Return to top
featured in… The Huffington Post CookingLight Reader's Digest Women's Health BuzzFeed Glamour Whole Foods Oprah Winfrey Network CNN Food Network Healthline Shape

Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Easy Instant Pot Lentils with Tahini (And How To Guide)

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure.
Share This:

Instant Pot lentils with tahini, cumin, and garlic is loaded with flavor! It’s a satisfying and hearty dish with Mediterranean inspired ingredients. Done in minutes, you’ll have a healthy, protein rich meal the family will love!

Instant Pot Lentils served with red onions and cilantro in a skillet

Lentils are the ultimate comfort food, and a vegan and vegetarian staple. They’re savory, filling, and packed with plant-protein and fiber. I often add lentils or beans to main dishes when I’m looking for a quick veggie friendly meal.

These Instant Pot Lentils have the essence of the Mediterranean thanks to the warm spices used in this recipe, and can be eaten as a one-pot meal with some naan, pita, or crusty whole wheat bread.

Latest Recipe Video!

You can even puree these lentils and use it as a dip! This is a great recipe for feeding a crowd — either as a party appetizer or as a main meal! Using the instant pot is an easy way to make these lentils in a big batch to use for meal prep, or to eat throughout the week. We like topping it with some sliced red onions and cilantro, but you can use any toppings you like!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe …

  • Quick and easy
  • High in plant protein
  • High in fiber
  • A filling, vegan dish
  • Gluten-Free
  • Mediterranean flavors

How to Make Instant Pot Lentils

Recipe Ingredients and Notes

This recipe calls for just a few simple ingredients that you can easily find at your local grocery store (or in your pantry!)

Instant Pot Lentils - ingredients
  • Le Puy Lentils: There are many different types of lentils available. They all have a slightly different texture and flavor. Le Puy Lentils are gray/green in color, and small in size. They are called Le Puy Lentils, or French Green Lentils, because they are grown in the Le Puy region of France. You can also use green lentils, whole brown lentils, or any kind of lentils you like. I just don’t recommend red lentils since they won’t hold their shape once cooked.
  • Fragrant Spices: This dish uses a variety of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern spices. You’ll need cumin, coriander, salt, ground black pepper, and a touch of cayenne pepper.
  • Tahini: Tahini adds a wonderful depth of flavor to this lentil recipe, it has nutty flavor, which compliments the other ingredients so well, and gives this dish a Mediterranean vibe.
  • Carrot: Dice your carrots finely. They will be added to the instant pot with the onions and spices.
  • Red Onion and Garlic: I add red onion to the lentil dish, as well as on top as a garnish. Garlic gives this dish a rich aroma.
  • Tomatoes: I recommend using Roma or beef steak tomatoes. Dice into small chunks.
  • Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice squeezed over top these lentils adds some acidity and freshness.
  • Cilantro: Chop finely and sprinkle on top when ready to serve.

Tools and Equipment You’ll Need

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1: Turn your Instant Pot to the sauté setting. Add the olive oil, garlic, diced red onion, tomatoes, cumin, and coriander. Cook for a minute.

tomatoes onions and spices added to skillet

Step 2: Add the carrots, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cook until the carrots are slightly soft – about 5 minutes.

carrots and tomatoes added to skillet

Step 3: Rinse the dry lentils. Add the dried puy lentils to the Instant Pot, and the water or vegetable broth. Place the lid on top, and set to seal. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Do a quick release, by turning the sealing valve.

Step 4: Lift the lid and stir in the tahini paste, and lemon juice.

tahini sauce added to skillet

Step 5: Spread out the lentils on a flat platter or in a large skillet, and top with the sliced red onion and cilantro.

Instant Pot Lentils served with red onions and cilantro on a white plate

Is This Instant Pot Lentils Recipe Healthy?

Yes, these lentils have a ton of health benefits!

  • High in Plant Protein: Each serving of these lentils has 13 grams of protein. Lentils and tahini are both excellent sources of plant protein.
  • High in Fiber: Lentils are also a great source of fiber. One serving has 12 grams of fiber. That’s half of the recommended daily amount in one serving!
  • Low in Calories and Fat: Lentils are naturally a low calorie food that it dense in nutrients. One serving has 260 calories, and 10 grams of fat. Most of the fat from this dish is mono-unsaturated fat, meaning it’s cholesterol free, and the good sort of fat you need in your diet. The fat comes from the tahini and olive oil.
  • Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: Lentils are a good source of magnesium, thiamine, folate, iron, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, and manganese. All are important for the function of your body, and to help prevent chronic conditions.

Recipe FAQs

Are these instant pot lentils kid friendly?

Yes! This dish is very kid friendly! It has wonderful flavors, that are mild, and has a nice texture. You might want to skip adding the red onions on top of your kids’ servings (my kids don’t like raw onions), and serve it to them with warm pita bread! They’ll love it!

What is tahini?

Tahini is made from ground and toasted sesame seeds. It has thin liquid like consistency. It is similar in texture to nut butters, but more fluid. It is added to many Mediterranean recipes. It has toasty, nutty flavor.

How do you choose the best lentils?

It’s best to get fresh dried lentils. It’s a bit tricky to know how fresh the lentils are when you buy them in a bag. However, if you go to the bulk section of your grocery store, you’ll find more options, and the chances are those lentils are more fresh than the ones that are already bagged for sale. After you buy your lentils, and are ready to prepare them, be sure to give them a good rinse, and remove any stones, brown, or damaged lentils.

