This Instant Pot Vegan Chili is fast and easy, thanks to the help of the electric pressure cooker. You simply “dump” the ingredients into a pot, press a button, and walk away! It doesn’t get easier than that.
Instant Pot Vegan Chili
What I love about this Instant Pot Vegan Chili is that it’s naturally gluten-free and packed with plant-based protein. The pressurization process brings out extra flavor from the vegetables, without the need to sauté them first. This saves you time and lowers the overall calorie content, since you don’t need to add any oil to this recipe.
Vegan Chili Recipe with Lentils & Beans
I use red lentils in this recipe, because they naturally thicken the chili and cook faster than other varieties. For convenience, I also like to add some canned beans for extra texture and protein, but you can use any other add-ins you like. Using canned beans means this recipe needs just a 10-minute pressure cooking cycle.
Cooked Beans vs. Dried Beans
You’d have to extend the cook time and add more water if you want to use dried beans instead of pre-cooked ones, so I don’t recommend making that substitution without some research first. (There’s a vegetarian chili recipe using dried beans in The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook if you’d like guidance on that.)
This recipe makes a great dinner one night, and then you can enjoy the leftovers as an easy lunch the next day. For a properly combined meal, try serving some of this leftover chili over a baked potato and some vegan cheese sauce for a “chili cheese” night.
Instant Pot Vegan Chili
- 1 red onion , diced
- 3 carrots , diced
- 3 celery stalks , diced
- 1 red bell pepper , diced
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes , with juices
- 1 cup red lentils (see note for substitutions)
- 2 cups water
- 1 (15 oz.) can black beans , drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 oz.) can red kidney beans , drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- pinch cayenne pepper
- fine sea salt , to taste
- fresh lime slices , for serving
- Add the onions, carrots, celery, bell pepper, garlic, tomatoes, lentils, water, black beans, kidney beans, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, and 1 teaspoon of salt to the Instant Pot. Stir well, but keep in mind that there won't be a lot of liquid in the pot. (The veggies will release more liquid as they cook.)
- Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing. Press the "manual" or "pressure cook" button, and cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. The pot will take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure before the cooking cycle begins.
- When the cook cycle is over, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. The Instant Pot screen will read LO:10 when the natural release time has passed. Move the steam release valve to Venting to release the remaining pressure in the pot.
- When the floating valve in the lid drops, it's safe to remove the lid. Give the chili a stir to make sure all of the lentils dissolve in the chili, thickening it. Season the chili with additional salt and a squeeze of fresh lime juice, to taste. I usually add another 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of lime juice, then adjust by adding more to taste. (If your diced tomatoes are already salted, you'll want to use less.)
- Serve warm, with your favorite toppings. Sliced avocado, chopped green onions, and shredded cheese (if you're not vegan) are popular options with my family. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Per serving (without toppings): Calories: 106, Fat: 0g, Carbohyrdates: 19g, Fiber: 8g, Protein: 6g
- This recipe is easily adaptable to use anything you happen to have on hand. Sometimes I use fire-roasted tomatoes with green chilies to replace the diced tomatoes (for extra spice), and sometimes I leave out a can of beans if I don’t have them on hand. Either way, this recipe makes quite a bit of food for the week!
Reader Feedback: Have you tried this Instant Pot Vegan Chili yet? Please leave a comment below letting me know what you think of it! If you make any modifications, please share that, too. We can all benefit from your experience!
Questions and Reviews
I know I can always count on your Instant Pot recipes to be perfect, and this one does not disappoint! I took your suggestion in the notes and swapped half of the tomatoes for the ones with green chilies and the flavor is so good! I love that I didn’t have to stand around my kitchen sauteing the veggies first. Such an easy dump meal, and now I have another meal for this week, too. Thanks!
I’ve been waiting for this recipe since I saw you post about it on Instagram. I just made it exactly as written, and it’s perfect! Served it with some fresh cilantro and avocado on top, and I still have plenty leftover for my family of four. Thanks!
