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Lentil Chili (Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot Demo Video)

Lentil Chili (Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot Demo Video)
Heather Nicholds, C.H.N.

A rich and hearty bowl of warm lentil chili is perfect for a cold winter evening. The lentils give a boost of iron and folate, and pairing them with chard (or another green) adds some vitamin C to help you absorb that iron. Top it off with some avocado slices or an avocado cream for a special treat.

I’ll show you how I make the whole thing in my electric pressure cooker with the browning function. Mine is a Cuisinart model, but it would be the same as in an Instant Pot. But you can easily follow the same steps on the stovetop, it just takes longer for the lentils to cook.

This recipe is part of the January Jump Start, where we’re easing in to the new year with one delicious+nutritious vegan recipe per day. Next week will be cleanse week for meal plan members, and there’s still time if you want to join.

Learn More

Or you could hop in for just the cleanse week – more info here.

Meals+ club members can get the recipe pack PDF + grocery lists for the month here.

Lentil Chili

Rich and satisfying, hearty chili is the perfect meal for a winter evening. Pairing those iron-rich lentils with vitamin-c-rich tomatoes and cilantro means that you’ll be absorbing much more of the energy-boosting nutrient than if you ate the beans alone.
Prep Time15 mins
Total Time24 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lentil chili
Servings: 4 bowls
Calories: 220kcal
Author: Heather Nicholds, C.H.N.


  • 1 tsp olive oil or 1-2 Tbsp water, vegetable broth, or red wine
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic minced or pressed
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste or crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup lentils dry
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 cups chard or beet greens, chopped
  • sea salt to taste
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
  • 2 green onion chopped


  • Saute the onion and garlic in the oil, water, broth or wine - either using the browning feature of your electric pressure cooker or Instant Pot, or in a pan (if transferring to a pressure cooker) or large soup pot (if cooking on the stovetop). Once the onion and garlic are soft, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, lentils, spices, and water/broth.
  • Pressure cooker or Instant Pot: Securely lock the lid, make sure the pressure valve is seated properly, set to high pressure for 8-10 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally, then unlock and open the lid.
    Stovetop: Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, then turn down to simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. Turn off the heat.
  • Add the chard, stirring it through to wilt. You may want to put the lid back on for a couple of minutes for it to steam.
  • Scoop into bowls, and garnish with fresh cilantro/parsley and green onions, maybe a drizzle of avocado cream (see note), and enjoy.



To make an avocado cream for drizzling on top, just puree some avocado with salt, nutritional yeast, green onion and just enough water to make it thick and creamy.
Tried this recipe?Tag me @HeatherNicholds so I can see!


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