Easy Green Lentils in the Instant Pot

Preparing a batch of lentils from scratch allows you to simmer the legumes with aromatic vegetables so they soak up all their tasty goodness. This all-purpose vegan instant pot lentil recipe makes a nice hearty dinner for two people. It calls for a classic combination of onion, celery, carrot, and garlic as a base, then kicks the flavor up even more with tangy diced tomatoes. The result is an extremely versatile dish that can be served on its own or over grains (it is especially good with whole-wheat couscous), spooned into tortillas, served cold as a spread or dip, and even thinned with broth to make soup. Green lentils will hold their shape better than brown, and you could also use black (beluga) lentils here, too.

By Molly Patrick,


  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup chopped carrot
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup brown or green lentils, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cracked black pepper


  • Set an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker on the sauté setting and allow it to heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently and adding water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to prevent sticking. Add the celery, carrot, and garlic; cook for 2 more minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Press the cooker’s “Cancel” button, then stir in 3 cups of water plus the tomatoes and lentils.
  • Lock the cooker’s lid in place, adjust the setting to “Manual,” and cook for 20 minutes. Let it stand to release pressure naturally, at least 10 minutes. If necessary, carefully open the steam vent to release any remaining pressure. Open lid carefully. Stir in the parsley, salt, and pepper.

Comments (6)

(4 from 4 votes)

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I might jazz this up a bit with fire roast tomatoes or tomatoes with green chilis. I’d add salt and pepper earlier to cook into the lentils and agree with using veg broth instead of water. Green lentils are a perfect backdrop for many flavors esp curry, Italian, even Mexican. So add your favorite spices.


I have made this recipe many times over the last couple of years and it's delicious. I like that it is not over-seasoned, and the flavor of the vegetables, garlic, and lentils does the work. Easy to make and just a great vegan comfort food.


Bland and is like eating oatmeal with a few veggies.


How would someone cook this if they do not have an Instant Pot?


You cook lentils at a simmer 20-30 minutes on the stove. Have them just covered by the liquid.


I agree, but I started using broth instead of water and it makes an huge improvement!

About the Author

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About the Author

Molly Patrick

Molly Patrick is the founder of cleanfooddirtygirl.com, a website dedicated to helping people eat more whole plant food and less of everything else. Through her writing, recipes, programs, and coaching, she inspires, motivates, and educates people all over the globe to prevent illness and disease with the food they eat. Find her on Instagram and Facebook.
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