Bright, tasty, al dente lentils.  My sister said it best after tasting this recipe, “Wow! This is not mom’s brown mushy lentils that we were forced to eat.  I like lentils now!”  And so will you. From start to finish, this recipe will only take a little over 20 minutes, with only 10 minutes cooking time under pressure (versus 45-60 in a regular pan)! The chopped tomatoes are the secret to keeping the lentils “springy” but not raw and giving the whole dish a bright flavor.

I like to serve these lentils as a main dish on top of polenta, or Basmati rice, with a swirl of unfiltered extra virgin olive oil and a little chopped parsley or basil on top.

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
6 L or larger none 10-15 min. High(2) Natural

4.9 from 10 reviews
Pressure Cooked Lentils in Tomato Sauce
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: 6
  • Serving size: One sixth
  • Calories: 104.8
  • TOTAL Fat: 2.9g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 14.2g
  • Sugar Carbs: 1.7g
  • Sodium: 400.4mg
  • Fiber Carbs: 4.6g
  • Protein: 5.6g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0mg
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped (use it all from stem to leaf)
  • 1 medium green pepper (not red, it comes out strangely sweet!)
  • 1½ cups chopped tomatoes (or 14.5oz / 400g can)chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • a few grinds black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (optional)
  • 1½ cups (300g) dry lentils
  • 2 cups (500ml) water
  1. Add a dash of olive oil in your pre-heated pressure cooker and soften the onion, celery and pepper.
  2. When the whole mix is softened, add the chopped tomatoes and mix well.
  3. Sprinkle the salt, pepper and curry (if using).
  4. Now, add the lentils and water and mix well, rubbing the base of the cooker with the spoon to lift any brown bits that may have stuck there and incorporate them into the dish.
  5. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
    Electric pressure cookers: Cook for 15 minutes at high pressure.
    Stovetop pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 10 minutes pressure cooking time.
  6. When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Natural release method - move the cooker off the burner and wait for the pressure to come down on its own (about 10 minutes). For electric pressure cookers, when cooking time is up count 10 minutes of natural open time. Then, release the rest of the pressure slowly using the valve.
  7. Open the pressure cooker and serve!
Each serving can provide the recommended daily value of 22% Folate, 12.3% Magnase and 9% iron.

Bright & Delicious: Tomato Lentil Pressure Cooker Recipe

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  1. I’m confused about how to do Step 5 in an electric pressure cooker.
    “Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker reaches pressure, lower to the heat to the minimum required by the cooker to maintain pressure. Cook for 10-15 minutes at high pressure.”
    Any suggestions?


    1. Hi Nancy, those are instructions for stovetop pressure cookers – your electric pressure cooker already does this automatically. I have updated the instructions to be more specific.



      1. Thank you so much, Laura!

      2. Hi, I also have a question about this step- “lower to the heat to the minimum required by the cooker to maintain pressure.” My stovetop pressure cooker’s instruction manual says that once the pot begins to release pressure, I should start counting down the cook time. Am I right to assume that in this case, that just means to leave it as-is and let it cook at the high pressure for ten minutes? Not sure what the minimum requirement would be here.. thanks!

        1. Chelsea, you should follow your cooker’s specific operating instructions. I have not yet heard of a pressure cooker that does not turn down the heat to maintain pressure and decrease venting. What brand and model is yours?



  2. This came out SO GOOD!!! Thank you! :-D

  3. Made this in the instant pot and it was a huge hit! I served it over polenta (using the recipe from your wonderful book). I can’t wait for enjoy the leftovers! Thank you!

    1. That looks delicious. Thanks for sharing the photo!



  4. Wow. This was GOOD! I really like the curry powder in it; it adds depth and complexity without overwhelming the dish. I followed it as written, except for the oil (sautéed in vegetable broth) and used vegetable broth instead of water. I cooked it in the Instant Pot for 15 minutes, 10 minutes at natural release, as you suggested to DailyMel,. The lentils were the perfect texture, whole yet soft, but not mushy. When I was a meat-eating kid, my mother used to make ‘chicken Country Captain’ from Joy of Cooking. It was a curried, tomato based dish that also had raisins in it. I think this dish lends itself to similar treatment, if anyone wants to try adding a small handful of raisins.

  5. I made this last night. It was my first go at making a meal with my stove top pressure cooker. I made a double batch. Added a couple of carrots, garlic, and basil and used beef stock instead of water. Because I’ve never cooked with a p-cooker before I wasn’t sure how long it was supposed to take for a natural pressure release so I gave it a bit longer then the 10 min. But everything turned out perfect. Lentils were beautiful and veggies were intact. I thought maybe the carrots would just fall apart but that wasn’t the case. Great first meal!

    1. I forgot to mention I didn’t have any canned tomatos but used about a cup and a half of fresh tomatos in it.

      1. That was a perfect substitution – if you make this in the summer you can use all fresh tomatoes, too. Congrats on your first recipe!



  6. Perfect ! Just made it tonight in our instant pot and we loved it !

  7. hi this sounds great however in the stove top version do I cook on high or low pressure my pot has to settings thanks

    1. High pressure. And use the shorter time of the range given.
      There is a bar just above every recipe that has this information.

      1. Hi thank you for the info and yes i did see that bar thanks again!

  8. This looks great. Can you clarify which variety of lentil you are using here please?They look like brown lentils but could be French? Thanks,

    1. This will work with any whole lentil (same cooking time, too), but I primarily use brown and that’s what is being used in the recipe as well. : )



  9. Excellent lentil dish! Thank you!

  10. Thank you for this! I’m going to use this as a guide to adapt my favorite lentil recipe: (scroll down a bit)

    I make this as written, except I increase the tomatoes to 1 drained 14oz can of diced tomatoes. As the recipe says, French Du Puy (or “French-style” lentils) work great. It’s only important that you use a lentil that will retain its shape and texture instead of turning to mush, regardless of cooking method.

  11. Can you use split lentils in this recipe? Any adjustments needed in time?

    1. You certainly can, but then you’d have a different recipe as split lentils melt into a puree’ and don’t keep their shape. Why not try one of the recipes specifically made for split lentils? Try this and substitute the split peas for lentils with no other changes:



  12. I made this last night and it turned out perfectly! I used a stove top pressure cooker. My kids are ridiculously picky about food, and even they loved it! How would I alter the cook time to add 16 oz. of kielbasa?

    1. Just slice the sausage, and saute’ with the onions – the cooking time remains the same.



  13. Could I freeze these lentils in individual portions. I am the only one in the house that will eat them. Thanks! They look delicious.

  14. Wow, these came out really good! I agree, adding the tomatoes made them brighter. I have always had a hard time with lentils. I think next time I’ll add extra broth at the end to make it more of a soup.

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