I got the email with this recipe yesterday just when I was trying to decide what to make for dinner. I had all the ingredients except the red pepper which I substituted with an orange pepper. Absolutely delicious and so easy! Thank you again Megan!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
Amazing flavours. Since I had time I sauteed the vegetables in a tablespoon of olive oil as I think the onions really benefit from it. Apart from that followed instructions and now have a lovely big pot of chilli for the week! Today I had it with brown rice and tomorrow I will throw into a burrito. Thanks for another winner!
The only reason I’m not giving this 5 stars is that I had to run a second 10 minute cycle on the instant pot. Perhaps just my personal preference – or maybe my Pot is getting old- but the veggies and flavors just weren’t quite ready after just one 10 min cycle and pressure release. I let the pressure release for 40 min too! After the second round, this was amazing. It’s the only vegan chili I’ve ever liked as a matter of fact. The carrots make it just sweet enough. This makes plenty. After serving dinner for four I used leftovers for Huevos Rancheros (over rice with avocados, jalapeños and cheese) the next morning and Chili Mac (adding zucchini noodles to the mix) for lunches.
This was excellent and had surprisingly deep flavor, but I did have to add some water because I kept getting a burn error.
I have tried several recipes in my Instant pot and get the ‘burn’. I use dry beans to make my chile or pinto beans for refried beans. Takes hours and will scorch same as cooking on stove top! I have noticed with the Instant Pots once you stop the pressure cooking to check or add ingredients then start it up again you get the ‘BURN’ even after adding more liquid. with beans and rice I always soak and rinse to remove gases and starches. I am not impressed with the instant pots. For years(50) I have used a presser cooker on gas stove with speed and success. tips and tricks will be appreciated, thanks
The Burn message appears when there is not enough liquid in the bottom of the pan. Depends on what you’re cooking, but if possible, put the liquid in first, add the ingredients and do not stir. There has to be enough liquid in the bottom to create the steam. I’ve not actually made this recipe but I will increase the liquid if I do, and try not to stir too much,
I’ve never heard of anyone “stopping the pressure cooking” to check the ingredients. It means you have to start the pressurising process again. Adding more liquid on top may not enable the pot to create the steam.
In general, I like the IP for some dishes though I share some of your reservations. In particular, it’s not very quick at all once you factor in the pressure-up / pressure-down periods. For something like a veggie chilli that doesn’t take long in a conventional pot, there may not be much advantage. But meat dishes like pulled pork, which normally take several hours, can be cooked in an hour or so in the IP.
I tried to make this and got the burn notice. I even removed all the chili, scrubbed the pan, added another cup of water and poured another cup of water in the bottom adding chili on top and got burn notice again.
Really bummed because I was making this in a pinch and was really let down.
I have two IPs, an older one and a newer one, essentially the same model, but my old one doesn’t have that “burn” business. I like it so much better, and stuff doesn’t burn in it, either.If I could find another old model, I’d buy it and ditch the new “improved” Instant Pot.
Yum! My husband (who normally likes ground beef in his chili) was sceptical but really liked this chili! I prepped the vegetables a couple days before, so prep time was just the time to open a couple cans of beans and measure out spices. So easy for a weeknight meal!
Really enjoyed this chili – it’s very thick and yummy. I prepped all the ingredients ahead of time, except the red lentils, and kept it in the fridge for the next day. Come meal time, I threw everything in the Instant Pot with the red lentils and it came out great! I did use chickpeas instead of black beans since that’s what I had on hand. Definitely a keeper!
If I want to put all the ingredients in a bag and freeze it and then put it in the instant pot, any idea how long I should extend the cooking time? Looking to make some meals in advance before the arrival of my baby!
I think that’s a great idea! I wouldn’t extend the cooking time at all. Because the ingredients are frozen, it will take the Instant Pot MUCH longer to come to pressure, so the overall time will be extended by 10-20 minutes already, if that makes sense.
How much is one serving?
Came out perfect from the freezer! Thanks!
