Cooking black lentils in the instant pot is a game changer! It is so easy and you can meal prep a big batch for the week. The best part is that it is quick and mostly hands-off.
After you make your black lentils you can use them in a variety of ways. They are a great addition to curry, taco meat, grain bowls, salads, or spaghetti sauce! They are a great way to add protein and fiber to your meals, whether in the main course or as a side dish. You can also pair them with red kidney beans and tomato sauce to make madras lentils. (My favorite Indian comfort food)
Black lentils are also known as beluga lentils or caviar lentils. This is because they are small and resemble beluga caviar.
Originating in the Middle East, black lentils are now grown in the US and Canada as well. You can find them online, in some ethnic grocery stores, and in some health food stores.
While their earthy flavor is similar, black lentils are different from your traditional green, brown, or red lentils. They hold their shape much better than the other varieties giving them a firmer texture. This makes them a great lentil to add to salads.
Black lentils most closely resemble french green lentils. And if you don’t have black lentils on hand, french lentils would be the best substitute.
It is so easy to cook black beluga lentils in an instant pot. This recipe doesn’t include any aromatic but feel free to add any type of flavorings you like to the instant pot. Lentils tend to take on the flavor of whatever you cook them with. I love cooking these with onion and garlic. Sometimes I add a bay leaf and a drizzle of olive oil as well.
If you don't have an instant pot, you can use another brand of electric pressure cooker.
- Dry Lentils - This recipe calls for one cup of dry lentils. This will make about two and a half cups of cooked lentils. You can easily scale the recipe to make more if needed.
- Salt - You can leave this out if you are salt-free.
- Water - Water is always available and a great way to cook lentils, but if you have vegetable broth that would be delicious also!
See the recipe card for the correct ratio of water to lentils.
The cooking process is so simple! Add the lentils, salt, and water to the instant pot. Set your instant pot to high pressure for 6 to 8 minutes. The cooking time is varied because people like different textures. If you want a firmer texture, set the instant pot for less time. For a softer texture use a longer cook time! Some people cook their lentils for up to 10 minutes to get really creamy lentils.
If you are unsure how well you want your lentils cooked, set your instant pot to 6 minutes and taste them when they are done. You can easily cook them for longer if you want them cooked more. Don't be afraid to experiment until you know what you like.
Once the instant pot is done cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then manually release the remaining pressure.
Tip: You don’t need to worry about soaking the lentils beforehand. This is nice because if you don’t have them prepared for the week, they are quick and easy to cook on weeknights too!
Black lentils can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and will last for 5 to 7 days.
You can also store them in the freezer for 3 to 6 months.
In half a cup of black lentils, there are 12 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber.
Yes, they are naturally gluten-free.
Black lentils are not the same as puy lentils. Puy lentils are another name for french green lentils. Black lentils most closely resemble french green lentils because they are both smaller and hold their shape well.
If you have never had black caviar lentils give them a try! They might become your new favorite type of lentil! Let me know if you do and what you think!
Black Lentils Instant Pot
- 1 Pressure Cooker
- 1 cup dried black lentils
- 1 ¾ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Add all ingredients to the instant pot.
- Set the instant pot to high pressure for 6 to 8 minutes.
- When the instant pot is done cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.
- After the pressure has released for 10 minutes you can release the remaining pressure manually.