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Slow Cooker Lentil Chili with Black Beans, Pumpkin, and Kale

This slow cooker lentil chili recipe is an easy vegetarian dinner to throw in your crockpot. It's packed with super foods and protein--kale, pumpkin and black beans! Some healthy topping suggestions: fresh cilantro leaves, diced avocado, sliced jalapeno, diced red onion, Greek yogurt, chipotle cashew crema, shredded cheese.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4
Author Phoebe Lapine


  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • Two 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes, I like fire roasted
  • 1 cup brown or green lentils, I like this brand
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • One 15-ounce can unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 1 bunch kale, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1 lime, quartered


  1. In a 6 to 8 quart slow cooker, combine the red onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, sea salt, diced tomatoes, lentils, black beans, pumpkin puree, kale, and water or stock.
  2. Cook for 6 hours on low heat, or until the lentils are tender.
  3. Serve the chili with the lime wedges and any other toppings you desire (see suggestions above).
  4. Stovetop instructions: in a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté the onion over medium-high heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika and salt. Cook one minute more, until fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes, scrapping up any brown bits that may have formed on the bottom of the pan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, 5 minutes. Add the lentils, beans, pumpkin puree, kale, and stock or water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook uncovered until the lentils are tender and the chili is thick, about 30 minutes.