Perfect Instant Pot Vegetarian Lentils

My mom makes the most delicious pots of lentils you’ll ever eat. Her favorite way to serve up a steaming shallow bowl of lentils is having cooked them with diced carrots, a trusty bay leaf, and short ribs. With a large romaine and tomato salad and fresh crusty pan (bread – always a baguette), you’ll find lentil stew on every restaurant’s menu in Spain. It serves their health well, for it boasts lots of minerals and vitamins.

Lentils are a quick cooking legume that provide a great source of protein making them a nutritious alternative to meat. Lentils are also high in fiber. You can read about their health benefits here. Improving digestion and heart health, lentils are a most frugal meal as well.

I have cooked lentils with a little sausage and at other times with a ham bone (reserved from a ham dinner), but meatless is equally delicious. Since the addition of an Instant Pot to my kitchen, I have made these vegetarian lentils again and again, and it’s a perfect meal every time. With no stirring, or tasting, or worries, it’s as quick and easy as dump and forget.

Some favorite garnishes are chopped parsley, thinly sliced radishes, and a splash of vinegar (growing up, mom used white wine vinegar, but I mostly used apple cider vinegar – both are delicious).

The pictures show our lentils from last week that I cooked with a ham bone.

Perfect Instant Pot Vegetarian Lentils

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 4 carrots, chopped

  • 4 celery stalks, chopped

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste

  • 4 oz. (or 4.5 oz) can of chopped green chiles

  • 12 oz. jar of roasted peppers and their juice, chopped

  • 2 cups of lentils (any kind)

  • 8 cups of chicken stock (true vegetarian: use vegetable broth)

  • salt and fresh ground black pepper

Turn the Instant Pot to the sauté function and add the olive oil. When heated, add the onion, carrots, and celery. Add the garlic stirring until it’s fragrant. Add the tomato paste and bay leaf almost at the end of the sauté stirring to incorporate the tomato paste. Add the chopped roasted peppers and their juice, the green chiles, lentils, and the chicken stock (or vegetable broth). Set the Instant Pot to the porridge function (automatically sets to 20 minutes) and keep the steam vent closed. That’s it! I allowed it to slow release and stay warm until we were ready to eat. You’ll love both the convenience to this nourishing bowl!

Tell me when you make it, and I do so love to see your pictures!

with love. Damaris