Aggie's Kitchen

Slow Cooker Lentil and Quinoa Chili

This Slow Cooker Lentil and Quinoa Chili is hearty, healthy and full of nutrients your body needs. It’s vegetarian but even meat eaters will enjoy a bowl! 

Can also be made in the Instant Pot too!

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili

I’m not sure how it happened, but Tuesday is my little guy’s First Birthday. How in the world is that possible? It sounds so cliche, but it feels like just the other day that he was all teeny tiny, snoozing throughout most of the day, snuggling in my arms or in his rock ‘n play, by my side.

Now he’s a wiggly, giggly, fast moving little baby who is super curious and literally always on the go. He’s in such a fun phase, just learning so much and soaking everything around him in.

He loves being outdoors and going for walks with me in his stroller…we like to call it our “zen time” and it’s one of my (our) favorite parts of the day. Balls have become his favorite toy, he knows exactly what they are if you ask him and he’ll throw them your way too.

He loves dogs too and smiles real big and points when he sees one. He’s currently a super fast crawler who is starting to stand a little on his own. He likes to take steps while holding onto my fingers, we are taking quite a few laps around the house that way these days.

Mama is on a mission to tire this guy out any way she can!

We are seriously having so much fun together.

Micah One Year Collage

His sweet face and big personality has brought us all so much joy – he truly completes our little family. We are excited to celebrate him and his big birthday all week!!


Micah - Sanibel


I guess I should stop rambling about my baby, and tell you more about this chili. This vegetarian Slow Cooker Lentil and Quinoa Chili was my answer to the start of a busy week after an indulgent weekend. It was the Monday after my brother’s wedding weekend, we were all feeling a little sluggish after all the food and festivities and I felt we all needed to have a few clean meals right off the bat. Since I hadn’t spent time grocery shopping after being away for the weekend, I used pantry staples (lentils, quinoa, tomatoes, onions, garlic, spices) and some peppers that just happen to be waiting for a recipe in the fridge. Everything went in my slow cooker and that was that.

Voila…a good for you, stick to your ribs, vegetarian chili. My meat eatin’ husband enjoyed this chili, a couple of times during the week actually. My kids ate it too (1 in the bunch wasn’t very excited about it), including my baby boy who is in a “loving everything mama makes” phase.

This Slow Cooker Lentil and Quinoa Chili is full of good vegetarian protein from the lentils and pinto beans, and of course a bowl of it was filled with plenty of nutrients. I always top my chili with plain Greek yogurt and some cheese to make it even more delicious. Leftovers are great over sweet or baked potatoes too!

Slow Cooker Lentil and Quinoa Chili | Aggie's Kitchen

Hope you have a great Monday! Enjoy the week!


Slow Cooker Lentil and Quinoa Chili

  • Author: Aggies Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can water (I use the can of diced tomatoes to grab all the leftover flavor)
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1 15 oz can Bush’s Pinto Beans
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Place all ingredients into slow cooker. Cook on low heat for 8 hours or high heat for 4 hours.
  2. Serve chili with your favorite fixings:  shredded cheese, plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, avocado, green onion, cilantro


Salt will need to be adjusted according to taste, depending on the broth you use as well as the canned tomatoes and beans. I added 1/4 teaspoon to the recipe initially and then after tasting added a pinch or two until I thought it was right.

I use the Crock Pot 6-Quart Programmable Oval Slow Cooker with Stove Top Browning (affiliate link).

Store leftovers in airtight container in refrigerator for 3-4 days. I love storing my leftovers in these glass storage containers.

More vegetarian chili recipes:

Slow Cooker 3 Bean Pumpkin Chili

Vegetarian Chili with Cilantro Lime Cashew Sour Cream

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

Smoky Black Bean and Corn Chili

Hearty Slow Cooker Lentil and Quinoa Chili - a wonderful vegetarian dish perfect for cool weather!

For more slow cooker recipes follow along on Pinterest. Follow Aggie’s Kitchen’s board Slow Cooker Goodness on Pinterest.

