A spicy one-pot meal with browned mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and fresh cilantro then simmered with chipotle peppers, soy chorizo, pinto beans, and red lentils, then topped with pepper jack cheese, avocado, sour cream, and pico de gallo and serve with tortilla chips. Making this mushroom lentil bean chili the best of meatless meals with a depth of flavor in little time.
Perfect Chili-y Day
A steaming hot bowl of chili is the ultimate comfort food, especially during those chilly days when you crave something to warm you up from the inside out. Our spicy vegetarian chipotle mushroom lentil bean chili is a flavorful sensation that strikes the perfect balance between heat and hearty goodness.
Packed with so much flavor, this easy meal is the ideal choice for a quick and satisfying dinner in cold weather. This recipe not only provides that much-needed warmth but also serves as an excellent example of how an easy dinner recipe can be both delicious and meatless. Gluten-Free? The great thing about this chili is no use of thickening agents.
Here are some other related recipes you might enjoy:
- Cheesy Chipotle Mushroom Vegetarian Birria Style Tacos
- Curry Lentil Turkey Stew
- Blacked Tout with Chorizo Beans and Garlic Broccoli
- Lemony Green Lentil Kale Stew
- Butternut Squash Chicken Chli
To make this easy chili recipe, first, make the fresh salsa with freshly chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and chopped garlic. Then brown your favorite mushrooms.
To the pot of mushrooms, add half of the pico de Gallo (salsa) with chopped chipotle in adobo sauce, soy chorizo, spices, salt, and pepper. Let the seasoning bloom to enhance the aromatic spices. Then, the vegetable broth.
Now, we can finish the rest of the pico de gallo with lime juice and zest, salt, and pepper. To the pot, add pinto beans and split red lentils for a protein-packed chili. Finally, add your favorite toppings like creamy cold sour cream, fresh diced avocados, the pico de gallo, and shredded pepper jack cheese.
Don't forget to eat it with your favorite crunchy tortilla chips. The bonus is the next day, enjoy seconds when the red lentil chili's ingredients flavors have had time to meld, making it the best flavorful vegetarian chili.
See the mushroom lentil bean chili recipe card for quantities.
Follow the step-by-step picture tutorial below, where I'll guide you through the delicious and easy steps for creating my mouthwatering Vegetarian Chipotle Mushroom Lentil Bean Chili!
Coarsely chop the chipotle in the adobo sauce into a chunky paste.
Combine the tomato, onion, and cilantro to make a fresh salsa.
Brown the sliced mushrooms around the edges before adding the salsa.
Combine the mushrooms with the half of the salsa and cook down to incorporate the flavors.
Add the chopped chipotle and soy chorizo, crumble the chorizo, and combine all well.
Add the spices, combine well, and cook to meld the flavors.
To the rich foundation of the chili, add the vegetable broth.
Then, bring to a simmer.
Once it begins to simmer, add the beans.
Then add the lentils, combine well, and cook until tender.
The liquid should cook down and look like this.
To the leftover fresh salsa, add lime juice and zest.
Busy Folks - Become a better home cook with cooking tips to help you cook more efficiently on Cook's Notebook tab. In addition, some related detailed steps can be found there.
- Spice Blend - For quick prep, use chili seasonings or taco seasoning with a bit of cinnamon.
- Pico de Gallo - You might find this fresh salsa already made at your local deli. Just be aware of the lime juice content when adding it to the beginning of the recipe, but it should be fine. If you plan to use this instead, skip adding lime juice and zest at the end.
- Mushrooms - Use your favorite. For a chili recipe, consider using earthy mushrooms like cremini, portobello, or shiitake to add depth and umami flavor.
- Chipotle in Adobo - You might get away with using chipotle powder or rehydrating chipotle. See the Frequently Asked Questions section.
- Soy Chorizo - If you wish to leave this out, use taco seasoning or ½ a cup of real pork chorizo, small diced for every four servings.
