Lentil Farro Chili
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Lentil Chili with Farro

SharePin41ShareYum24FlipTweet65 SharesThis hearty lentil chili with chewy farro is perfect on a cool night or any time you’re craving spicy vegetarian chili. Make this easy Instant Pot chili tonight! Jump to Recipe About this Lentil Farro Chili I’ve had lots of versions of vegetarian chili over the years, and while I’ve enjoyed those recipes, none…


This hearty lentil chili with chewy farro is perfect on a cool night or any time you’re craving spicy vegetarian chili. Make this easy Instant Pot chili tonight!

lentil chili
Jump to Recipe

About this Lentil Farro Chili

I’ve had lots of versions of vegetarian chili over the years, and while I’ve enjoyed those recipes, none of them moved me to go home and replicate them. But one night my wife and I were sitting around talking about things we ate as kids, and Frito Pie came up. We joked that it would be fun to eat that again, so I set about making some vegetarian chili that could be re-purposed as Frito Pie. I knew that farro and lentils were a good combo – see my red lentil curry soup – so I went from there but used green lentils this time. After a few tries, this vegetarian lentil chili was born. It’s good as is, along with some cornbread, or – you guessed it – as Frito Pie. Hey, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Ingredients

  • Green lentils – Add texture, flavor, and protein
  • Farro – a chewy ancient wheat grain
  • Canned tomatoes – use diced or petite diced for best results
  • Onion and garlic – add allium flavors
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil – used to sauté the onion and garlic
  • Spices – red chili powder and cumin provide the spicy chili flavor. I used Hatch red chili powder in this vegetarian chili recipe.
lentil chili ingredients

Making lentil farro chili

This recipe comes together quickly. Use the instant pot to sauté the onions and garlic and then add the other ingredients and cook the chili. Clean-up is a breeze with this one-pot meal.

Prepare the ingredients

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic (or put it through a garlic press).
  • Measure out the chili powder and cumin and set it aside.

Cook the onion, garlic, and spices

  • Set the Instant Pot (IP) to the Sauté setting.
  • Add the extra virgin olive oil.
  • Toss in the onions and cook them for about two minutes.
  • Add the garlic, the chili powder, and the cumin to the IP and cook the ingredients for an additional couple of minutes.
  • Turn off the IP.

Cook the chili

  • Add the vegetable broth and the canned tomatoes.
  • Rinse the lentils and add them to the IP along with the farro.
  • Put the lid on the IP and set it to the sealing position.
  • Set the pressure cook time to 15 minutes.
  • You can let the steam go down on its own or release the pressure.

More Info about ingredients

  • Farro is an Italian word that just means wheat. It’s a type of ancient wheat along with spelt, Einhorn, or Emmer. Some of these ancient grains are making a comeback, and if you haven’t tried farro, you’re in for a treat. It has a nutty flavor and a chewy texture that really adds depth and chewiness to this lentil chili. Plus, with lots of fiber, protein, and vitamins, it’s good for you. The farro most commonly found in the U.S. and Europe is emmer wheat. You might have to look for it in specialty stores or you can order it from Amazon. If you want more info about farro, check out this article.
  • Chile powder – When you start shopping for red chile powder you’ll find that there are several options. I have purchased it in the grocery store in packets in the Hispanic food section. The chile powder that I used in this recipe is from Hatch, New Mexico. I received some as a gift (thank you Pat & Kathleen!) but you can order it from the link in the previous sentence. Now that I live two hours away from the town of Hatch, I’m sure I’ll pick up more recipe items from there. If you’re new to chile powder, check out this link for more info on the various types of chile powder.

Serving lentil farro chili

Grab a ladle and spoon the chili into a bowl. It goes great with corn muffins like the sourdough corn muffins shown in the picture below.

lentil chili

In this close-up photo, you can see all the bits that go into making this lentil chili taste great – the lentils, farro, tomatoes, and spices. Yum!

lentil chili

Tips for making lentil chili

  • Heat up the spices along with the onion and garlic. When you heat up the spices it releases their flavor and adds depth to the final chili. I used this method in my enchilada sauce recipe too. The chili powder turns from the bright red in the jar to a warm brown. Just be careful not to overcook the spices – two to three minutes should do the trick.
  • Add extra chili powder to make this lentil chili spicier or use less if you don’t like things too spicy. Everyone has their own tolerance for spicy heat. This recipe is perfect for our tastes, but I know it would be too mild for some people I know and maybe too hot for others. If you’re not sure, start out with less chili powder and see how you like it. You can always sprinkle some hot sauce on it if it’s too mild, and then add more chili powder the next time you make it.
  • Substitution: Instead of chile powder, use Better than Bouillon Smokey Chipotle, to replace one cup of veggie bouillon. So, you’ll have two cups of veggie bouillon and 1 cup of smokey chipotle bouillon. 

What’s Frito Pie?

Frito pie is something I ate as a kid, but I’ve found that I still enjoy it. Just add Fritos (or any brand of corn chip) and some shredded Mexican cheese to this lentil chili to make a bowl of Frito Pie. Treat your kids or the kid in you to this fun recipe twist.

Can you freeze lentil farro chili?

Yes, you can definitely freeze this lentil farro chili. It’s also great as leftovers the next day straight out of the refrigerator. Just heat it in the microwave or in a pan on the stove. I like to sprinkle a little cheese on top.

Other recipes that you might like

If you’re a fan of lentils, then join the club! I use lentils in lots of recipes; here are some you might enjoy:

If you’re looking for more chili powder ideas, try my enchilada sauce.

Lentil Farro Chili

Lentil Chili with Farro

Julia
This hearty lentil chili with chewy farro is perfect on a cool night or any time you’re craving spicy vegetarian chili.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4
Calories 231 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • ¾ Cup green lentils
  • ¼ cup farro
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons red chili powder
  • teaspoons cumin

Instructions
 

Prepare the ingredients

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic (or put it through a garlic press).
  • Measure out the chili powder and cumin and set it aside.

Cook the onion, garlic, and spices

  • Set the Instant Pot (IP) to the Sauté setting.
  • Add the extra virgin olive oil.
  • Toss in the onions and cook them for about two minutes.
  • Add the garlic, the chili powder, and the cumin to the IP and cook the ingredients for an additional couple of minutes.
  • Turn off the IP.

Cook the chili

  • Add the vegetable broth and the canned tomatoes.
  • Rinse the lentils and add them to the IP along with the farro.
  • Put the lid on the IP and set it to the sealing position.
  • Set the pressure cook time to 15 minutes.
  • You can let the pressure go down on its own or release the pressure manually.

Notes

  • This recipe makes about 5 cups of chili, or about 3-4 bowls, depending on everyone’s appetite.
  • Instead of chile powder, use Better than Bouillon Smokey Chipotle, to replace one cup of veggie bouillon. So, you’ll have two cups of veggie bouillon and 1 cup of smokey chipotle bouillon. 

Nutrition

Calories: 231kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 11.5gFat: 4.5gSodium: 894mg
Keyword lentil chili, lentil farro chili, vegetarian chili, vegetarian lentil chili
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Lentil Chili with Farro

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