Vegan Simple and Easy Slow Cooker Chili with a smoky, spicy taste.

Simple and easy vegan chili in a crock pot.  A smoky tasting vegetable chili, with kidney and black beans, lentils, green and red peppers, onion, corn, mushrooms, and diced tomatoes.

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The best vegetarian chili you have ever had.

I have been creating whole foods plant based vegetarian chili recipe variations since 2013, and this is the current champion!

This vegetarian chili has a perfect mix of my custom chili spice blend with just the right mix of spices, heat, and chili powder.

Kids and adults both like it.

Make this chili for a party, or make it for yourself.  You can adjust the servings on this page and the recipe will recalculate for you.

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Smoked paprika

This oil-free whole foods plant based (wfpb) chili recipe uses smoked paprika for the smoky flavour, so if you haven’t tried smoked paprika before, run out and get some!

We found our smoked paprika at Costco and use it all the time in many of our meals, most grocery stores and supermarkets carry it.

No fake food in this recipe.

Chili doesn’t need any fake vegan meat to taste awesome, I’m not dissing on fake meat here – I use it occasionally – but, this chili is pure wholesome whole foods.

It may be vegan chili, without oil, but it looks like it has meat in it.

The key is choosing dark lentils, darker lentils will look like ground beef.

We use a lentil trio from Costco – I will link to it in the recipe ingredients – it has nice dark coloured lentils in it.  I find canned lentils are usually too light in color.

These dried lentils only take 8 minutes to cook!  If they are a bit chewy when you put them in the slow cooker, that is good, because they will absorb liquid and make the chili thicker.

It is worth it to caramelize your onions before adding them to the crock pot.

Really, it doesn’t take much longer to saute the onions in a bit of water on the stove (no oil required), because you need to dice the peppers anyways.

Food processor, or chop your onions, put them in a frying or metal saute pan, then, at the same time as they cook, dice the peppers.

Be triple efficient – start your lentils cooking first!  Remember, these lentils only take 8 min to cook.


Here is the chili before being cooked.



The spice mix is perfection.

When we make this deluxe vegan chili for a crowd, we make extra spice and save it for smaller batches later 


Here is the chili after being cooked.


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Wherever you are feeding a large crowd, consider making this party food chili recipe.

Take this chili to work, pot-luck lunches, family events, functions, any gathering of hungry people is going to be well served by this vegan dish!

Everyone who likes chili, loves this delicious smoky bean filled chili, it is great for non-vegans.

A vegan party spread with this chili:


Serve your chili with some whole grain buns, and some dips and spreads:

like homemade guacamolehomemade salsa, and vegan onion dip, that I made here.

See my irresistible peanut butter cookies and no sugar chocolate bean brownies on this table too?  Try them too!

Get your party on!

How about taking this vegan chili to your next social gathering?


Greg, my husband, took this vegan chili to his office, for a work pot-luck lunch.

He had the chili in a slow cooker, people started commenting how good the chili was smelling at 10am!


By lunchtime those non-vegans couldn’t wait to dig in.

Greg is totally casual, so he doesn’t mention when something is vegan.

So people at his work are eating this chili and loving it, and someone comments how the chili is vegetarian (’cause some people know Greg is vegan).

Someone else is like “really, there is no meat in this?!”  just stunned, “like wow, how is that even a thing?”

Then of course, people ask “why no meat?” and Greg gets to explain how he is vegan, and he wants to avoid cancer, and heart disease, and he feels awesome, and blah, blah, and he usually ends up converting a man to eat more plant-based by the end of it.

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I’m simply going to post this recipe now, and you let me know in the comments whether you agree that it is the best!


Image of the Deluxe VeganEnvy three bean chili after being cooked, it looks like meat.
5 from 2 votes

Vegetarian Chili – the BEST SLOW COOKER CHILI for a CROWD

This vegan chili, without oil, looks like it has meat in it. The key is choosing dark lentils, they will look like ground beef. We use a lentil trio from Costco – see the link to it.

Recipe yields a full 5 quart (4.7 litre) crock-pot / slow cooker. You can update the Servings number to recalculate the recipe if you want to make more or less.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories 245 kcal
Author Jeanette Whitten


  • 1 cup dried lentils prepared, slightly undercooked, choose dark coloured lentils like the ones in the link - these are the exact lentils we love. They only take 8 minutes to cook!
  • 1 green pepper diced
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 1 onion sweet, white
  • 1080 ml diced tomatoes can drained
  • 341 ml corn kernels, canned
  • 284 ml mushrooms can
  • 540 ml black beans
  • 540 ml kidney beans

Chili Spice Mix

  • 4 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 tsp oregano dried
  • 2 tsp paprika smoked
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper fresh ground, or double the amount of powdered pepper


  1. Turn slow cooker to high.

  2. Cook lentils in a small pot following the package directions, until just undercooked. They will finish cooking and absorb liquid in the chili.  On the stove my lentils take 7 minutes of simmering in water, plus 4 min of sitting with the heat off, then I drain and add the lentils to the slow cooker.

  3. Meanwhile, add diced onions to a saute or frying pan and cook on medium heat 5 - 9 minutes to caramelize.  Add small amounts of water to prevent sticking.  No oil required.  Bits of brown are tasty.

  4. While the onions are getting flavourful, drain your cans of diced tomatoes as much as possible, really get the liquid out, and add to the slow cooker.  

  5. Large dice the green and red peppers into bite sized pieces. Throw them into the slow cooker so they can start warming up.

  6. Mix up the spices in a separate dish, there will be extra - we aren't going to use it all. 

    Stir 4 heaping tablespoons of spice mix into the slow cooker now before it gets too full.  Reserve the rest of the spice mix for taste testing and adding later or to future chili.

  7. Add all remaining vegetables, lentils, and beans, to the slow-cooker / crock-pot, and stir well to combine.  

  8. Cook on high until bubbling (about 2 hours for my old, very full crock-pot).  It will be faster if your crock pot is less full (see notes).   You can serve the chili at this point, but if you reduce to low and continue cooking for a few hours longer, the chili is going to get tastier and more thick and more brown looking.

Recipe Notes

Cooking time will vary, depending on the size of your slow cooker and how much chili you are making.

Slow cooker manufacturers recommend filling the pot at least half full and no more than two-thirds full.

Your dish might cook more quickly and burn around the top if filled less than half full, and if over-filled, it will take longer to heat up to temperature and cook.


What's Special About VeganEnvy Recipes?  

VeganEnvy recipes are easy, low-fat, whole-foods, plant-based and nutrition rich.  Real food my family eats, and techniques we use to cook.

I choose ingredients that are proven to prevent and reverse disease, based on scientific studies, such as those reviewed on and findings published by whole-foods plant-based (WFPB) experts featured in the Forks Over Knives (FOK) and What the Health documentaries FOK trailer.

Eating VeganEnvy recipes will make you lose weight, look better, feel better and live longer.  PLUS spend your money to cruelty free food systems, cut your environmental impact, and likely increase your compassion for, and awareness of, lives other than your own.

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