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78 comments on “Slow Cooker Lentil and Quinoa Chili”

  1. Definitely loving the quinoa and lentils in this. So yummy!

  2. You are making me all teary eyed!! What a year you’ve had my friend! So glad you and Micah are having so much fun in this 1-year-old phase!! Can’t wait to see all of the birthday party pics!!

  3. ohmygosh the cutest! Happy birthday little man! This looks amazing! I bet its hard to even tell theres no meat in it. Perfect

  4. Your little guy has the best smile, such a cutie! I can’t believe he’s a year old already! I know this lentil chili would be a hit with my family, so delicious!

  5. This chili looks so comforting and delicious and I love that you made it in the slow cooker!

  6. Sounds delicious! I’ll see if i can try it this week.

  7. A nice recipe. Thank you. Your son is precious and fun-loving.

  8. I love the photo collage of your sweetie pie! It really is hard to believe an entire year has passed. Children make us notice the passage of time like nothing else. This chili looks so perfect. Adding to my ever growing list of things to try!

  9. How many servngs is this? Could I double it?

    • It made about 6-8 servings for us (smaller serving for lunch vs dinnertime). I would think doubling the recipe would be just fine, if your slow cooker is big enough. I haven’t made it any different though so I don’t know for sure.

  10. love the use of quinoa in this! great recipe!

  11. Pingback: Slow Cooker Italian Chicken, Mushroom and Barley Soup | Aggie's Kitchen

  12. Pingback: Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Chili Recipe Review | The Reluctant Vegetarian

  13. I made this tonight and it was good! But it looked nothing like your photo. LOL It was a little light on the good stuff so I added a can of black beans, a can of kidney beans and another can of diced tomatoes.

  14. Love the photo collage of your adorable little one. He is a keeper. Looking forward to trying this dish.

  15. I am truly lovin’ this lentil recipe! I’m so hungry…

  16. How does yours look so dark? Mine doesn’t look anything like your photo!

    • Hi there! I wonder if it’s the chili powder ? I have noticed a difference in color (some bright red, some deep red)…what brand is your out of curiosity? I don’t remember which one I used but I bet that is it. Despite the color I hope you enjoyed the recipe!

  17. Hi, the recipe calls for one can of water.  Approximately,  what is the measurement in cups?

  18. This got rave reviews from my family (husband and kids ages 7 and 4).  The 7 year old wants to bring this to school in a thermos.  My husband likes this better than the other vegetarian chili I’ve been making lately (Emeril’s).  I threw in zucchini and carrot because we didn’t have bell pepper and used black beans since that’s what we had.  I started the slow cooker before bed and it was amazing to wake up to the delicious smell.  This was my first time on this blog but I will look around for more yummy recipes!

    • Hi Kylie! What a wonderful comment to wake up to. Thank you so much for your feedback. So happy your family loved the veggie chili and I really love your variation and have to try it myself! (My kids dislike peppers and my daughter loves black beans so she would love the add in of carrot and zucchini). Welcome to the blog and I hope you find more recipes to try!

  19. I’m on a “pulses” kick – and can’t wait to try more recipes that will be good for our increasingly vegetarian diet.  Love that this one can be made in the slow cooker – such a time saver! xo M.

  20. We had this tonight, minus the celery (I was out and didn’t feel like making a trip to
    Meijer). Served it over plain baked potatoes and it was excellent! Thank you for the
    awesome recipe!

    • Awesome!! What a great way to serve it, I’m going to try that (in fact, I have chili on the menu this week and just added baked potatoes to serve with!). Thanks so much for commenting!!

  21. Stumbled across your recipe after looking for vegetarian recipes for our new slow cooker. Made it yesterday and loved it! I threw everything in the cooker in the morning and my house spelled amazing when I got home from work. It had the perfect texture, almost meaty with the quinoa. My little man (who’s 2 1/2) devoured a whole bowl of it topped with cheddar, with rice and some Greek yogurt on the side. Lots of leftovers that we will enjoy over the next couple of days and then freeze any remainder. Thanks for the great recipe which we will surely make again and again! 

