Instant Pot Vegan Cincinnati Chili

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The temps have took a sudden nose dive in our area of West Michigan and with that sweaters have been unearthed from the depths of my closet and warm soup like this Instant pot vegan Cincinnati chili are filling my thoughts.

This chili is served true Cincinnati style over spaghetti noodles! It was the perfect recipe to try out the ‘made with beans only’ gluten free and plant based The Only Bean Soya Bean Spaghetti.
And we are so happy to report This Vegan Cincinnati Chili goes perfectly with The Only Bean Soya Bean Spaghetti. (and the noodles taste great!)

Vegan Cincinnati Chili
But You’re in Michigan, Why Cincinnati Chili?

I have found childhood memories of Cincinnati – can I take a moment to share those with you?

I am not a Michigan native – but rather a born and bred Hoosier. In Indiana, we do not have a major league baseball team so growing up it was the Cincinnati Reds radio that was constantly on in the car and at home – I can still hear the announcers voice if I listen closely enough. And every summer, we would hit the road to attend a Cincinnati Reds baseball game.

Great Story, But What Does that Have to do with Cincinnati Chili?

Well, there is a certain fast food hot dog joint that made Cincinnati Chili what it is known for today. At Skyline Chili, you can order chili many ways – including Cincinnati style. What, I distinctively remember of this memory is that it was a steep hill and a bit of a trek to get there from the stadium and then in true kid fashion, I recall studying the menu and then ordering only a plain dog – what did you expect? I was a kid!

What Makes Cincinnati Chili Different?
Now, that my taste has evolved as a grown up (thank goodness), I decided it was high time that I not only ate Cincinnati Chili but made a vegan version of it!

If you recall, on our last post – the Creamy One Pot Pumpkin Pasta – we have partnered with The Only Bean to create a few recipes.

I really wanted to use their Soya Bean spaghetti and as it turns out – it pairs perfectly with Cincinnati Chili!

Now to really get the flavor of what makes Cincinnati Chili stand out, you usually simmer the chili on the stovetop for a few hours – this really brings out the aroma of the cinnamon and allspice. And you can totally do that if you have the time! The results will be the same. But for those that are in a hurry (like me ALWAYS) – the Instant Pot comes to the rescue!

Cinnamon and Allspice and Cacao Powder?

I know it sounds like an odd combination of ingredients for chili. But let me assure you that it is delicious. It balances perfectly together in an odd way! The cacao powder mellows the cinnamon and allspice for a well rounded balanced taste. Of course there is the standard chili powder as well and because we are plant powered ’round her, we used red lentils as the substitute for the original recipe which calls for ground beef. 
Do you need superfood cacao powder? No, you could totally substitute unsweetened cocoa powder – you would lose out on the superfood benefits, of course, but the results will be relatively the same.

My husband and I are still talking about how good this turned out today! Chili truly does get better as it sits + this will freeze really well for another meal.

Optional toppings for Cincinnati Chili are pinto or kidney beans, chopped onion and cheese. To keep it plant based, I used Daiya cheddar cheese.

What about those The Only Bean Noodles?

If you are not gluten free, feel free to use spaghetti noodles. But I will tell you, these noodles add a nutritional punch to the dish! They contain 3x the protein, 6x the fiber, and less than ½ the carbs of the average noodle. They are amazing – organic, vegan, gluten free and non GMO.

And in a taste test with a good friend, she put a standard noodle in the same bowl with The Only Bean Soya Bean Noodle, and was surprised that she could not tell a taste difference!

Win. Win. Win!

So what are you waiting for? It’s football season and this Vegan Cincinnati Chili is the perfect way to watch the game!

If you make this recipe, we would love to know. Tag #badtothebowl so we can celebrate eating chili with you.

*disclaimer, I was provided the product used in this recipe. All opinions are my own. 


Instant Pot Vegan Cincinnati Chili

Recipe by SarahCourse: Main, Soups

Spiced red lentils make a protein packed base for this easy Instant Pot Cincinnati Style Chili!


  • 3/4 cup of red lentils, soaked, which makes approx. 1 cup total*

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced

  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 Tblsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1 Tblsp chili powder

  • 1 Tblsp cinnamon

  • 1 Tblsp tomato paste

  • 2 tsp garlic powder

  • 2 tsp cacao powder***

  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice

  • pinch of pepper

  • pinch of coconut sugar or brown sugar

  • 3 cups of water

  • 1/2 box cooked The Only Bean Soya Bean Spaghetti noodles** (or your favorite spaghetti noodle)

  • optional: The Only Bean Soya Bean Spaghetti Noodles, vegan sour cream, vegan cheese, pinto beans, chopped onions


  • 1. On Instant Pot**** sauté mode, water sauté your onion and garlic for 3 – 5 minutes until onion is translucent.
  • Add in all other ingredients – except spaghetti – and stir well to combine.

  • Close lid, make sure your instant pot is set to sealing and set your pressure cooking setting to 10 minutes on high.
  • To serve, put your cooked noodles in a bowl, top with your favorite optional toppings listed above!
  • Store in refrigerator, can be frozen.


  • *Lentils can sometimes not sit well with me, so I soak them to ensure easier digestion! They do soak up the water though, so 1/2 – 3/4 cup dry lentils will equal approx. 1 cup of lentils you need for this recipe.
    **We loved using The Only Bean Soya Bean Spaghetti noodles, feel free to substitute your favorite spaghetti noodle or eat just by itself!
    ***Unsweetened Cocoa Powder could be used a substitute
    ****No Instant Pot? No worries! You can simmer this on the stove for 30 minutes to an hour – the longer you simmer, the better the flavor!


  1. This sounds delicious! The spaghetti (whole wheat for me) is added to the pot with all ingredients correct?


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