Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili

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This slow cooker lentil and pumpkin chili recipe is the perfect solution for busy weeknights.

This vegetarian chili has a ton of flavor, it’s super healthy, and only takes about 10 minutes to prep. Since it’s made in a slow cooker, you can have this healthy meal ready when you get home from work or school.

Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili Recipe #healthy #easy

I don’t know what I would do without my slow cooker.

It’s been one crazy busy season and the only thing that keeps me from eating takeout every night is coming home to an already made meal waiting for me!

When the weather starts to cool down and we all start craving hearty and comforting dishes, I always look for a new chili recipe. This time around, I decided to try out a Slow Cooker Lentil And Pumpkin Chili. It’s been on my list of slow cooker recipes to try for a while now, so it was finally time!

This slow cooker chili is the perfect meal for those long fall nights. The lentils give it a meaty flavor and pumpkin really thickens things up and gives this cozy stew a subtle sweetness without being overwhelming. It’s great for dinner or lunch and gives you the energy you need to get through those last few days before Halloween (or Thanksgiving/Christmas!).

In addition to a simple, no fuss dinner this slow cooker lentil and pumpkin chili is great for football season – and we all know how hard it is to find healthy tailgating recipes, right?  

I love this chili tucked inside a baked potato and topped with a little cheese or sour cream (accidental bonus: it even looks like a football served this way) but it’s also great on top of a hot dog or as the base for some epic sheet pan nachos.

Ingredient Tips for Lentil and Pumpkin Chili

Make sure you use 100% pure canned pumpkin for this recipe — not pumpkin pie filling, which is sweetened and has all sorts of spices in it. If you can’t find it in the baking aisle, look by the dog food. I know that sounds insane, but apparently, that’s where our local Whole Foods keeps it when it isn’t pumpkin pie season. I never would have found it if I didn’t ask!

Lentils are high in protein and iron; pumpkins are rich in vitamin A which boosts your immune system; both provide an excellent source of fiber. Salt can inhibit the cooking process of lentils, so wait until just before serving to add it.

For those who love to cook healthy dinners but don’t always have time for it, this will become a staple recipe!

Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili Recipe #healthy #easy

Recipe Revamp

I first shared this slow cooker lentil and pumpkin chili recipe in October 2012! A few people mentioned to me that it was too spicy, so I retested it and made a few changes that improve the chili’s overall flavor.

First I doubled the traditional chili powder and cut back on the chipotle powder, which is much spicier. I also made the chipotle powder optional, although I do love the spicy, smokey flavor it adds. If you choose to leave it out, I recommend having some Chipotle Tabasco on hand so everyone can customize their bowl. 

I also swapped the water for vegetable broth and increased the amount. This adds more flavor and results in a vegetarian chili that isn’t as thick as my original recipe was. 

Oh, and I took new pictures. Because my photography skills have definitely improved over the years. You can still see the original photos at the end of this post! 

Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili Recipe #healthy #easy
Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili Recipe #healthy #easy

Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili

5 from 2 votes
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Course: Vegetarian Recipes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 232kcal


  • 1 can 15.9 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can 15.9 ounce pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can 15.9 ounce fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can 15.9 ounce pumpkin puree
  • 2. ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup brown lentils dry
  • 1 onion minced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 carrot peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper optional
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


  • Combine all ingredients except salt in the slow cooker. Stir well.
  • Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours. Stir in the salt. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili
Amount Per Serving (1 /4 recipe)
Calories 232 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Sodium 1078mg47%
Carbohydrates 46g15%
Fiber 14g58%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 14g28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @HealthyDelish or tag #HealthyDelish!

Here are the original photos that went with this recipe:

Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili 1
Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili 2
Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili 3

Hi, I'm Lauren!

I'm a certified plant-based cook and enthusiastic omnivore who loves looking for creative ways to make weeknight meals more nutritious. I'm the author of Heathy Eating One Pot Cookbook and Healthy Meal Prep Slow Cooker Cookbook. I also blog at The Busy Foodie. Read more...


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31 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili”

  1. Can this be cooked on high for four hours? Want to make something for our girlfriends while on a trip, but we don’t have eight hours for it to cook that day.

  2. wow so amazing i like the chili stuff a lot and everyone also in my house. I’ll definitely try tonight. Just make it good as like you, please God give this power that i can make it good. And everyone will like it.
    Thank you

  3. Looks good I have red split lentils and whole green/brown lentils Did you use the latter? I am going to make it and serve with corn Bread.

  4. After I started making it I thought oh no none of the men in my family will eat it. Well let me tell you I was wrong, it turned out beautifully, there isn’t any left. I made it on the stove top: added two whole onions and 4 cloves of garlic, I also used a large can of regular tomatoes and a small can of diced tomatoes with green chiles. I have chipotle chili powder and used it along with regular chili powder. Not to spicy at all! I chopped an avocado and had shredded cheese to serve along with it. With chips and grapes. Great before a school concert! I’ll be making it again.

    • There should be a link to print at the top of the recipe card, right next to the link to save.

  5. Love how thick this soup is! I used diced and fire roasted organic tomatoes with green chiles, and split lentils, since that’s what I had in the house. The only spice I used was 1 tsp of chili powder. I was able to simmered it on the stove for 1 hour since the split lentils didn’t need a long time to cook. Definitely will be making this again! Thanks for a wonderful recipe!!!

  6. It’s so fun to look back on old photos and see how much things have changed…and also to look back on old recipes and see how much tastes have changed! Though this still looks absolutely delicious…definitely a veg chili I need to try!

  7. I used roasted acorn squash instead of pumpkin and added 1.5 teaspoons of cumin, substituted ancho chili for chipolte and threw in a jalepeno minced with seeds.

  8. I had such high hopes for this & as in almost all my cooking, used all organic ingredients (except for the chili powder. It was Gebhardt as that’s what my son brought me from the store since I forgot to get it on my trip.) No flavor. Just HOT. I double checked all the ingredients AND AMOUNTS just to make sure I didnt screw it up on my end. Fail for me 🙁

    • I’m so sorry that this didn’t work out for you. I’m not familiar with Gebhardt chili powder (I usually use McCormick). I know that other people love this recipe but a few have said it’s too spicy for their tastes. I do plan to retest it myself soon!

    • Can the heat be tempered to taste by slowly adding yogurt (or sour cream) before serving? I’ve seen this done in Indian restaurants.

    • Yes, although it really isn’t very spicy. You can either scoop it on top or stir it in. If you choose to stir it in, be sure to use full fat cream/yogurt and do it off heat – otherwise it might curdle.

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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