How To Cook Lentils On The Stove
This classic method doesn’t require any fancy gadgets. Here’s how you do it:
How To Make Mujadara Lentils & Rice In The Instant Pot
1 – The first and necessary step to make Mujadara as a one-pot recipe is to soak the whole brown lentils. Typically brown lentils take longer to cook than rice, so soaking them is my first hack to get them to cook perfectly with the rice. Brown lentils retain their shape and have a unique taste, which you will very much enjoy in this dish.
2 – Now cut half of the onions into slices and dice half of them. Heat oil in the instant pot and sauté the sliced onions and keep them aside to use as a topping later . These caramelized onions is the best part of mujadara, so please don’t skip this step!
3 – Now heat some more oil in the instant pot. Add the diced onions, garlic, and sauté them till they are lightly browned. Then add the spices .
4 – Drain the water from the soaked lentils. Add the lentils and water to the instant pot. Let it boil for about 3 minutes. This is the second hack so we can cook this as a one-pot recipe. As the lentils take longer to cook, we give them a little head start by letting them boil.
5 – Stir in the rice. Close the lid and pressure cook on Rice mode. The rice mode cooks on low pressure. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then do a quick release.
6 – Top the cooked lentils and rice with the caramelized onions. Save some for serving.
Enjoy this delicious Instant Pot Mujadara.
Do You Have To Soak Lentils Before Instant Pot
No, you dont. In fact, its one of the main reasons for buying an instant pot. You can load green lentils into the instant pot with liquid and simply pressure cook.
Cooking lentils in the instant pot, regardless of whether they are red, green, or brown is all about simplicity.
Then once cooked and you see your perfect lentils you will be wondering why you didnt do instant pot lentils years ago.
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Why Cook Lentils In The Instant Pot
I prefer to cook my lentils in the Instant Pot rather than using other methods because:
- It’s so fast! Using a pressure cooker to cook your lentils takes as little as just 3 minutes, depending on the type of lentil.
- No hovering over a pot on the stove – this method is almost completely hands-off.
- Your lentils end up perfectly tender every time.
- This method is perfect with or without soaking your lentils ahead of time.
Pressure Cooker Lentil Soup
Hey-hey, guys! Here it is, Instant Pot lentil soup with brown or green lentils, canned tomatoes and spinach. Then served with lots of fresh Parmesan cheese. Can you visualize this yum?
You couldnt ask for a more easy and healthy lentil soup recipe with prep time of 5 minutes. Make a huge pot and eat it all week. Considering I own an 8 quart monster, you better believe me when I say we will be eating soup all week haha.
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Should I Soak Lentils If Cooked In The Instant Pot
Short answer: Yes!
Long answer: Its an everlasting debate, and everybody has a different opinion. The people in the no-soak camp say its not necessary. The beans cook through without soaking and taste exactly the same and you save one step in the process of preparing them. But its not about the cooking time or the taste, in my opinion. Its all about digestion. Unsoaked legumes are much harder to digest, and the consequences are windy.
I prefer to soak all my legumes because then I can enjoy eating large amounts of lentil soup without feeling all bloated. Lentils are 100 times easier to digest when soaked for 2-12 hours. Just make sure you rinse them well under running water once finished soaking.
Same rules apply to my super simple Lentils and Rice recipe.
Instant Pot Green Lentils
Instant Pot Gren Lentils. Forget soaking your green lentils, this is how steam green lentils fast using the instant pot pressure cooker.
This is a simple instant pot green lentils recipe that you can use time and time again for any recipe that calls for cooked green lentils.
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Ingredients For Instant Pot Lentil Barley Soup
This ingredient list for Barley lentil vegetable soup is relatively short, and it comes together quickly with no complicated ingredients or procedures to follow.
» Olive Oil I have used olive oil however, you can add any mild flavor oil of your choice.
» Bay Leaf Dried bay leaf adds a slightly sweet yet tea-like sort of flavor. This reasonably mild leaf will enhance and brighten up other, bolder flavors.
» Onions and garlic This Instant Pot lentil barley soup is flavored with fresh garlic and onions that build the foundation of this soup.
» Vegetables A wide array of vegetables such as carrots, celery, corn, and red bell pepper add texture, intense flavor, color, and nutrient content to this soup.
» Lentils I have used hulled red lentils because they cook quicker than most other lentils and disintegrate during the cooking process, which gives this soup a thick, almost creamy, and hearty texture which I love the most.
