Hearty game day chili prepped, cooked, and served in less than hour! Sound too good to be true? It’s all possible with the magic of the Instant Pot. Ever since I made this recipe from Pinch of Yum, I’ve been dreaming about all the easy meal possibilities I could make with this shiny new kitchen appliance.
This Buffalo Chicken Red Lentil Chili was an ideal recipe to break in my Instant Pot. Not only did it prove its insane ability to create tender and juicy pulled chicken in just 30 minutes, it also cooked raw veggies and lentils just like a slow cooker. Did I mention it did this all in 30 minutes? Sorry, I’m just so impressed!
Another reason to love this recipe: It’s a one-pot, throw-and-go type of meal. And believe me when I say, the toughest part of this recipe is chopping up the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic, which takes maybe 2 minutes! You could even shortcut this step and buy pre-chopped mirepoix at the grocery store!
Let’s talk about the lentils. Have you ever cooked with lentils? I don’t use them nearly enough as I’d like in my everyday meals, but now that I have the Instant Pot, my kitchen just might turn into a lentil-making factory. I usually only find brown lentils in the grocery store, and you could definitely use those in this recipe. However, I spotted red lentils on the shelf and immediately knew they’d work wonders in this recipe. Their vibrant color, which is more orange than red, gave this chili an even more authentic shade of buffalo-sauce orange. And when cooked, they tenderized so beautifully and basically melted into the tomato sauces and broth to create a thick and hearty base.
And the chicken. The gloriously tender, pulled chicken! Once cooking is finished, you can either pick out the chicken breasts and shred separately or do so directly in the pot. You will be amazed at how easily the chicken pulls apart with so little effort.
I’m all for serving this chili with the typical buffalo wing condiments like blue cheese, ranch dressing, celery sticks for some crunch. However, if you’d like to keep this chili dairy-free, feel free to add a simple garnish of chopped green onions or herbs. If you’re feeling extra fancy, a cashew cream would even add a nice touch.
At the end of the day though, this chili really only needs a spoon so you can get it all into your mouth. It’s wholesome and stick-to-your-bones hearty for those cold winter days. And it carries that classic buffalo wing flavor so it’s a great healthy and creative chili option to serve for game day.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! It’s definitely become a favorite in our house!
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