A Glug of Oil

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Vegetarian Chilli Recipe

Vegetable Chilli with Lentils and Beans

My vegetarian lentil chilli recipe is so wonderfully easy to make and it is delicious and filling. 

Although we're not vegetarians we really love it and do not miss the meat at all.

Vegetarian chilli in a large saucepan.
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*Post updated January 2023

It’s simple and requires just one pot, basic ingredients, and comes together in just over an hour.

Campfire Vegetarian Chilli

Last year we went camping and this veggie chilli is perfect to take camping as it's really easy to heat up on your camping stove.

We took the chilli in a storage container along with a packet of ready-cooked rice, all you do is heat them up in a frying pan rather than the microwave - a nice and easy first camping night dinner!


Lentils are an excellent source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. They're also a great source of plant-based protein and fibre. So they are great for anyone following a plant-based diet.


Courgettes, also known as zucchini do not need peeling. Just slice off each end and discard then prepare as the recipe directs. They can also be sliced thinly, and eaten raw.


  • Lentils
  • Onions
  • Red and green bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Courgettes (zucchini)
  • Tomato puree (paste)
  • Kidney Beans
  • Tinned Tomatoes - be sure to use good quality ones or your sauce won't be half as nice
  • Red chilli
  • Vegetable stock, or chicken if you are not vegetarian
  • Spices - chilli powder and crushed cumin seeds

Top Tip!

You could make this a Vegetarian Chilli con Carne by adding soya mince and, perhaps halving the lentils.


a large saucepan

a wooden spoon - it's not vital that you use a wooden spoon, but they are really handy and I put mine in the dishwasher - they survive a surprisingly long time.

Get your ingredients ready

Vegetarian chilli ingredients.

Cook the onions then add the chilli, garlic and tomato puree.

Onions and chilli in a saucepan.

Add the carrots and peppers and cook. Then add the courgette and spices.

carrots, onions, chilli and peppers in a pan.

Now add the spices, beans and tomatoes.

Cook for a while then add the lentils and cook until the mixture has thickened.

Cooking lentil chilli - all ingredients in a large saucepan.

Once the chilli has thickened, serve it with rice.

Vegetarian chilli in a large saucepan.

Can I freeze Lentil Chilli?

Yes, you can and actually, it freezes really well, just be sure to let it completely cool before transferring it to a suitable container.

Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe card below!

vegetarian chilli recipe, vegetarian chili recipe, vegetable chilli with lentils, vegetarian chilli con carne, easy chilli
dinner, main, vegetarian,
Yield: 6
Author: Jan Bennett
Vegetarian Chilli Recipe

Vegetarian Chilli Recipe

Easy chilli with vegetables and puy lentils recipe that freezes well.Be sure to use good quality tinned tomatoes or your sauce won't be half as nice.
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 1 H & 5 MTotal time: 1 H & 15 M


  • 1½ tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion - chopped into small dice
  • 1 celery stalk - finely chopped
  • 1 red and 1 green pepper - stalk and seeds removed and then chopped
  • 2 carrots - peeled and grated (otherwise they won't cook for ages)
  • 1 courgette - thinly sliced and then cut into half-moons
  • 2 nice fat cloves garlic - chopped finely
  • 1-2 red chillies - seeds in and chopped finely
  • 2 teaspoons of chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds - crushed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée (tomato paste in the USA)
  • 1 x 400g can plum tomatoes - including the juice
  • 180ml vegetable stock - made with a Knorr stock cube
  • 1 x 400g can kidney beans in chilli sauce (drained if yours are in water)
  • 250g pack of ready-to-eat puy lentils - I used Merchant Gourmet
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion and celery and cook gently while stirring for about 15 minutes until the onions have softened, but not browned.
  2. Don't rush cooking the onions as you don't want raw tasting onions, plus they will become sweeter as you cook them.
  3. Add the carrots and courgettes and cook for a few more minutes before adding the peppers, stir and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Now add the garlic, red chilli, chilli powder and cumin.
  5. Add the tomato purée and cook for 2 minutes otherwise, the tomato puree will taste bitter. Then add the tomatoes including their juice.
  6. Now add the stock and bring to the boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes - give it all a good stir now and then.
  7. Check to see if the courgette has softened and if not cook for another 10 minutes or so.
  8. Then you can add the beans including the sauce (but drain well if your beans are in water).
  9. Now add the 'ready to eat' puy lentils and give it a good stir and cook gently for 15 minutes, stirring now and then. You can add little water if it's looking too thick.
  10. Have a taste and add salt and pepper to taste
  11. You can add a pinch of sugar or a squirt of tomato ketchup if needed.
Serving suggestions
  1. Boiled rice
  2. Jacket (baked) potato
  3. Salad
  4. Grated cheddar cheese
  5. Sour cream
Did you make this recipe?
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