Vegan Lentil Cincinnati Chili {HIgh-Protein, Grain-Free}

  • Author: Camilla
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 65 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins
  • Yield: 4 main-dish servings 1x


A hearty, delicious riff on Cincinnati Chili, made with red lentils in place of theĀ  beef. It is easy, healthy, gluten-free, and high in protein, and grain-free (if you like), too!



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 11/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2/3 cup split red lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato puree (not crushed tomatoes) or tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 8 ounces chickpea spaghetti (e.g., Banza) or spaghetti of choice
  • Optional toppings:
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese (nondairy or dairy)
  • crushed oyster crackers or other crackers
  • chopped white onions
  • rinsed and drained red kidney beans
  • chopped parsely


  1. in a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion; cook and stir for 6 to 7 minutes until softened and beginning to brown. Add the chili powder, cocoa powder, garlic powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and pepper. Cook and stir for 1 minute.
  2. Add the lentils and water to saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for 25 minutes. Add the tomato puree, vinegar, and coconut sugar. Cook and stir for 20 to 30 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened (add more water, as needed; the sauce should be soupy-thick, not stiff). Season to taste with more salt and pepper, as desired.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti until al dente according to package directions. Drain.
  4. Divide spaghetti among 4 shallow bowls, top with chili, and top with any and all toppings, as desired.


Storage: Store the leftover chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 days or the freezer for up to 6 months.

Note: Calories were calculated using chickpea spaghetti and without added toppings (as they are optional).

  • Category: Entree, Dinner


  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 384
  • Sugar: 15.7 g
  • Sodium: 586 mg
  • Fat: 7.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 65 g
  • Fiber: 17.4 g
  • Protein: 23.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
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