After some trial and error with this recipe, I’m really happy with the result of these Instant Pot lentils. It can be a little tricky to get the desired tenderness of the lentils without undercooking or overcooking them. The flavors in this recipe are very traditional to the Greek island of Crete. The combination of cinnamon and orange really define the flavor of this dish. This recipe starts like any good recipe, with a mirepoix of onion, carrot, celery, and garlic (which isn’t always part of a mirepoix). I wanted to saute everything in the Instant Pot first to bring out more of the flavor.
When testing this recipe out, I tried one version with crushed tomatoes, and one with grated tomatoes. They both came out amazing but I decided I liked the grated tomatoes better. You can use crushed tomatoes but it will have a more tomatoey flavor and a redder color.
One thing not to skimp on in this recipe is the olive oil. Lentils can be kind of bland, but the 1/2 cup of olive oil mixed with the herbs, spices, and citrus acts as a flavor vehicle for the lentils. One thing you can skimp on, however, is the crushed red pepper flakes, depending on how much you like spice. There will be a pleasant heat with the 1/2 tsp in this recipe.
This isn’t a lentil soup recipe, but you can make it a lentil soup by adding more water. The traditional Greek recipe for lentil soup contains all the same flavors as this recipe, so it just depends on what you’re looking for. These Instant Pot lentils can be either eaten as a main or side dish.
I’d really appreciate if you rate this recipe and leave a comment!