Slow Cooker Turmeric Lentil Chili | Real Food Whole Life

Slow Cooker Turmeric Lentil Chili

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


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Slow Cooker Turmeric Lentil Chili

  • Yield: 4-6 1x


Description

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!


Scale

Ingredients

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)


Instructions

  1. Add the kidney beans, lentils, onion, stock, water, tomato paste, salt, cumin, chili powder, and turmeric to a 6-quart slow cooker.
  2. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours, or until the lentils are very tender.
  3. 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.

Notes

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!

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.

 

0 comments to " Slow Cooker Turmeric Lentil Chili "

  • Kathy

    Slow cooker Tumerick lentil chili question,
    Is there anything else I can use beside the coconut milk? I’m dying to try this recipe.

    • Robyn Downs

      Kathy, if you’re okay with heavy cream, you could substitute 1/2 cup for the coconut milk. You could skip it altogether, and just thin with a bit of water at the end–the coconut milk adds a richness and balances the flavors, but the recipe should still work without it. Let us know how it goes!

  • Nicole

    Hi Robyn,
    Do you have to presoak the lentils?
    Thank you! Can’t wait to make this!
    Nicole

    • Robyn Downs

      Nicole, no need to presoak, they should cook right up from dry. If your tummy is sensitive, though, feel free to pre-soak. I hope you enjoy!

      • Nicole

        Thanks Robyn!
        I ended up presoaking, but next time I will just add! Made this today and everyone in my house loved it! Even the pickier ones lol. I love all your recipes that I’ve made so far!

  • Alessandra

    Hello! Wondering how you would modify this recipe if made on the stove top, no slow cooker?

    • Robyn Downs

      Alessandra, I think you could make this on the stovetop. I would probably cook the onions in some olive or coconut to soften, then proceed with the recipe, cooking on low, covered, until the lentils were cooked through. If you give it a try let us know how it turns out!

  • Anna George

    This sounds like a great recipe! I work with a smaller slow cooker (2.5 quart) and I was thinking of just halving the quantities laid out here—do you happen to have any idea of whether or not the cook time should be adjusted as well?

    • Robyn Downs

      Anna, I haven’t tested this one in a smaller slow cooker, though I imagine the cook time would be similar, if not slightly shorter. Maybe try an hour shorter, and then add on if necessary. Let us know how it goes!

  • Garry

    That’s a powerhouse of great beneficial nutrition all in one recipe!

  • Kendall

    Can’t wait to try this it sounds so delicious!

  • Julia

    Thanks, I really enjoyed this recipe! So delicious for such a low effort cooking process!
    Made on (electric) stove top.

    (So just in case anybody is interested: Just dumped all ingredients into a large pot (so easy, I love it!) and simmered on low for 30 min (although lentils were probably cooked by 20 😀 ). Then turned off the heat and let sit covered on residual heat for another 20 min.
    For topping I chose a mix of finely chopped green pepper, tomato, cilantro and red onion, dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.)

    Thumbs up and thanks for sharing this 🙂

    • Robyn Downs

      Julia, yay, thanks for sharing the stovetop option, so helpful for people. So glad you’re enjoying this low-maintenance recipe!

  • Crystal Pollard

    I would love to try this recipe. Do you think it will work with only lentils? I am doing the standard process purification and the only legumes I can have are lentils, green beans and peas.

    • Robyn Downs

      Crystal, I think it would work with just lentils. I’d just skip the beans and proceed with the recipe. Let us know how it turns out!

  • Elena

    Elena
    I’m going to make this recipe tomorrow and just wondering if I should stir the ingredients once or twice while cooking in the crockpot? Appreciate your comments! :))

    • Robyn Downs

      Elena, you shouldn’t have to stir at all, unless your slow cooker is extra hot. If you do, you may need to add a bit of extra time. Hope you enjoy!

  • Chelsea

    Have you tried this in the Instant Pot? Or would you have any suggestions about how to do it? I’m new to Instant Pot cooking!

    • Robyn Downs

      Chelsea, I haven’t tried it yet! I haven’t used the IP for lentils yet, so I’m not quite sure. If I come up with an adaptation I’ll add it here! 🙂

  • Meg

    I just made this for my family yesterday and it was so great. I listen to your podcast every week, but have never made any of your recipes until now. Both of my young kids ate it. I crumbled tortilla chips on the top and it was great. I am making it tonight (leftovers!) with fried eggs on top. I am super impressed with all you do—a big thank you! Ok, now I am going to go plan more recipes of yours to make.

    • Robyn Downs

      Meg, yay, love when listeners become readers/makers and also the other way around! So glad you found a recipe your crew enjoyed. Here’s to many more. Cheers!

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