    • so happy you made the chili and enjoyed it!! Makes me happy your little man ate it too!! (I have a little guy same age!)

  22. I made this today and have just had it in burritos! delicious! thankyou!

  23. WOW!! this was fantabulous!!! thanks a million for a great recipe! I used black beans instead of pinto and a can of lentils rather than dried, then carrots instead of capsicum, chilli paste instead of powder and it was divine!

  24. I don’t have a slow cooker. Do you have suggestions on how to make this using a dutch oven (cooking on the stove top).

    • I normally make soups on the stove top by browning the veggies (onions & peppers) first, then adding all the other ingredients and seasonings, bring to a boil, then down to a simmer until cooked through.

  25. Made this tonight. Did not come out like your photo or like the reviews. The only difference was that I used garbanzo beans instead of pintos because we were out of pintos. It came out really dry and not much like chili at all. Thoughts? Seems like it needs a lot more tomatoes or some tomato sauce to give it a more soup/chili like consistency. It tasted like sludge. 🙁

  26. What kind of lentils did you use? red, green or brown?

    I think I’ll throw in some black and kidney beans, and some corn.

  27. Thanks for getting back to me.

    I used brown lentils! I found it very watery, more of a soup than a chili, although it still tasted very good. I ended up taking it out of the slow cooker and letting some water evaporate on the stovetop. I wouldn’t add the extra can of water next time, and I might add tomato sauce for liquid and thickener. Definitely going to play with it, as 16 yo daughter has decided she wants to be vegetarian, and likes chili.First time I’ve used quinoa.

    • thanks for the feedback! I’m convinced that slow cookers are so different from each other because someone else commented that it turned out like “sludge” so I’m assuming super thick. I’ve noticed my slow cooker runs pretty hot usually so the extra liquid usually helps. Sometimes if I want to reduce the liquid with a slow cooker I just take the lid off and set it on high for a bit to let it cook off some liquid. Quinoa is great to add to pretty much any soup you would add rice or pasta too, it bulks it up and if your daughter is vegetarian it will give her the protein boost.
      Try this quinoa salad, I think you and your daughter will like it a lot!

  28. I love this chilli recipe and have been making it at least once a fortnight! It’s enough for two meals with me and my husband (we like big portions!) We like to have one meal as a chilli with rice and another meal as burritos! I’ve made it with a few variations- adding courgette (zucchini), leaving out the celery and sometimes I add dried corriander or fresh (cilantro) or different sorts of beans- kidney beans tend to be more cheaply and readily available in the UK rather than the black type.

    Thanks so much for this delicious recipe!

    • I love your variations!! Especially the added zucchini…great idea. Thank you so much for the kind comment and feedback, I appreciate it and so happy that you enjoyed this recipe!! Have a wonderful rest of week.

  29. wondering would you not have to soak Quinoi usually? Does it not make it bitter?

    • Some quinoa suggests that you rinse it (not soak) before cooking. I believe it will say on the package if it requires it. I honestly haven’t done that in a long time and have not noticed it bitter at all!

  30. Could I use dried beans instead of a can? And if so, what measurement do you recommend and should I add a little more water? 

    • I’m sure you could, but I really don’t know the measurements honestly. Maybe precook the dried beans and add them after?

  31. Have you ever cooked this in the instant pot? 

  32. I absolutely LOVED this chili. So glad I found it! Any guess on how many calories would be in a serving/cup?

  33. Can this be prepared in a freezer bag and then frozen? I want to make this for my cousin who is having her baby girl this week!

    • Hi Bianca! I’m not sure because I’ve never tried it that way. Do you mean ahead of time – pre cooked? I know I have cooked it first, then frozen and reheated but I haven’t tried freezing precooked. Congrats to your cousin and so nice of you to bring her a meal!!

  34. This recipe was so delicious, my husband didn’t even miss the meat! I did not add the extra water as recipe calls for and ended with a lovely, hearty, texture. Froze some of the leftovers and actually look forward to revisiting them in the future!

