This vegan lentil chili is easy and satisfying, with earthy flavors balanced by spices. Use this basic chili recipe to customize with your favorite add-ins.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add poblanos and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and translucent, 7 to 8 minutes. Add tomato paste, garlic, chili powder, cumin and smoked paprika; cook, stirring often, until the mixture is very fragrant and the garlic softens slightly, about 2 minutes.
Add water and tomatoes; bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in lentils; return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in cilantro and salt. Divide the chili among 6 bowls. Top each with chopped onion and cilantro, if desired.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months.