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Slow cooked black lentils with onion and garlic in the Instant Pot. A simple yet healthful recipe that goes well with curry, rice, or just by itself! With this simple recipe, you may learn about seasonings, water-lentil ratios, and serving suggestions.

Black lentils are the solution if you’re seeking for a nutritious and adaptable plant-based protein. In this post, you’ll learn how to make black lentils as a budget-friendly Instant Pot dinner or how to integrate them into a number of different meals. Continue reading to learn how to cook Instant Pot black lentils for a fast, healthy entrée or side dish.

What are Black Lentils?

Black lentils are also known as Beluga or caviar lentils because to their tiny, spherical, and glossy appearance, which is strikingly similar to caviar. This lentil cultivar is produced on the northern plains of the United States and Canada. Black lentils retain their form better than red or green lentils and are great for bulk cooking.


  • Dried black lentils may be found online or in the bulk area of your grocery store; they are also known as Beluga or caviar lentils. If you can’t find any, use French green lentils.
  • Extra virgin olive oil of good grade is desired.
  • Celery: one stalk or about half a cup, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, or about half a cup, chopped
  • Onion: 1 small to medium onion sliced, depending on how much onion you want.
  • Garlic: two minced cloves, or one-quarter teaspoon garlic powder if you don’t have fresh garlic.
  • Salt: use sea salt or iodized table salt
  • Water: For the greatest taste, use filtered water; the filter on your refrigerator works wonderfully well.

Quick Tips

Here are some important hints to remember while cooking lentils.

Water Ratios

Use a 2:1 water to dry lentils ratio for cooking black lentils in the Instant Pot.

Salt & Seasoning

Although there are tales that cooking with salt toughens lentils, this is not true if you use a moderate quantity. Instead, while cooking lentils, salt will enhance taste.

Adding Flavor

Lentils on their own are very bland, however black lentils rapidly absorb the taste of whatever they are cooked with. Cook them with aromatic vegetables like onions and garlic, fresh or dried spices and herbs, and stock instead of water to enhance flavor.

Side Dish Ideas

Cooked black lentils may be served with seasoned rice. Sautéed veggies may also be added to the platter for color, texture, and nutrition.

For a variety of textures and plant-based protein sources, combine black lentils with roasted cauliflower and hummus.

Serve cooked lentils over nutrient-rich braised greens like kale, collard, Swiss chard, or broccoli rabe for a veggie choice.

Don’t forget to serve your lentil meal with a tasty flatbread, such as naan.

If you want to serve it with meat, try it with Kerala beef fry. The dry texture and spicy tastes of the meat will be well complemented by the black lentil stew.

How to Make Instant Pot Black Lentils

You’ll need a 6-quart Instant Pot (any size would do) for this recipe. We prefer this since it combines the saut and pressure cooker settings, but if you don’t have one, you may sauté the veggies in a pan before transferring everything to your pressure cooker.

Rinse your lentils first. Put them in a strainer and run cold water through it several times until the water runs clean. Also, go through the lentils, removing any trash or broken bits.

Prepare all of your veggies next. Wash and peel the carrot, then trim and cube the celery stalk into uniform pieces. Peel and finely dice the onion. Finally, peel and chop the garlic.

You’re ready to start cooking after you’ve acquired your basic supplies. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in the Instant Pot on the saut setting.

When heated, the olive oil should shimmer. Cook for approximately three minutes, stirring occasionally, with the chopped celery, carrot, and onion. Next, add the minced garlic and half a teaspoon of salt and continue to sauté for another two minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the veggies from sticking.

Now you may pressure cook the prepared veggies with four cups of water, half a cup of frozen green peas, and two cups of lentils. Place the cover on the Instant Pot and stir together all of the ingredients. The valve on the lid should be adjusted to natural release.

Set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 10 minutes. After the lentils have finished cooking, leave the Instant Pot on natural release for around twenty minutes. This option allows the pressure to gradually drop while your meal is still cooking.

