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Barbecue “Baked” Lentils

Barbecue “Baked” Lentils 8.000

(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Weeknight Vegetarian Jun 7, 2020

This lentil-focused take on baked beans can be the base for many meals throughout the week: tacos, grain bowls, burritos, Sloppy Joes and more. Make this quickly in the Instant Pot, slowly in a slow cooker, or in a Dutch oven.

10 mins; Total time: 1 hour

Storage Notes: Leftover lentils will keep tightly sealed in the refrigerator for 5 days or in the freezer for 6 months.

8 - 10

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 8-10 servings; makes about 4 1/2 cups

  • 1 1/2 cups dried large green or brown lentils (not the small French du Puy), rinsed
  • 3 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium vegetable stock, plus more as needed
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1/2 large)
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon smoked or sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder (may substitute ground ancho chile)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • Chopped chives or scallions, for garnish (optional)


Combine the lentils, stock, garlic, onion, ketchup, sugar, molasses, paprika, chili powder, salt, cumin, cinnamon and black pepper in the canister of an Instant Pot or other multicooker. Stir to evenly distribute, then cover the Instant Pot (the steam valve should be turned to “pressure” or “sealing") and cook on high pressure for 35 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 15 minutes, then turn to “venting” to release the remaining pressure.

(Alternately, you can cook the lentils in a slow cooker on low heat for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, until the lentils are falling-apart tender. To make the lentils in a Dutch oven, increase the stock to 4 cups, bring the mixture to a boil on the stove top, then transfer to a 300-degree oven and bake on the middle rack for 2 hours, checking occasionally and adding more stock if the mixture looks dry.)

Remove the lid, stir, taste, and season with more salt and pepper, if needed. You can add an extra splash of stock if you want to thin the lentils out a bit, or turn on the saute function on HIGH and reduce if the mixture seems too watery.

Garnish with chives or scallions, if desired. Serve warm.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Simply Laura Lea” by Laura Lea (Blue Hills Press, 2020).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (based on 10): 182

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 1g 2%

Saturated Fat: 0g 0%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 542mg 23%

Total Carbohydrates: 33g 11%

Dietary Fiber: 11g 44%

Sugar: 9g

Protein: 10g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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