a bowl of spicy lentil chili on a board with cheese, avocado and cilantro

Spicy Lentil Chili with California Prunes

California Prunes add a sweet layer of contrast in this spicy lentil chili created by Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN.

Prunes? In a Lentil Chili recipe?

Believe it or not, prunes are a fantastic addition to this lentil chili recipe. The subtle sweetness helps to temper the spiciness, resulting in a more well-rounded flavor profile. If you’ve ever tasted molé, it’s the same sort of idea.

Can you make Lentil Chili in an Instant Pot or slow cooker?

You could definitely make this recipe in an Instant Pot or slowcooker. If you’re using an instant pot, use the sauté function to brown the veggies first, and then cook for on high pressure for 10 minutes. Let the steam release naturally for 10 minutes, then use the quick release valve to release any remaining pressure. For the slowcooker, brown your veggies, then add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook for 6-8 hours or until the lentils are tender.

Finally, a dinner that everyone can enjoy

This Spicy Lentil Chili recipe is vegan, vegetarian, gluten and grain-free! It’s a healthy and delicious meal that everyone can enjoy.

a bowl of spicy lentil chili on a board with cheese, avocado and cilantro

Spicy Lentil Chili with California Prunes

California Prunes adds a sweet layer of contrast in this spicy lentil chili. Created by
Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dinner, Entree, Soup & Salad
Cuisine RD Creations
Servings 6
Calories 235 kcal


  • 1 TBSP avocado or sunflower oil
  • 1 small or ½ medium red onion diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper minced
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • cups dry brown lentils
  • 15 ounces diced, no-salt-added fire-roasted tomatoes 1 can
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 12 California prunes finely diced
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems


  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño and cook while stirring until the onion is lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, and cinnamon and cook while stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the lentils, tomatoes (with liquid), and broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Partially cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until lentils are just tender, about 25 minutes.
  • Remove lid, stir in the prunes, and cook while stirring occasionally until desired consistency, about 3 to 4 minutes. Adjust seasoning.
  • Ladle into small bowls, sprinkle with the cilantro, and serve.


Have fun with the toppings! Add onions, cheese, cilantro or sour cream!


Calories: 235kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 11gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0.4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 695mgPotassium: 629mgFiber: 15gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 1063IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 46mgIron: 4mg
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