» Barley I have used pearled barley for my lentil vegetable soup. It is a whole grain packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It has a nutty flavor and lends a slightly chewy texture when cooked.
» Worcestershire Sauce optional but adds a great taste to our soup. Trust me, and just a little saucegoes a long way.
» Vegetable Stock Since its a vegan soup, I have added low-sodium vegetable stock. The non-vegan option would be the addition of chicken broth or stock for a little extra flavor.
What Kind Of Lentils Can I Use For This Recipe
I normally cook with Brown Lentils. But you can use Black Lentils or Green Lentils also for this recipe. Red lentils are split so they will cook faster. Therefore this time and water ratio wouldnt work for red lentils. Check out our Red Lentils Dal Recipe for the right measurements and timings. Dry lentils cook really well in Instant Pot.
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Instant Pot Red Lentils
The Instant Pot produces lentils with a more tender, mushy texture. Theyre ideal for making dal and soups or for adding to healthier desserts .
Heres what you need to know:
- Ratio = 1 part red lentils : 2 ½ parts water
- Cook Time = 3-4 minutes
- Release = 15 minute natural release, then release any remaining pressure
If youre looking for red lentils with more texture, its best to cook them on the stovetop.
Did you find this helpful? If so, be sure to check out our Instant Pot Cooking Times Guide for perfectly cooked grains and beans every time!
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and dont forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
What To Do With Green Lentils
I love to save money on groceries and last Christmas I came across lots of root vegetables, reduced to clear that because they were old, needed cooking straight away. I filled up my Ninja Foodi and made a batch of my instant pot green lentil curry. It made a HUGE batch, and I was reheating it from frozen for months.
That is my number #1 thing to do with green lentils.
Then after that I am making air fryer lentil burgers. They are amazing and are loaded with sweet potato, green lentils, seasonings, and carrots. They are then rolled in gluten free oats and can be made ahead and added to the freezer for later. But that recipe starts first with preparing green lentils in the instant pot.
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Tips For Making The Best Lentils
- Cook them in broth, not water. This will infuse the lentils with lots of flavor.
- Spices! You can definitely cook them in just broth and have super versatile lentils to mix into whatever you like, but I like to pump up the flavor with a little bit of this and that from the spice cabinet.
- Let the pressure release naturally. If you’re in a hurry, you can release the pressure after it sits for 10 minutes, but that extra sit time allows them to really soften and soak up all the broth.
- Use brown lentils, not red. Red lentils are smaller and will turn to mush in this recipe. Save red lentils for recipes like this Lemony Lentil Soup. They make it so rich and creamy.
- Lentils freeze great. Make a big batch so they are ready at any moment from the freezer.
How Long To Cook Lentils In The Instant Pot
If you’re lucky enough to have an Instant Pot, you know it makes everything easier to cook, including lentils. Here’s how you do it:
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Instant Pot Lentil Barley Soup
Nothing warms you up on a cold day like a steaming bowl of Instant Pot Lentil Barley Soup. This whole-grain barley soup packed with chock-full of colorful vegetables and hearty lentils all simmered into a flavorsome broth elevates this soup from an accompaniment into a well-balanced weeknight meal.
Serve with freshly baked garlic knots and it will soon become a family favorite! Both crock-pot and stove-top instructions included!
Instant Pot Brown Lentils Curry / Sabut Masoor Dal
- Measuring Spoons, Measuring Cups, Stirring Spoon,
- Chopping board and knife
- Instant Pot 6 quart or Mealthy Multipot
- Inner Pot
- 1cupBrown Lentils whole, dry
- 1/2tspGingerfinely chopped
- 1smallGreen Chili finely chopped skip to reduce heat. May use 1 jalapeno too.
- 1tbspCilantro / Coriander leavesfinely chopped
- 1-2tspLemon Juice
- 1tspGaram Masalayou can use 1/2 tsp to make it milder
- 1pieceBlack Cardamomoptional
- 1& 1/2tspSalt or to taste
- 1/4 – 1/2tspRed Chili powder or Paprikaskip it for mildly flavored dal
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How To Make Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup
This Instant Pot soup is very easy to make.
The ingredient list is simple and produces a flavorful final result.
A comforting lentil soup made in 3 easy steps:
- Sauté the vegetables in the Instant Pot in oil for 5 minutes, until softened, stirring frequently.
