This lentil chili is packed with flavor and easy to make. A hearty yet healthy vegan chili made with a few simple ingredients. BBQ spices, sauce, onions, vegetables, and lentils. A quick slow cooker recipe, just dump and go.  A fiber and protein rich meal that will feed plenty. Gluten-free and grain free.

BBQ Slow Cooker Lentil Chili [Vegan, Grain-Free]






Cooking Time




  • 4 cups vegetable broth 
  • 16-ounce bag of lentils
  • 2/3 cup diced onion - red or white
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2-3 teaspoons of barbecue rub or seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 cup of diced bell peppers (extra for topping)
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes or canned tomatoes (drained)
  • 2-4 tablespoons spicy BBQ sauce mixed in (optional)
  • Sea salt/black pepper to taste (optional)
  • Protein Option: BBQ tempeh, tofu, vegan burgers (These options might not be gluten free though so read labels).
  • Toppings of choice: cilantro, roasted pumpkin seed, red chili flakes nutritional yeast, etc.


  1. First make sure your vegetables are chopped and lentils are rinsed.
  2. Pour the lentils in a strainer and rinse thoroughly. Next Place the rinsed lentils in your slow cooker. Add 1 1/2 to 2 times as much broth as lentils, anywhere between 3-4 cups.
  3. Add in your onion, oil, tomato, BBQ sauce, and other vegetables, such as chopped peppers and garlic. Mix all together.
  4. Next add your molasses and seasoning. Add salt and pepper the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking.
  5. Cook on high for three to four hours. Low around 5. Checking halfway through cooking and mixing. Taste halfway and adjust seasoning (more if needed). If you are using green/black lentils, they will probably take closer to 4 hours and hold their shape. Red/orange lentils don't hold their shape as well as the green/black. Which makes them great for thick chili/stew. If chili is too thick at halfway point, add more broth.
  6. Add optional protein in last 30-45 minutes of cooking.
  7. Once cooked, serve and garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds, cilantro, more chopped bell pepper, red pepper flakes, and optional nutritional yeast.
  8. Keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days.

Nutritional Information

Per 1/6 Serving: Calories: 238 | Carbs: 44 g | Fat: 0 g | Protein: 15 g | Sodium: 516 mg | Sugar: 5 g Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients. Note: The information shown is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.