This is a pressure cooker recipe for vegan barbecue lentil stew. My parents-in-law gave us a pressure cooker as a Christmas gift last year and it’s been working like a charm. I would like to say it is definitely a time savor. The strong sweet and tangy barbecue flavor and the mild earthy flavor from lentils are perfectly preserved under the high pressure.
The key ingredient of this stew is, obviously, the barbecue sauce. You may see many recipes that use ketchup to make homemade barbecue sauce. Most ketchup contains high fructose syrup which is considered unhealthy. Although there is sugar-free ketchup available at a higher price, I decided to use tomato paste for its intense flavor in this recipe.
The hint of woody smoky flavor in the barbecue sauce is a taste booster. Before I headed to my kitchen to make the barbecue sauce, I did some research online to find out how to add smoky flavor to dishes in general. Surprisingly, there is a whole list of ways to add smoky flavor to food without having to cook over a charcoal grill, such as adding one or two stripes of bacon, dark smoky beer, smoked salt or spices, liquid smoke, or molasses, et al. My final choice is blackstrap molasses and artificial bacon bits (for vegan choices).
You can make the barbecue sauce ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to two weeks. It’s also good in many other dishes. I mixed together all the ingredients of the barbecue sauce and let it simmer for 1 hour the day before I made the lentil stew. Since I was using my pressure cooker, I combined the sorted and washed brown lentils, diced celery and carrots, water, salt, spices, and barbecue sauce all together into the cooker. The job was done in 20-25 minutes while I was preparing the rest of the meal.
To be honest, the leftovers taste better due to the long marinating time after cooking, which results in the lentils absorbing more flavoring agents. You can make this dish the day before serving. They taste fantastic with rice, homemade breads, hamburger buns, or even on its own.
- 10 oz uncooked brown lentils
- 5-½ cups water
- 1 qt homemade vegan barbecue sauce (recipe follows)
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- (optional) 2 tbs chopped green onion for garnishing
- 3 small yellow onions, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbs oil
- 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
- 3 cups water
- 1-½ tsp paprika powder
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsb blackstrap molasses
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp pure stevia extract powder (Now brand)
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp artificial bacon bits
- Place all ingredients except green onion in pressure cooker if used. Follow the instructions of the pressure cooker and cook 10 minutes with a very low heat. Let pressure drop on its own accord. Garnish with green onion before serving.
- To make vegan barbecue sauce: Heat skillet over high heat until smoky hot, add oil and wait for 10 seconds or until the oil is hot. Stir in diced yellow onions and garlic and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant. Reduce the heat to medium and add the rest of the barbecue sauce ingredients. Stir occasionally and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Let the sauce cool completely in the skillet and then transfer it into a blender. Blend until smooth. Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
2. This lentil stew can be prepared one day before serving. Overnight marinating, after cooking, will enhance the flavor.