- Pinto Beans - For convenience, this recipe uses canned beans. Replace or use a combination of types of beans like black beans and kidney beans.
Change Heat Level - Modify the recipe's heat level to your liking and learn more about the Scoville Scale and Chili Pairings.
- More Toppings - Add sliced green onions, sliced jalapenos, sliced black olives, sliced radishes, crumbled bacon bits, grilled corn kernels,
- More Vegetables - Add sweet potatoes, red bell pepper,
- Make Black Bean Chili - Switch out the pinto beans with black beans.
- Loaded Baked Potato - Serve the chili over a baked sweet potato.
- Small Mixing Bowl - Used as a convenient way for mixing the spices before adding them to the chili base.
- Medium Mixing Bowl - It will be used for mixing the fresh salsa.
- Medium Saute Pan, Dutch Oven, or Cast Iron Skillet - You will need a heavy bottom pan or pot for the chili so that it does not burn when simmering, like the Cuisinart Stainless Steel - 5.5 Quart Saute Pan with Lid, Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Lid, and Lodge 15 Inch Cast Iron Pre-Seasoned Skillet.
Kitchen Must Haves - Find other tools I use here.
- Refrigerator - To store in the fridge, you can place the lentil chili recipe in a shallow 2-inch container to cool down quickly. Then, store it in an airtight container. As a result, the meal will last up to four days.
- Freezer - Follow the refrigeration process mentioned above. Then, place it in the freezer in a labeled, airtight container. For best results, place them in a freezer-sealable bag.
Air Tight Food Containers - I use Glass Food Storage Containers with a plastic clipping lid to store food. For example, I always suggest glass storage containers since you can microwave them and hold food without staining the container, and the glass keeps them at a more stable temperature, which keeps the food fresher longer.
When preparing lentil bean chili, a pro tip is to let it simmer low and slow. The magic happens when you allow the flavors to meld over time.
This slow simmer not only allows the ingredients to fully meld but also ensures that the lentils and beans become tender and soak up all the delicious flavors in the pot.
So, be patient, and you'll be rewarded with a chili that's rich, hearty, and packed with depth and complexity. Check out my short video on building flavors when cooking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Rehydrating chipotle peppers is a simple process that brings these dried, smoky peppers back to life, infusing your dishes with their rich flavor. Begin by selecting the desired number of chipotle peppers and removing their stems.
Then, rinse them under cold water to remove any dust or debris. In a small saucepan, bring water to a gentle simmer and remove it from heat. Submerge the chipotle peppers in the hot water and place a lid or plate over the saucepan to keep them fully submerged.
Allow the peppers to soak for about 20-30 minutes until they become pliable and rehydrated. Afterward, you can chop or blend them to incorporate into your favorite recipes, such as sauces, stews, or, in this case, a flavorful chili, to impart that distinctive smoky and spicy kick.
You can use dried beans; I suggest soaking them the night before instead of right before you are cooking. This way, you are not trying to prepare this while hungry. Dried beans, of course, have much more flavor than canned beans. But canned beans are best for convenience when you are short on time.
Beans ideal for vegetarian chili are black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, or a combination. Black beans have the most distinctive flavor; kidney beans tend to be more firm. Finally, pinto beans have a thinner skin with a milder taste, making them great. When added to any chili dish with complex flavors, like tofu, they will fit right in.
Yes, you can! It is a great way to stock up on homemade frozen meals on busy days. The dense stew is filled with vegetables and legumes that freeze well. If you decide to freeze them, place them in a freezable sealing bag flat; this way, you can stack them and see the labels.
Looking for other stew recipes like this? Try these:
Looking for other vegetarian recipes like this? Try these:
- Cook chicken to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat to prevent foodborne illness from contaminated uncooked meats.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat to prevent cross-contamination.
- Don't leave food at room temperature for extended periods; this can breed bacteria.
- Never leave cooking food unattended to prevent burns and fires.
- Use oils with a high smoke point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
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