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!


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!

Looking for a new slow cooker? I love my Crock-Pot with Stove-Top Browning – the stove top browning feature was a total game changer for me!

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


Print Recipe

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili

Yield: 6-8 servings


  • 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. Place all ingredients into slow cooker. Cook on low heat for 8 hours.

Serve chili with your favorite fixings:  shredded cheese, plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, avocado, green onion, cilantro

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

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67 Responses to “Slow Cooker Lentil and Quinoa Chili”

  1. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar posted October 6, 2014 at 6:01 am

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

  2. Liz @ The Lemon Bowl posted October 6, 2014 at 7:55 am

    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. Erica posted October 6, 2014 at 8:34 am

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

  4. Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen posted October 6, 2014 at 9:37 am

    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. Gaby posted October 6, 2014 at 10:04 pm

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

  6. Fabiana posted October 7, 2014 at 9:01 pm

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

  7. Liz posted October 9, 2014 at 8:50 am

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

  8. Valerie | From Valerie's Kitchen posted October 9, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    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. Hillary G posted October 10, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    How many servngs is this? Could I double it?

    • Aggies Kitchen posted October 13, 2014 at 9:06 am

      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. athletic avocado posted October 13, 2014 at 7:24 am

    love the use of quinoa in this! great recipe!

  11. kelly posted November 14, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    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.

  12. Diane posted February 12, 2015 at 3:10 pm

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

  13. Donna posted February 25, 2015 at 1:45 pm

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

  14. Kate posted April 1, 2015 at 7:36 pm

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

    • Aggies Kitchen posted April 2, 2015 at 7:47 am

      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!

  15. Ann posted July 22, 2015 at 5:42 pm

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

  16. Kylie posted October 7, 2015 at 12:15 am

    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!

    • Aggies Kitchen posted October 7, 2015 at 6:29 am

      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!

  17. Michelle Stern (What's Cooking with Kids) posted January 15, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    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.

  18. Kathleen posted January 30, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    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!

    • Aggies Kitchen posted February 2, 2016 at 6:31 am

      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!!

  19. The Mistress of Spices posted March 21, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    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! 

    • Aggies Kitchen posted March 22, 2016 at 7:16 am

      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!)

  20. Laura Clive-Parker posted March 26, 2016 at 2:29 pm

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

  21. Lea Satie posted March 27, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    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!

  22. Tara posted April 28, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    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).

    • Aggies Kitchen posted April 29, 2016 at 7:18 am

      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.

  23. Anna posted April 28, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    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. 🙁

    • Aggies Kitchen posted April 29, 2016 at 7:18 am

      Sorry it didn’t work out for you!

  24. raidergirl3 posted May 14, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    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.

    • Aggies Kitchen posted May 18, 2016 at 1:36 pm

      I used brown lentils. Your add ins sound great!

  25. raidergirl3 posted May 18, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    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.

    • Aggies Kitchen posted May 18, 2016 at 2:29 pm

      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!

  26. laura posted August 29, 2016 at 7:21 am

    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!

    • Aggies Kitchen posted September 1, 2016 at 6:06 am

      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.

  27. Lisa Ghaffari posted October 5, 2016 at 6:56 pm

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

    • Aggies Kitchen posted October 11, 2016 at 6:44 am

      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!

  28. Stacey pirtle posted October 24, 2016 at 10:01 am

    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? 

    • Aggies Kitchen posted October 24, 2016 at 1:48 pm

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

  29. Corrie Cobb posted November 27, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    Have you ever cooked this in the instant pot? 

    • Aggies Kitchen posted November 28, 2016 at 10:45 am

      I haven’t but I want to try it soon!!

  30. Paige posted January 17, 2017 at 3:59 pm

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

  31. Bianca posted April 3, 2017 at 11:20 am

    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!

    • Aggies Kitchen posted April 4, 2017 at 5:43 am

      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!!

  32. Maddison posted August 31, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    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!

    • Aggies Kitchen posted September 1, 2017 at 9:32 am

      That is wonderful to hear! Thank you!! Enjoy those leftovers!

  33. Annelie posted September 7, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    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 

  34. Debbie B posted September 18, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    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!

    • Aggies Kitchen posted September 26, 2017 at 5:58 am

      Great!! Thanks so much for the wonderful feedback, glad you and your husband loved it!

  35. Korryn posted September 22, 2017 at 2:06 pm

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

    • Aggies Kitchen posted September 26, 2017 at 5:55 am

      Hi there – I use a 6 quart slow cooker!

  36. Heidi posted October 23, 2017 at 6:29 pm

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

    • Aggies Kitchen posted October 24, 2017 at 6:19 am

      yikes, just seeing this now, sorry about that…how did it turn out on high? I would think it should be ok!

  37. Christine posted January 13, 2018 at 8:18 pm

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

    • Aggies Kitchen posted January 15, 2018 at 8:33 am

      happy you enjoyed it!

  38. Lauren posted March 7, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    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

  39. Rebekah posted March 12, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    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. 

    • Aggies Kitchen posted March 13, 2018 at 5:40 am

      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!

  40. Ryn posted March 14, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    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! 

    • Aggies Kitchen posted March 24, 2018 at 7:00 am

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

  41. Emma posted March 15, 2018 at 7:33 am


    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.


  42. Jocelyn posted April 4, 2018 at 11:40 am

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

    • Aggies Kitchen posted April 11, 2018 at 7:29 am

      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.

  43. Amy posted October 20, 2018 at 1:56 pm

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


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