This dish is satisfying, healthy, filling and one of my husband’s favorites! Italians make this dish by cooking lentils and then making a white risotto and mixing it all together before serving. Another way we make this dish is to cook the lentils first and then add the rice – this turns into more of a lentil and rice stew than a creamy risotto.

Nobody cooks, or even pressure cooks, these two ingredients together because risotto is ready in just 7 minutes under pressure while lentils need 10 minutes (plus 10 more minutes of natural release). We ate a lot of overcooked risotto or undercooked lentils until I figured out how to match their cooking times by soaking lentils.

Yes, I soaked lentils. Just like with any other legume, soaking cuts down the cooking time of lentils, too.



Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
3 L or larger none 5-7 min. High(2) Normal

4.9 from 16 reviews
Lentil Risotto (Risotto alle Lenticchie) - pressure cooker recipe
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Serving size: one sixth
  • Calories: 190
  • TOTAL Fat: 2.5g
  • Saturated fat: .04g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 35.1g
  • Sugar Carbs: 1.7g
  • Sodium: 12mg
  • Fiber Carbs: 3.7g
  • Protein: 5.7g
  • Cholesterol: 0
Recipe type: pressure Cooker
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Soaking lentils matches their cooking time to that of rice - giving you perfectly cooked lentils and al dente rice.
  • 1 cup dry lentils, soaked overnight
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 sprigs parsley, stems and leaves chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 2 garlic cloves, lightly mashed
  • 3¼ cups (750ml) vegetable stock
  1. In the pre-heated pressure cooker, add the olive oil and saute' the onion until just beginning to soften.
  2. Then add the celery, parsley and saute' for another minute.
  3. Add the rice and garlic cloves mix well and saute' until it is all evenly wet and pearly (about a minute).
  4. Add the stock and strained lentils, mix well.
  5. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  6. Electric pressure cookers: Cook for 5 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 7 minutes pressure cooking time.
  7. When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure.
  8. Mix well and serve immediately with swirl of extra virgin olive oil.
A classic addition to this dish is a medium potato - slice it in 1cm (1/2 inch) cubes and toss it into the cooker with the stock. It will make this dish more hearty.


 Rustic Italian Lentil Risotto Healthy and Nutritious Lentil Risotto

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  1. We added some Parmesan and Olive oil when serving and it is delicious.

    1. We sprinkle ours with Romano cheese, but don’t add the extra olive oil. This is one of our favorite meals and we have it regularly.

  2. I made this today, using it as an opportunity to teach my 15 year old daughter about the Instant Pot. It was fab!

  3. Made this in my cute little 2 Qt electric pressure cooker. Have been looking for recipes that can be easily reduced to the size of the cooker.
    Excellent! Tasty and easy, Used Bob’s Red Mill french type lentils. And Thai Jasmine substitute for arborio.
    Cut the recipe in half-ish. Let’s call it half-and-then-some as I added a little more of this and that adapting to size of cooker. Used their measure cup for lentils and rice, so all in all prob wound up with 2/3 of the recipe.
    Yum! Know I’ll make it again as I’m trying to acquire easy recipes for the little cooker that I got for my little 20ft RV. Kitchenette too small for my humongous Instant Pot to go with me.

    1. Cooked fine in my 2.5L Aroma multi-colored, but cooked at high pressure for the full 7 minutes.

  4. Wow, just wow! I cannot believe how lovely this was. I really thought this would be bland, but having got to trust Laura’s recipes I thought I would give it a try, and I am so please I did!

    An instant hit with both my vegetarian wife and fussy 16 year old daughter who both don’t want me to wait too long before I make it again (trust me I won’t).

    I might just for fun, serve with a salmon fillet for my daughter and I, and some sliced hard boiled egg for my wife, but on its own this is just a lovely, quick and oh so simple to make supper.

    Thank you Laura, you’re a star!

    1. Isn’t it just the most wonderful recipe! It is one of my husband’s favorites, and mine too. We have it with some Romano cheese sprinkled on top. And, any leftovers I reheat in the microwave and served with chicken soup poured over it.

  5. This excellent recipe worked perfectly. I soaked the lentils a bit longer than necessary, but it all worked out very well. I paired it with some osso buco, added some grated parmesan, and even my lentil-hating children ate it!
    Next time, though, I think that I will sub mushrooms in for the celery. I am not a big fan of the cooked celery flavour, but it did work well with the osso buco.
    However, in my opinion, mushrooms might give it a more savory flavour as a stand-alone dish for Meatless Mondays.
    Thank you Laura.