  35. Omg this chili is so delish! I had black beans so I used those. Also didn’t have any bell peppers on hand, but I did have some hatch chilis. Amazing!!! Thank you for the recipe 

  36. Made it for dinner today and it is AMAZING! Hubby does not like chunks of tomatoes so I substituted with San Marzano crushed tomatoes. All else the same and we LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!! Thanks Aggie!

  37. Interested in making this dish this coming week. What size slow cooker did you use?

  38. Can I cook it on High for 4 hours instead? I am making this for tonite but didn’t get it going til 3pm!

  39. Thank you for this recipe. It’s so good!

  40. I made this today exactly as the recipe says & it is delicious! Only slight change I had to make was I had to used dried pinto beans (so had to soak & cook those first) as we don’t have canned in the UK. I’m so glad to have found this recipe. I’m trying to include more plant based meals to my diet & this one is a keeper xx

  41. Hi! I am making this today. Wished you had put the size of crockpot and type of lentils in the recipe. My crockpot was overflowing so I had to put it in a pot on the stove. 

    • Oh no, I am so sorry! I will update. I have only used one size crock pot my entire life so honestly never think of size – I will make sure to include it in my recipes – sorry about the inconvenience/mess! I use brown lentils in this recipe.
      Hope it turned out and you enjoyed it!

  42. I made this for my boyfriend and I with the addition of 5 habanero peppers! Neither of us are vegetarians but it was a hit! Delicious, thank you! 

    • Wonderful!!! I love that you enjoy heat like I do 🙂 Thanks for the feedback – have a great weekend!!

  43. Hi,

    How much does 4 cups of vegetable broth equate to in mls? And if you were just using stock cubes how many would you use? I have found my slow cooker recipes often come out quite runny so am worried about using too much liquid.


  44. I was wondering if you can substitute farro for the quinoa. I thought I had quinoa but I don’t. Only Farro. Thanks! 

    • you could but I don’t know how much liquid or cook time it will need. You might be able to add it in already cooked and use a little less liquid since the quinoa absorbs some of the liquid.

  45. Could you make this in an Instant Pot? And if so, how long would you cook it for? Thanks! 

  46. Wooowww! I served this to my family without saying it was meatless. They had no idea and “mmmm”ed their way to the bottom of their bowls! My oldest (13) didn’t believe me when I told him later and went to the crockpot to show me that he was ‘sure’ he’d had meat in his. Haha! The youngest ate two bowls, and the middle two tucked in with no complaints at all! That never happens! Amazing recipe. Amazing. Crowd pleasing and easy to make with ingredients I normally have on hand. Thanks so much for this recipe. I’ll probably never make chili con carne again!

    • Steph – I am thrilled that your family enjoyed it so much, thank you for letting me know! It’s such a good feeling when EVERYONE eats with no complaints 🙂

  47. I just made the recipe and I absolutely enjoyed it (I plan on trying to add some more spice the next time I make this). I know that this is a healthy meal so I have no qualms in eating it but I was wondering if there were any rough nutrition facts for a serving because I am trying to keep my calorie intake up as I am doing some training for a half marathon?

  48. Super impressed with this recipe! It has a hearty meaty taste without the meat. This will be one recipe I use often during these “chili” months!

  49. I thought this was pretty good. Being a Texan, I had to spice it a bit. I added some black beans and red kidneys, masa flour to thicken and an extra dash or three of cayenne. I fed some to my roomie and he was quite enthusiastic about it. If you’re expecting a meat tasting chile, this isn’t going to do it. But as a spicy stew for winter or fall, this is it! Definitely a recipe I will keep.

  50. I’m going to try this recipe, but I’m curious why you use canned pinto beans instead of dry ones when you are cooking it for eight hours? Dry ones should cook up in that amount of time. Has anyone tried it with dry ones?

  51. Any thoughts on an instant pot version? I would love to try it!

  52. Delicious!  I added about a cup and a half of veggie ground beef crumbles and a cup and a half of V8 juice 

  53. My family loves this recipe. I add 1 Poblano, 1 Jalapeño and an extra can of pinto beans.