What types of lentils work best in the Instant Pot?

I recommend using green, brown, or black lentils. They will cook nicely and retain their shape and texture. It takes about 10 minutes to cook these types of lentils. Red and yellow lentils become mushy when cooked in the Instant pot, but taste great for soups and stews. Red and yellow lentils only take 5 minutes to prepare in the instant pot.

Do you have to soak lentils before adding them to the Instant Pot?

No, you do not need to soak lentils like you do with beans. But do rinse them and remove any stones, damaged, or discolored lentils before adding to your Instant Pot.

How do you serve these Instant Pot lentils?

Serve with warm whole wheat pita, rice (white rice, brown rice, wild rice or even quinoa), crusty bread, or naan bread. Add a side of hummus or baba ganoush! If you’d like some more greens, prepare a Greek salad!

Recipe Variations

Different Type of Lentil: If you cannot find puy lentils, you can use a green lentil or brown lentils. Either will work well in this dish.

Try Hummus: If you don’t have a jar of tahini, you can use hummus. Hummus is made from tahini and chickpeas so it has a similar flavor profile. I also recommend serving these lentils with whole wheat pita and a side of hummus. It is the perfect pairing with these lentils.

How to Store and Keep

Store: Allow the lentils to cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Freeze: Allow the lentils to cool completely. Transfer to a freezer safe container, making sure all air has been removed. Label with the date and contents. Place in the freezer for 2-3 months.

Reheat: When ready to reheat, place in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Transfer to a large saucepan, on medium heat. Gently warm the lentils stirring occasionally until heated all the way through.

Top Tips for Making Instant Pot Lentils

  • Older lentils will take longer to cook because they have lost more moisture. Do not mix newly-purchased lentils with old ones because they will cook unevenly. 
  • Rinse and sort the lentils before adding them to your instant pot.
  • The ratio for dried lentils to liquid is 2:1. So, you will need two cups of water or stock to one cup of dried lentils.
  • It takes about 10 minutes to cook green, brown, or black lentils, and 5 minutes to cook red or yellow lentils.
  • Add the spices to the pot while the lentils cook. This way the lentils soak up the flavors of the spices.
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley over the lentils gives this dish a nice pop of green and fresh flavor.
Instant Pot Lentils served with red onions and cilantro on a white plate

Check Out These Other Healthy and Delicious Lentil Recipes!

If you have tried these Instant Pot Lentils, or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

Instant Pot Lentils served with red onions and cilantro in a skillet
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Instant Pot Lentils with Tahini, Cumin, and Garlic

Instant Pot lentils with tahini, cumin, and garlic is loaded with flavor! It's a satisfying and hearty dish with Mediterranean inspired ingredients. Done in minutes, you'll have a healthy, protein rich meal the family will love!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Vegan
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 261kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Turn your Instant Pot to the sauté function. Add the olive oil, garlic, diced red onion, tomatoes, cumin, and coriander. Cook for a minute.
  • Add the carrots, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cook until the carrots are slightly soft – about 5 minutes.
  • Rinse the dried lentils. Add the dried puy lentils to the Instant Pot, and the water or vegetable stock. Place the lid on top, and set to seal. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Do a quick release, by turning the sealing valve.
  • Lift the lid and stir in the tahini paste, and lemon juice.
  • Spread out the lentils on a flat platter and top with the sliced red onion and cilantro.

Video

Notes

Top Tips for Making Instant Pot Lentils
  • Older lentils will take longer to cook because they have lost more moisture. Do not mix newly-purchased lentils with old ones because they will cook unevenly. 
  • Rinse and sort the lentils before adding them to your instant pot.
  • The ratio for dried lentils to liquid is 2:1. So, you will need two cups of water or stock to one cup of dried lentils.
  • It takes about 10 minutes to cook green, brown, or black lentils, and 5 minutes to cook red or yellow lentils.
  • Add the spices to the pot while the lentils cook. This way the lentils soak up the flavors of the spices.
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley over the lentils gives this dish a nice pop of green and fresh flavor.
Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Recipe

Nutrition

Calories: 261kcal | Carbohydrates: 32.5g | Protein: 12.8g | Fat: 10.6g | Saturated Fat: 1.5g | Sodium: 355.4mg | Fiber: 11.7g | Sugar: 2.6g

Posted In…

Mediterranean Recipes ·

These recipes are bursting with Mediterranean flavors and fragrant herbs! Best of all, they’re simple to put together and can add a tasty spin to familiar dishes.

Try my vegetable paella, falafel wraps, or bright and colorful keto-friendly Greek salad! For a quick dinner, you can’t go wrong with a Mediterranean panini.

14 responses to “Easy Instant Pot Lentils with Tahini (And How To Guide)”

  1. Such wonderful flavors to pair with the lentils, especially the addition of the tahini! I love how easily it comes together in the instant pot.5 stars

  2. I have a huge jar of lentils that I need to begin working through. I love that this recipe is for the Instant Pot, it makes it so easy!5 stars

    • Hi Janine! Thanks so much! You could absolutely eat the lentils with a side of rice, or pita chips, or corn chips, or even with whole wheat tortillas. Hope that helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Subscribe to newsletter

Copyright 2021 The Picky Eater. All rights reserved.