Lentil and White Bean Slow Cooker Chili


November 30, 2016

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Personally, I think that slow cookers were invented for the holiday season. When time seems to move at warp speed and there are a thousand and one million things to get done every week, which makes planning, prepping, and cooking healthy meals somewhat overwhelming. Not to mention it’s cold outside, and slow cookers are the perfect invention for making feel good healthy meals that just warm up your soul. 

Now I’m going to admit that up until I made this recipe I honestly wasn’t that much of a chili fan. I never really got into meat chilis as a kid, and vegetarian chilis for the most part always seemed to be filled with too much potato, or beans, and too few veggies for my liking…until this chili was created by accident. 

I was playing around in the kitchen a few weeks ago and realized that I had most of the necessary ingredients for a minestrone soup, but wanted to see if I could make it work using my slow cooker, so my husband and I could come home to a deliciously smelling house with dinner ready to go. I didn’t want to use any gluten free pasta, and since we had a bag of dried beans, and a full jar of lentils I figured why not give them a try…not to mention they make for the perfect vegetarian protein combination. 

I’m not even kidding, within 10 minutes I had all of the ingredients necessary for this “spicy minestrone soup” thrown into my slow cooker, and I was out the door. When I came home 7 hours later I was really surprised by just how fragrant this smelled. I think the combination of the turmeric, onion, and curry all mixed together really made for an incredibly savory smelling meal. But when I opened my slow cooker I quickly realized that this was less of a soup, and more of a chili…which since I kind of hated chili’s bummed me out. 

Since I was devoted towards trying to enjoy this meal I decided to chop up some scallions I had on hand, and added a spoonful of my homemade pesto I always keep in my fridge and dug in. Guys this supposed to be soup turned chili blew me away. There is so much flavor, and just the right amount of spice that makes it incredibly satisfying, but without that overly full and heavy feeling most chilis will leave you with. 

Lentil and White Bean Slow Cooker Chili


  1. 1 bag of white dry cannellini beans

  2. 1 cup of rinsed dry lentils

  3. 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes

  4. 2 cups fresh, rinsed baby kale

  5. 1 zucchini

  6. 3 long carrots

  7. 1 yellow onion

  8. 1 tablespoon olive oil

  9. 6 cups water

  10. 2 teaspoons sea salt

  11. 1 tablespoon red curry paste

  12. 1 teaspoon turmeric

  13. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  14. 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  15. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  16. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)


  1. 1 bunch of scallions

  2. 1/2 cup homemade pesto

  3. Sea Salt and Black Pepper to Taste


  1. Add six cups of water to slow cooker

  2. Next add bag of beans, and rinsed lentils to slow cooker.

  3. Then add rinsed kale that has been ripped from the tough stem to slow cooker.

  4. Cover beans/lentils/kale with canned tomatoes

  5. Rinse and chop onions, zucchini, and carrots into bite sized pieces and add to slow cooker.

  6. Add all spices to mixture, and using a wooden spoon stir chili until spices seem evenly distributed.

  7. Cover your slow cooker with lid, and turn on high for 7-8 hours. Around hour 6 depending on your slow cooker you may be able to reduce the heat to low.

  8. Next, prepare my homemade pesto or you can purchase from the store

  9. Dice scallions into fine pieces for topping.

  10. Once chili is cooked, pour chili into bowl, and top with pesto and scallions. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper to taste.

Megan Faletra, MS, MPH, RDN

Megan Faletra, MS, MPH, RDN

Megan is a maternal-child health dietitian and mom of two. With nearly a decade of experience working in maternal-child nutrition both domestically and abroad, Megan is passionate about supporting mothers and their little ones through pregnancy, postpartum, and beyond.

Megan especially loves helping to nourish families with simple, delicious recipes that both children and adults will enjoy. All of the recipes at MADRE are gluten free, and focused on celebrating food culture, seasonality, and supporting the nutritional needs of growing children, mothers, and families.

Megan holds a MS in Nutrition and MPH in Global Health from Tufts University, and received her dietetic license (RDN) from Brigham and Women's Hospital. She has advanced training in pediatric nutrition and baby led weaning, and is currently working towards becoming a certified lactation consultant.

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Meet Meg

Mom of two girls under two, and registered dietitian specializing in prenatal, postpartum, and infant wellness. My passion for supporting moms and babies began more than a decade ago, but nothing made me more committed to helping moms and babies thrive than going through my own pregnancy and postpartum journey.

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