  6. Strange. I thought I left a comment on this recipe the other day. No matter.

    I cooked this for the first time last week. I used red lentils. And increased time to 8 minutes for my altitude. Big mistake. I ended up with mush. Tasty mush but mush.

    I tried again last night using masoor dahl. I also reduced the time to 7:30. It went much better. Lovely separate grains and lentils. And superb flavour. I am still not a great fan of pulses, but dishes like this could change my mind.

  7. Very nice and simple recipe. I also would spice it up a bit next time. I found I needed salt, pepper and parmesan cheese to enhance the flavor. It is a hearty, healthy meal or side and I’ll make it a regular however next time I’m going to try some different flavors, just not sure what yet.

  8. I soaked the lentils for about 8 hours and they were mushy but still flavorful. They reminded me of refried beans and hot sauce went well with it. I have frozen about half of it because I have frozen risotto and lentil dishes before with success. I love this recipe and will try again but only soak the lentils about an hour.

    1. Interesting, Donna! Did you add anything to the soaking liquid such as salt or baking soda? These things can shorten the lentil’s cooking time even more. I don’t add anything to the soaking water and they turn out tender and keep their shape – not mushy.

      I’m glad you haven’t given up, this is a family favorite too, and I’m looking forward to hearing how the 1-hour soaked lentils turn out.



      1. It may be the lentils Donna used. The first time I tried this I used red lentils – the most common type here – and I had soup. The next time, after a little research, I used moong dahl and had a much better result. But I had to go to an asian providores to get them. I discovered they also had an absolutely brilliant basmati rice there too so the trip was by no means wasted. And their chick peas were also far superior, and cheaper, then the supermarket ones.

      2. I didn’t add anything to the soaking water. I used Trader Joe’s small green lentils which usually hold up their shape. I will let you know how shortening the soaking time works. Love your recipes!!

  9. I’ve made this a few times now and find it a very satisfying dish and quite versatile. It also freezes really well. Just thaw and reheat. It’s a regular in our house now and so easy.

  10. Has anyone used brown Jasmine rice in this dish?

  11. Hi Laura,
    Do you think this could be made with barley or another whole grain instead of the Arborio rice? What modifications would you suggest?

    1. Yes, you can but you need to adjust both the liquid ratio and the cooking time. If you have my book follow the indications for Orzotto (risotto made from barley) for the grains, and then follow the rest of the recipe as it is stated here.



  12. Scrumptious! I did not have Arborio rice, so I substituted a medium grain rice for it. I made it with the potato. It was so good that my DH.immediately requested me to make it again soon, in the exact same way.

  13. Hi. What type of lentils for this?

    Red lentils?

    Green/Brown lentils?

    Red lentils cook quicker than green/brown lentils.

    1. Jay, this recipe uses red lentils but you can use any variety whole lentil in this recipe without making changes to the liquid or cooking time. It has been my experience that all whole lentils pressure cook with the same cooking time.



      1. Hi

        Thanks for respond. I normally get split lentils cos they only type can get in supermarket easily. I have not tried whole lentils yet. I probably will use green/brown ones.

        1. This first time I tried this, I used split red lentils. I ended up with mush.
          I subsequently tracked down moong dahl, which if I understand what my Indian grocer said correctly, is the same lentil, bit whole and unshelled. It works fine.

          Rather than use a supermarket, have a look to see if there is an Indian or Asian foods supplier near by. Or failing that, many “health food” stores carry a wider range of pulses than the supermarkets. At least that is true here.

          1. No. Moong dal are neither lentils nor are they whole and unshelled. They are mung beans, a legume similar to lentils, and they are split, so they cook much more quickly and become quite soft and mushy.

        2. I have only used the brown lentils and it comes out perfect every time. The brown lentils are the most common ones in my supermarket. I have made this many times and it is one of our favorite meals.

  14. I would like to try making this with brown rice. I’ve made it many times and it’s great but want to try something different. How would I adjust the liquid and cooking time to accommodate this?

  15. Couldn’t you simply quick-soak the lentils (few minutes under pressure) like it’s done with beans, to avoid the night of soaking?
    I’m not such a good planner of meals..

    1. Give it a shot, I’m a little concerned because the quick-soak has a “slow release” which could whip the lentils into a cream. But it’s worth a shot. Let us know how it worked out.



  16. Do you use an entire stalk of celery, or just one rib?

    1. I don’t know… I think stalk and rib are the same thing? One long piece with lots of ribbing.



  17. Just made this today. SOOOOOO good! I use leek instead of celery because only have leek at home.

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