctor it up with cilantro, green onion, fresh avocado, or a healthy dash of hot sauce.