Vegan BBQ Lentils In The Instant Pot

Have you noticed that pressure cooking is all the rage these days? Well that and Air Fryers! Today though we are talking pressure cooking. My Friend Joanna Burris Lackey from Chef AJ’s Ultimate Weight Loss Program is a dynamite cook. She has created so many wonderful recipes that she has generously shared with our group on the private UWL facebook page. Joanna graciously gave me permission to share her BBQ Lentils recipes here on the blog. Joanna cooks for a large family so her recipes feed a crowd. You can cut this recipe in half if you want to but I like to make the full recipe and then freeze some in two serving containers. This way you always have an easy meal to put together even if you don’t have time to cook.

BBQ Lentils Nutmeg Notebook

BBQ Lentils
Nutmeg Notebook

This is my favorite way to eat the BBQ Lentils. I take a pre-baked Japanese Sweet potato cut it in half and heat it up in the Breville Smart Oven Air  at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. If you don’t have an air fryer try putting your pre-baked potato under the broiler to brown it just a little. Put a layer of fresh spinach on the bottom of the serving dish, add the hot potato and the hot BBQ Lentils. I love how the BBQ flavored lentils contrast with the sweetness of the sweet potato. I can’t even describe to you how delicious this is. You can also serve the lentils over the top of a baked Yukon Gold potato, a baked yam, quinoa, brown rice, your favorite greens or oven fries.

Instant Pot BBQ Lentils

-2 pounds dry brown lentils, sorted & rinsed
-2 large onions, diced
-3-15 oz. cans no salt added diced tomatoes, drained
-fresh spinach leaves, torn into small pieces, as desired

Mairead’s BBQ Sauce

-12 oz. can tomato paste
-2 tsp. onion powder
-1/2 tsp. allspice, optional if desired
-2 tsp. liquid smoke
-6 oz. Napa Valley Grand Reserve Vinegar – the thick one
-2 oz. lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Stir with a fork or whisk vigorously until smooth.


-Place lentils in Instant Pot and add water to 10 cup mark.
-Add diced onion.
-Put lid on Instant Pot with valve in sealing position.
-Press Bean/Chili function and set timer to 18 minutes.
-Allow natural pressure release.
-Make BBQ Sauce while lentils are cooking.
-Drain lentils/onions when done and pressure is released.
-Place lentils/onions back in Instant Pot to keep warm.
-Add tomatoes, spinach to your liking and BBQ Sauce.
-Stir until well mixed.
-Serve as is, wrapped in lettuce leaves or over potatoes, rice, quinoa or non-starchy veggies.

Recipe created by JOANNA BURRIS LACKEY

Nutmeg Notes

I am now the proud owner of not one, not two but three pressure cookers! I know – it sounds crazy but there are those batch cooking days when I have all three pressure cookers going at the same time. I have two Instant Pots and one Cuisinart and I do like my Instant Pots better – they have multiple functions and a SS liner that cleans up easily. Pressure cooking is so easy and fast. The great thing is you can put all of your ingredients in the pot, set it and walk away. When it is done cooking it automatically goes to a warm setting and stays piping hot until you are ready to eat. Love it!


Tom & Tami in Vegas Nutmeg Notebook

Tom & Tami in Vegas
Nutmeg Notebook


Earlier this month Tom and I were in Vegas for the Ultimate Weight Loss Live Vegas conference. We enjoyed two days of amazing speakers who shared the latest data and research about health, fitness and living your best life. I had the opportunity to speak in front of 200 people and tell how my lifestyle changes have improved my life as well as Tom’s. We finally met so many people from across the country who I had become friends with on line. It felt like a reunion even though we were meeting in person for the first time. We started our  mornings at boot camp work outs with John Pierre who can make a work out seem like play time for grown ups! One night we dolled ourselves up and were treated to an incredible whole food plant based gourmet meal at the elegant Panevino Restorante. Our friend Shayda worked closely with the staff there to ensure we would have a special evening and it exceeded our expectations.We came home armed with new health and lifestyle information and goals for improving our quality of life. It sounds like there will be another event like this next year and we are ready to sign up!

Happy Fall


A Little Nutmeg Nugget: When I started this blog in January of 2010 I followed what I understood to be a healthy version of the standard American diet, ironically also known as the “SAD” diet. As interest in my own health and how it was affected by the food I ate evolved, I transitioned to a whole food plant based diet also known as “WFPB” diet. I have wrestled with the fact that this blog still contains all those posts and recipes from the SAD way of eating I have left behind. I no longer advocate for anyone to eat that way. At this time I am leaving those recipes and posts here. It is a record of my journey and how I came to follow a WFPB way of eating. It is my hope that those who still come here for those old recipes will be curious about what I am doing now. Perhaps they will dip their toes across the line as I did and try some plant based recipes and learn more about the health benefits.

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  1. Charlotte Davis says:

    Hi Tami, I just ordered the Napa Valley Grand Reserve Balsamic vinegar so that I can try this delicious-sounding recipe. I think my family will love it!

    1. Tami says:

      I think they will too Charlotte! It is a delicious recipe and makes enough to feed a crowd and still have leftovers!

  2. Bonnie says:

    Great post, nice photo. IP is indeed a dream machine – main objective at first was to reduce heat and cooking time in my Phoenix, AZ kitchen! So versatile, makes great nondairy yogurt, best rice ever, not to mention simmering all those beans in less than half the time. Soups seem to have deeper flavors, too.

    Re: BBQ recipe…admit to a vinegar hack since Napa Valley $$, but still super tasty over kombacha squash I finally roasted per your rec!

    Thanks for sharing

    1. Tami says:

      Hi Bonnie, thank you so much for your comments! The IP is indeed a lifesaver during hot weather – I love mine and now own two of them. Enjoy your healthy easy cooking! Tami

  3. Roxanne says:

    Hi Tami.

    Will this recipe feed 14 people? I am going to a “girls weekend” soon and would like to make this for dinner one evening. Most are not WFPB and will likely eat it as a sloppy joe on a bun as opposed to over a potato.

    1. Tami says:

      Hi Roxanne – Yes this would make 14 plus sloppy joe type sandwiches!

  4. Diane says:

    I don’t have a Instant Pot. Can this be made on the stove?

    1. Tami says:

      I’m sure you can although I haven’t tried it. I would bring it to a boil then turn it to a simmer and simmer until the lentils are tender.

      Happy Cooking! Tami

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