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Friday, September 29, 2023

Spiced Lentils in The Instant Pot

I love my lentils cooked firm, not mushy. The Instant Pot is the perfect (and easy) way to get a perfect lentil.

This spicy lentil recipe is delicious. It can be eaten as a plant-based entree with a salad and or a cooked vegetable such as butternut squash, or it can be made into my delicious (link to recipe) lentil loaf or even lentil meatballs.

Vegetable, Lettuce, Romaine Lettuce

However, my favorite way to eat spicy lentils is in a lettuce cup. 
After easily making my lentils in the Instant Pot, I simply use Romaine lettuce leaves and fill them with the hot or room temperature seasoned lentils. I spice up the lentils rather nicely, so they are quite tasty. I also sometimes use the lentils the next day when they are cold right from the refrigerator.

Low-fat Lettuce Cups With Spiced Lentils 

Try them on (GF) bread with avocado, tomato, and basil
cooked dish on plate

Plant-Based meals help save the planet 
It's up to us to save our environment!!
"If each and every person in the United States gave up meat and dairy products on one or more days of the week; ideally, all days of the week, we would save the environment from thousands of tons of carbon emissions.  In fact, in one year, animal husbandry creates as much carbon emissions as the entire transportation sector." (source)
Perfect Lentils in the Instant Pot 
It doesn't get easier than cooking lentils in the Instant Pot. For this recipe I simply wash the lentils, open a jar of chunky organic salsa, add some water and seasoning and set the Instant Pot to pressure cooker for 12 minutes. The result is amazing.

All the Prep (chopping) Ingredients in One Jar
I'm obsessed with using chunky salsa in my recipes. 
I use an organic brand that contains organic onions, tomatoes, sweet pepper, hot peppers, and garlic (It's from Aldi's).  I love the combination of flavors and it saves me time finding quality organic vegetables and prepping and chopping them. I'm amazed myself what a time saver it is and how much I've grown to depend on substituting salsa for chopped vegetables (onions,garlic, chopped tomatoes, peppers, etc.) in many of my recipes.

Lentils are hearty and filling protein sources for fall and winter 
Although this lentil recipe would taste great during the summer, I tend to eat lentils when the weather gets a little cooler. Since our temperatures dipped into the low 50's this week, I started to think about some heartier warming meals. Lentils are a rich protein source that feels hearty and warming to me.

tri colored fall mums in a planter on the porch

Instant Pot Spicy Lentils

2 cups of dry brown lentils, washed well
2 cups of chunky salsa (mild, medium, or hot- you choose)
3 cups of water 
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of whole cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
Optional: additional hot pepper

Pour the lentils, salsa, water, cumin, garlic powder, and cumin seeds into the metal liner of the Instant Pot. Set the timer for 12 minutes. When it is done, allow the Instant Pot to sit for about 25 minutes until all the steam has escaped. When all the steam has escaped, carefully open the pot and enjoy your spicy lentils.

bowl of brown cooked lentils

My Notes: 
1. This plant-based recipe is naturally gluten-free and vegan.
2. Eat it with :  
  • Steamed Butternut Squash 
  • Mashed Potatoes 
  • Baked Sweet Potato
  • Steamed Baby Spinach or Broccoli
3. If you like a lentil that is more wet and saucy, try my recipe for 

a red bowl filled with lentil dal, vegan,

If you are interested in a healthier plant-based lifestyle and recipes,  you can find lots of free inspirational recipes right here on my blog, or at websites such as  Forks Over Knives or Plantiful Kiki   

Future Food Summit In Philadelphia (Oct 20-21)
 Mark your calendar for Oct 20-21 for the Food Summit in Philadelphia. Chef AJ will be teaching a cooking class on desserts, along with many other amazing speakers. Truly an impressive gathering! It will be held at the Cira Center in Philadelphia - a beautiful building with a waterfall and live plant walls. The documentary film, the Spirit of Rice by Sheri DeMaris will be shown. Tickets are $125 or $225, good for 2 days. Vegan food will be served Details at Future Food Right Now


  1. This reminds me that I need to make some for my husband. We both really love cumin!

  2. Lentils + salsa = surefire winner! Yum!

  3. I am going to cook more lentils, this is so easy!

  4. I eat lentils but I don’t like it much. I’ll stick with them though!

  5. I am not a fan of lentils as I don't like the texture.
    from Tandy I Lavender and Lime https://tandysinclair.com

  6. Lovely lentils, Judee! I don't have an intant pot, but still must try your recipe. The pumpkins and mums look beautiful! Surely fall will come for you before too long.

  7. This loos wonderful and simple, can't wait to try it. Thanks!

  8. Your lentils in the lettuce cups would be a lovely party appetizer!

  9. Your lentils in the lettuce cups would be great to bring to a potluck.
    Hugs and blessings, Judee

  10. Your lentils do sound good, and making them seems so straightforward!

  11. Your lentils recipe in instant pot sounds good and how you served in lettuce cups and on bread. We punjabis eat lentils both ways - firm and mushy depending how we are eating.

  12. I love lentils!..your lentils look delicious....I make my lentils only in the instant pot......Abrazotes, Marcela


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