I’m new to vegan cooking, and have never used lentils before. I was wondering if you used lentils that were already cooked? Or do they go in the pot dry? Do you soak them first, like other dry beans? I’m looking so forward to trying this!
The lentils are dry when you add them to the pot. I don’t soak them ahead of time!
Really good chili! The flavors are so bright…make sure you add the green onion when you serve it. So good! I agree with a previous review that it can cook a little longer if you like your veggies soft like I do.
I’m only giving this four stars because without any additional water, the instapot burned and gave me a burn notification. I cleaned out the pot and put everything back in with water and then it was fine. The recipe is excellent, however, lots of flavor!!
I loved the flavors but my carrots and peppers were still have put back on for 10min hope it comes out ok
Can I use my slowcooker with this recipe? Come home from work to this delicious meal
I made this in my crockpot and it came out great – 8 hours on high temp.
Success! this is by far the easiest, most healthy and most delicious dish I’ve ever made in my instant-pot yet!….. what a great recipe, loved the red lentils. I wish there was an Detoxinista app!
Hi, we have this in the Instant Pot, and I’m wondering how much a serving is. I have no way to measure 8 servings to see how much we’re talking about. 1 cup? 1.5 cups? Using the MyFitnessPal app to track meals. Thanks!
I also would like to know the serving size please.
Weigh if you weigh it and get the ounces, you can just divide that by 8 to get your serving size.
If you plug the recipe into your myfitnesspal app and say it was 8 servings, the app will calculate the kcals per serving. You don’t need to.
This is one of my fave chilli recipes 👌
I am usually a beef chili fan, but this recipe came out great! Have you tried freezing it after making? Just wondering if it will hold out okay! Thanks!
I haven’t tried freezing this exact recipe, but in my experience soups and stews almost always freeze and thaw well. I’m glad you enjoyed it!
I want to make this for dinner tonight, but my supermarket only had green lentils…or they may have been brown. Is it alright to substitute with these? Thanks!
The recipe is really nice, but I had to transfer this to my stove after going through the entire Instant Pot cooking cycle, as I didn’t realize my plunger hadn’t raised. When I opened the pot everything was only partially cooked and I’m pretty sure this was because my 3 quart Instant Pot is too small for this recipe, as after adding all ingredients it was just above the max line. This was a disappointment, as I had to delay dinner by 25 minutes for a diabetic husband who had worked a long physical day. I have now appropriated this otherwise delicious recipe for stove top, but I pretty much doubled the spices, used grey Celtic salt and added a tblsp. of molasses and a tsp. of agave for a little extra sweetness and depth.
Thank you so much for the recipe! Made it for husband’s first night home after Open Heart Bypass Surgery. I sautéed the veggies and only had a yellow onion and green bell pepper, but it was a hit!
Unfortunately I experienced the same as others. Did everything the recipe said and then started my instant pot, part way through preheating the burn message showed up. This happens when ingredients are stuck and burnt to the bottom of the pot. I dumped it all out cleaned the bottom of the pot and tried again even adding a little more liquid. It happened again. So I dumped it all into my slow cooker should be ready in 2 hours… disappointing.
My favorite vegan chili to make! I like to play with using different veggies or sometimes doing pinto, black and kidney beans instead of lentils. Always easy to make, delicious to eat and the best way for me to get the nutrients I need. Yum!
Hey Kayla! what other veggies have you tried that worked well? Did you do anything with spinachor kale? and how did you measure the ratios – did you need to add more water? Thank you!
This did not work for me at all. I kept getting the burn error, even after adding water. I’ve tried twice to make this and it’s happened both times. Super frustrating.
Tasty and easy! I used pinto beans instead of the kidney beans, and added some Better Than Bouillon vegetable stock. Came out great!
This was terrific! I didn’t have carrots, so I used sweet potatoes and it was perfect. I’m making my second pot of it now for the freezer. I hope it freezes well.
Perfect marry of flavours! I used green lentils (all I had on hand) and added an extra 5 min. I love the lentil instead of the common quinoa. I had compliments that it felt hearty, like I’d added meat. It was gobbled up!
