Slow Cooker 5 Bean Vegetarian Chili

There is something soul satisfying about a stick to your ribs chili and while this recipe is usually on repeat in the winter, we are still having chilly rainy spring days and this is the perfect pantry meal that you can mix up and let go on low on the slow cooker overnight. With 5 different kinds of lentils, this chili is an excellent source of protein – and with its rich, hearty flavors, it’ll be a favorite even with meat eaters!

The key to this recipe is browning the onions and jalapeños in a pan before adding it to the slow cooker – sautéing allows the onions to caramelize a little and bring a depth of flavor to the chili. In our current COVID-19 times, this is a great way to use items already available in your pantry! The chili will keep great in the fridge for about a week and we have also frozen it in individual servings for “emergency” meals!

There are a ton of different ways to serve this chili:

  1. A DIY chili bar with toppings: shredded cheese, sour cream, cilantro, fresh lime & crispy onions
  2. Chili cheese fries: we love using oven baked sweet potato fries topped with this chili and shredded cheddar cheese
  3. Nachos: works great with store bought tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole.

Chili with fried onions and shredded cheese, served with a sourdough grilled cheese sandwich.

Tips and Tricks

  • Beans – choose any cans of beans that you like. You can use 1 or 2 cans less if you prefer less beans.
  • We used a can of mix veggies containing beans, carrots, corn, potatoes.  You can use any can or even a cup of frozen mixed veggies.
  • Use Jalapeños, Serranos or other peppers based on your liking.
  • We have sometimes added crumbled soy-rizo for a more “meaty” texture.
  • You can use other seasoning mixes if you like.  With the beans in here, the Mexican Taco seasoning is a great blend.
    • Flavors will be better 24-hours after completion.
    • Freezes really well for ~6 months – we store serving size portions in Tupperware, you can defrost in fridge overnight and then heat up in a pot.

Recipe Information

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 6-8 hours
  • Yield: 6-8 servings


  • 5 Cans of Beans (your choice)
    • Garbanzo Beans
    • Black Beans
    • Kidney Beans
    • Navy Beans
    • Red Beans
  • 1 Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Can Mixed Vegetables
  • 1 Can Roasted Corn
  • 1 Can Vegetable Broth
  • 1-2 Jalapeños, Seeded & Chopped
  • 1 Onion, Diced
  • 1 Bell Pepper, diced (I like yellow or red for color)
  • 2 cubes Garlic (we use Dorot Frozen, so 2 cubes)
  • 1/2 Packet of Taco Seasoning (My go to is low sodium El Paso)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 Lime, Juiced
  • Cayenne Pepper (to taste)
  • Salt/Pepper


  1. Plug in and set Slow Cooker to Low.
  2. In a pan, saute onions and jalapeno in oil.
  3. Add onions/jalapeno mixture to the cooker.
  4. Rinse the cans of beans under cold water to get rid of the brine / salt and add to the cooker.
  5. Add tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, and broth.
  6. Rinse and add corn and mixed veggies.
  7. Add diced bell pepper.
  8. Squeeze juice of lime.
  9. Add seasonings/spices.
  10. Slow cook on low for several hours. Stir every once in a while. 6-8 hours is ideal, overnight works too.
  11. The chili will taste better after storage in the fridge for 24-hours.

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