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brown lentils cooked in the instant pot with parsley

Simple Brown or Green Lentils

Nisha Vora
This is my go-to recipe when I want a simple pot of lentils to eat throughout the week, but I want to jazz them up just a bit and not simply cook them in water. You can use brown or green lentils, or if you prefer a firmer texture, use French green (Puy) lentils or black Beluga lentils.
4.5 from 24 votes
Prep Time 7 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 42 mins
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4


  • Instant Pot


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 chili pepper, such as serrano or jalapeño, diced with seeds intact (omit seeds for mild version; or use 2 peppers for a spicy version)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup brown lentils or green lentils
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt + more to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 small handful of fresh thyme sprigs (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (for serving)
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped


  • Select the Sauté setting on your Instant Pot and heat up the coconut oil. Once it's shimmering, add the diced chili pepper and cook for 30 seconds until aromatic.
  • Add the diced onion and cook for 3 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook until the onion is softened and garlic is turning golden, 1-2 minutes.
  • Pour in the vegetable broth to deglaze the pot, using a wooden spoon or scraper to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the lentils, sea salt, pepper, thyme sprigs (if using), and bay leaf (if using). Stir to combine. Select the Cancel setting.
  • Secure the lid of the Instant Pot and seal. Select the Pressure Cook (or Manual, depending on your model) setting and cook at high pressure for 6-10 minutes, depending on your desired firmness (I prefer the 6-8 minute range).
  • Once the 10 minutes is up, allow a natural pressure release for 10 minutes before switching the pressure release valve from Sealing to Venting. Open the Instant Pot and stir in the lemon juice and parsley.
Keyword gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, vegan
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