This is delicious! I literally just opened my new Instant Pot so I was nervous/overwhelmed with how it works, but this recipes walks you through how to do it very easily. Great flavors! I couldn’t find red lentils so I used green lentils and added 5 minutes of cooking time per another comment. I also added 2 cups of water instead of 1 cup because I was scared of the burn notice that others received but everything came out perfectly! Thanks so much!
Omg! So good. Made this today for company and it was fabulous! I did sauté the veggies first.
Fantastic chili!!! I made this a few weeks ago and LOVED it! I’m making it again this week 🙂
Great recipe – just a note, when sautéing the onions or any veggies, remember to deglaze. I found that the ‘burn’ light came up. Twice. I ended up using my crockpot to cook the chilli. Tried again and deglazed the pot before adding tomato and the beans, with no problems. I used yellow and green peppers and edamame beans that I had in fridge, worked great, very colourful and had high praise from everyone.
This recipe doesn’t call for sautéing the veggies first, but yes, when you use the saute function you definitely need to deglaze the pan before pressure cooking! It’s just so much easier as a “dump recipe” where you add everything in a press a button. 🙂
Is good,but I am not a fan of the carrots in it. Seems weird in a chili. So next time I’ll leave that out.
I also added Soy Curls to it.
Has anyone tried this on the stove instead of an instapot? Would I just sauté the veggies first?
Yes, I’d saute the veggies until they are softened, then add the liquid and lentils and simmer until the lentils have expanded and are tender. Hope you enjoy it!
The recipe sounds yummy. Going to make it this weekend. I just wanted to add that there are plenty of great cruelty-free vegan shredded cheese products available. No need for anyone to be deprived! 🙂
Can I double this recipe and still use the instant pot?
This was so yummy. I did put the chili on 5 additional mins HP because I wanted the flavors to cook longer. I added some salsa to mine once finished and topped with avocado. It resembled a harvest fall chili I used to make that I love. This will be a go-to from now on-awesome flavor, texture and easy peasy.
The recipe was really good but we upped the seasoning(chili, paprika) and I definitely needed a bit
Of a longer cooking time for out taste. Overall though, I would make it again!
I didn’t have red lentil on hand so I used green lentil instead and cooked high pressure for 15mins. The chili was DELICIOUS! I made 12servings to have leftovers.
This looks so yummy – I want to make it! However, I do not have an instant pot. I have a crock pot. Would I be able to make this in the crock pot? If so, how would I adjust the cooking directions?
This was literally the worst chilli I’ve ever made. For too much water, absolutely disgusting. DO NOT ADD EXTRA WATER!!
loved this recipe before, but now I only have fresh tomatoes on hand, is that okay to use?
I prepared this recipe today in the morning and just served it for dinner. I had to adjust it since i ran out of carrots, celerie and black beans and even cumin. I used chickpeas instead of the black beans, kidney beans, onion, garlic and bell peppers, and a can of fiery roasted tomatoes (canned) and used the rest of the seasonings just. like in the recipe stated. It was amazing!! When I just scrolled down on your page i realized I even own one of your books 🙂 definitely want to use the Instant pot and your book way more often in the upcoming fall!
I got a burn error twice, added an extra cup of water the second time, then gave up on the instant pot and transferred contents to a saucepan on the hob. A bit frustrating.
Amazing flavor!! Definitely making this again!
Delicious, easy chili to make! I used black and pinot beans and the red lentils give this chili a wonderful heartiness. Detoxinista.com is my go-to for healthy recipes-thank you Megan! I appreciate all you share!
DELICIOUS!!! I added a diced sweet potato.
Great recipe! Thank you! I added a diced sweet potato and two diced portobello mushrooms to up the veggie ante.
Delicious, easy and healthy! My non vegan friends loved it too! 🙂
Delicious! Left out red lentils and used frozen corn. Also, used black bean mix cooked prior in instapot too. What a winner.