This naturally vegan Instant Pot chili recipe is made with protein-packed lentils and beans, as well as plenty of hearty veggies. It’s an easy weeknight meal that has tons of savory flavor in every bite.
We’re big fans of chili recipes and Instant Pot recipes here at Fit Foodie Finds and this recipe for Instant Pot chili combines both for one epic meal. This 100% plant-based chili is just as flavorful as our classic chili recipe and cooks in the Instant Pot in just 7 minutes.
Featuring lentils, veggies, and 3 kinds of beans, this Instant Pot chili is a must-make. It’s a high protein, high fiber, naturally vegan, and gluten free meal that hits the spot on a cool day!
“This chili was soooo good! The flavors and spices were just right, and I loved the combination of the lentils and beans.” – Emma
What is in vegetarian Instant Pot chili?
This meat-free chili recipe is made with pretty basic chili ingredients:
Liquid: Vegetable broth and tomato purée make up the chili base.
Protein: Instead of meat, we use lentils and beans for protein and texture. You’ll need 1 cup of dried lentils and a variety of canned beans (we used black, kidney, and pinto). Make sure to drain and rinse the beans before adding them to the Instant Pot.
Veggies: Diced tomatoes, onion, carrots, and sweet potatoes add flavor and nutrients. The sweet potato is the best part – don’t leave it out! Try to cut the sweet potatoes and carrots around the same size/thickness so they cook evenly.
Spices: Use a combination of chili powder, cumin, and paprika. 1/4 cup of chili powder sounds like a lot, but it adds a lot of flavor without too much spice.
Instant Pot Chili
Whip up a batch of this delicious Instant Pot Chili in no time! This Instant Pot Chili recipe is made with ground beef, beans, tomato products, and homemade chili seasoning.
Instant Pot Chili Variations
One of the reasons why I love making chili (of any kind) so much is because it’s so customizable. A few variations:
- Use the same amounts of your favorite kind of lentils and beans.
- Try a russet potato instead of a sweet potato.
- If you have our homemade chili seasoning on hand, feel free to use around 1/4 cup of that in place of all of the spices (chili powder, cumin, and paprika). Try to avoid using a store-bought packet of chili seasoning – homemade chili seasoning (or using individual spices) tastes so much better.
- For a non-vegan version, try our regular Instant Pot chili recipe (made with beef).
Do you have to soak the lentils first?
Kind of – for this Instant Pot recipe, they don’t have to soak overnight, but they do need to soak for a few minutes while you prepare the other ingredients. Soak the lentils in 1 cup of broth. Once the rest of the ingredients are in the Instant Pot, add the soaked lentils (and the broth they soaked in).
Do you have to pre-cook any of the vegetables?
Nope! None of the ingredients need to be sautéed or pre-cooked). Just add them right into the Instant Pot and mix very well.
How long does chili take to cook in the Instant Pot?
It will take about 15 minutes for pressure to build in the Instant Pot. Once enough pressure has built, it takes about 7 minutes for this chili to actually cook.
Store leftover chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The chili will thicken as it sits, so you may need to add a little water to it before reheating and enjoying.
How to Freeze Chili
Chili is a great meal to make in batches to freeze and enjoy later. Let the chili cool completely before transferring to freezer-safe containers. Freeze for up to 3 months. Here is even more about how to freeze soup (and chili).
To Thaw: Transfer the container of frozen chili to the refrigerator. Let it sit in the fridge overnight, then pour the contents of the container into a large stockpot. Heat over medium/high heat until simmering.
Meatless Chili Serving Suggestions
Serve big bowls of chili topped with any or all of these toppings (use vegan alternatives if needed):
- Sliced avocado
- Greek yogurt, sour cream, or shredded cheese (or vegan alternatives)
- Lime juice
- Tortilla chips
Meatless Instant Pot Chili
- 3 cups vegetable broth option to use low sodium
- 1 cup red lentils uncooked
- 28 oz. can tomato puree or tomato sauce
- 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 15 oz. can black beans drained and rinsed
- 15 oz. can kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 15 oz. can pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 1/2 medium white onion finely diced
- 3 large carrots chopped into rounds
- 1 large sweet potato peeled and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup chili powder*
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Place lentils and 1 cup of broth into a bowl and let soak while preparing other ingredients.
- Warm up the Instant Pot by turning on the sauté feature. This will help build pressure faster.
- Prepare the rest of chili ingredients by draining and rinsing the beans and chopping the vegetables.
- Turn off the sauté feature and place all ingredients into the Instant Pot including the lentils and the broth they're soaking in (and the remaining 2 cups of broth). Mix well.
- Close the Instant Pot and turn the pressure valve to seal. Set Instant Pot to > manual > high pressure > and set time to 7 minutes. The Instant Pot will take around 15 minutes to build pressure before it begins to countdown from 8 minutes.
- When the timer goes off, quick release the Instant Pot by manually opening the valve. Once the steam stops, remove the lid, and stir.
- Serve immediately with your favorite toppings!
Tips & Notes
- Storage: Store chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The chili will thicken as it sits, so you may need to add a little water to it before reheating and enjoying.
- Freezing Instructions: Let the chili cool completely before transferring to freezer-safe containers. Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to thaw, transfer the container of frozen chili to the refrigerator. Let it sit in the fridge overnight, then pour the contents of the container into a large stockpot. Heat over medium/high heat until simmering.
- Chili Powder: Use about 1/4 cup of our homemade chili seasoning instead of the other spices (chili powder, cumin, and paprika).