- Add the tomato sauce, lentils and seasoning, Pour the vegetable stock on top. Add the Bay Leaf and lemon juice.
- Close the lid, set to Sealing and cook for 7-8 min at Manual High Pressure. Do a Quick Release. Serve.
- A suggestion: Cut the vegetables into as tiny pieces as possible, so they cook for about the same time as the lentils and are perfectly soft in the soup, not hard and crunchy. If you are the type of person, who likes crunchy vegetables in your soups, dont worry, cut them into larger pieces.
- I suggest Quick Release for red lentils, since the longer they sit in the pot, the softer and mushy they will become. While they break down during cooking, I still want to feel texture in the soup.
Do Lentils Have To Be Soaked Before Using
While soaking lentils prior to cooking isn’t necessary, I prefer to soak a few varieties. The soak time may be different for each variety. Some lentils only need a rinse, while some benefit from a 10-minute soak, and others for a few hours.
Long ago, when I researched the reasons to soak, this is what I learnt:
- The shells of lentils contain anti-nutrients such as lectin and phytates, which can be hard to digest. Soaking lentils helps neutralize those and makes lentils easier on your stomach.
- It gets rid of the anti-nutrients that can keep the body from fully absorbing the nutrients.
- Just like beans, lentils contain sugars that can cause flatulence and bloating, soaking and rinsing, helps minimize that.
- Soaking lentils prior to cooking cuts down on cook time as well.
To soak your lentils, rinse them first. Add them to a large bowl and cover them with enough fresh water. Depending on the kind of lentil, let it soak for 10 minutes to overnight. After they’ve soaked, rinse them again before cooking.
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Let Me Know What You Think
This simple yet wholesome soup with subtle flavors is super satisfying and filling. Best of all, you can tweak it up, jazz it however, your heart desires and will taste delicious.
Should you make this Instant Pot Lentil barley soup, please let me know your thoughts by sharing your comment below.
And dont forget to share it with your family and friends.
How Long To Cook Lentils In Instant Pot
I like my lentils more on the al dente side, so they can hold their shape, and I can use them in salads without worrying about them turning to mush, so cooking them at high pressure for 3 minutes and a slower natural release of 12 minutes is the perfect combination for me.
Once the pressure has been released, I add in a minute or two in the Instant Pots sauté mode so that the vinegar can plump up the lentils and brighten up the flavor. If there are any uncooked lentils, I find that these few mins on sauté will cook them through just fine.
If you like your green lentils more cookedor mushieryou can increase the cooking time to 5 or 6 minutes under high pressure.
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Red Lentils Vs Green Lentils
I am often asked the difference between red lentils and green lentils. From someone that eats a lot of both, I like to think of it like comparing white rice to brown rice.
Both are fantastic on the dinner table, but one takes much longer to cook than the other and one I find to be easier to keep a bite on, compared to the other.
Whilst with green lentils you have to accept that you will need it to be cooking for longer when added to other ingredients such as our Instant Pot Lentil Curry.
There is not one that I prefer over the other and I recommend you cook either in your instant pot and rotate as part of your meal plan.
How To Make Instant Pot Lentil Barley Soup
This section walks you through a detailed step-by-step recipe with pictures. For the FULL, printable recipe card, please scroll down to the bottom of this post.
» Rinse the lentils and barley Before you begin, check the lentils for small stones. Take a fine-meshed sieve and rinse the lentils and barley under cold running water to clean any dirt or dust. Set it aside to drain.
» Cook the aromatics Turn the Instant Pot to Saute mode. Once it displays hot, add oil to the insert. Add bay leaves and garlic. Sauté for a minute or until fragrant.
» Add the Mirepoix Add chopped onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes until onions are soft and translucent. Add carrots, corn, and celery cook for another minute. Add bell peppers and give the ingredients a good mix.
FYI Mirepoix is a french term use for a combination of aromatic vegetables such as onion, carrot, and celery. Its the flavor foundation for soups and stews.
» Add lentils Now add the rinsed lentils and pearled barley to the Instant Pot insert. Add Italian seasoning, cumin powder, paprika, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and vegetable stock. Give the ingredients a good stir. Dont forget to deglaze the base of the insert.
PROTIP Deglazing the insert removes all the brown bits stuck to the base. Scrape everything from the base to prevent the burn message.
PROTIP It will take about 10 minutes for the pressure to build than the actual cooking time.
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