After ten minutes of pressure cooking and twenty minutes of natural release, you may gently remove the cover of the Instant Pot and release the residual pressure. (Keep the steam away from your face since it might be rather hot.)

Season the cooked lentils with salt and pepper to taste. You may serve them immediately or save them to consume later. Before putting the lentils in the refrigerator, let them to cool to room temperature.


Allow cooked lentils to cool before storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator within two hours after cooking.

Cooked lentils may be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. If there is mold, discoloration, or a weird odor, destroy the lentils right once.

Microwave the lentils for one minute, then toss and microwave for another 30 seconds. Continue cooking until the lentils reach the desired consistency.

Pour lentils into a pot and cover with water to reheat on the stove. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat.

Instant Pot Black Lentils

Instant Pot black lentils slow cooked in onion and garlic. A simple but healthy dish to enjoy with curry, rice, or simply by itself!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 5mins
Cook Time 35mins
Total Time 40mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, Vegan
Servings 4


  • 2 cups caviar lentils (also known as beluga lentils)
  • 1tbspextra-virgin olive oil
  • 1celery stalkdiced
  • 1carrotdiced
  • 1white oniondiced
  • cupgreen peasfrozen or fresh
  • 2clovesgarlicminced
  • tspsea salt
  • 4cupswater
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • kosher salt


  • Thoroughly rinse and drain the dry black lentils, and remove any debris.
  • Set your Instant Pot to sauté mode and add the olive oil, chopped celery, carrots, onion, and minced garlic. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring periodically, until the onions are transparent and the veggies are soft.
  • Add the black lentils, green peas, water, and salt to taste. Stir in the veggies, scraping off any vegetable parts that have gotten stuck to the pan.
  • Set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 10 minutes with the valve set to natural release. Cook for 10 minutes on high pressure with the lid closed.
  • After cooking, set the Instant Pot to natural release for 20 minutes to relieve pressure.
  • Open the lid with caution. Season the lentils with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cool before serving or keeping in the refrigerator.


Do black lentils need to be soaked?

Is it necessary to soak black lentils? No! You can prepare them immediately away, making them fast and simple.

Do black lentils taste different?

However, black lentils have a deep, earthy taste that green and red lentils do not, which adds to their appeal.

Can you overcook black lentils?

While the skin keeps them more intact, the interior remains pleasant and soft! If you desire a different texture, you may overcook them until they split. They’re high in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamin C.

What are black lentils used for?

Sprinkle them on top of a loaded sweet potato, use them to thicken up a green salad, or substitute healthy grains in a robust legume-based meal bowl. Cooked black lentils may also be puréed, roasted, and used to make a variety of delicious treats.

What is the minimum time to soak black lentils?

How Do You Soak Properly? Soaking lentils for two to eight hours is often advised. In a bowl, rinse the dal with water, changing the water 3-4 times, and clean it carefully with your fingertips.

Which color lentil is healthiest?

Beluga lentils (black lentils)

Best of all, black lentils are the most nutritious kind of lentil, containing the most protein as well as high quantities of calcium, potassium, and iron.

Why are black lentils the healthiest?

Black lentils are an inexpensive method to add nutrients to your diet, such as huge quantities of vegan-friendly plant-based protein. Fortunately, they are also low in calories and contain almost no saturated fats. Not only that, but black lentils are high in polyphenols, which are known to protect against heart disease.

Are black lentils healthier than black beans?

Lentils offer somewhat more plant-based protein than beans, although both are quite high. One cup delivers around 30% of your daily value. Fiber: Lentils and beans both contain fiber. 1 cup cooked contains 60% of your daily value.

Are black lentils actually lentils?

Black lentils are the richest and most flavorful form of lentil. They, like brown and green lentils, retain their form when cooked.

Do black lentils cause gas?

Lentils with beans

Beans and other legumes, such as peas and lentils, are known to cause gas. Beans are rich in raffinose, a complex sugar that the body has difficulty breaking down. Beans are also heavy in fiber, and a high fiber diet might cause gassiness.

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