Beef and Lentil Chili

Total Time

Prep: 10 min. Cook: 1 hour


2-1/2 quarts

Updated: Jun. 30, 2023
Lentils were one of the crops on my dad's farm when we were growing up, and they're the best-kept secret in this delicious chili recipe. This dish is great for a large family meal and also freezes well. Everyone who asks for this recipe is amazed at how simple it is. —Cindy Agee, Lewiston, Idaho


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) stewed tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 ounce semisweet chocolate
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 2 cups water


  1. In a Dutch oven, cook ground beef and onion over medium-high heat until beef is no longer pink, 6-8 minutes; crumble meat. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Add next 5 ingredients; bring to a boil. Add lentils and water. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until lentils are soft, about 1 hour, stirring often. Add water if mixture seems too dry.
Test Kitchen Tips
  • Serve this on top of Indian Tacos, or with fresh onions, grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream. If you want a little more heat, add some cayenne powder
  • Nutrition Facts

    1-1/4 cups: 367 calories, 16g fat (6g saturated fat), 70mg cholesterol, 655mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 6g fiber), 29g protein.