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Instant Pot Italian Lentil Dinner (Gluten-Free, One-Pot Meal!)

Instant Pot Italian Chicken Lentil and Rice Dish tastes like lasagna

One-pot meals are the BEST. If you battle Mt. Dishes like we do, you know the sigh of relief you feel when your meat, veggies, and starchy side can all fit in one container and done!

This one has a ton of nutrition, is super frugal, and tastes a teeny bit like lasagna. For real. If you can get over the fact that there’s no pasta or ricotta…

Back when it was just a slow cooker recipe before I tried it in the Instant Pot, I remember getting a comment from someone who thought it was more work than she was used to for a slow cooker. I think of that every time I make the dish because if you’re cooking with real food at all it’s about 30% of the work of most meals! Cut onions, pepper and carrots, and assemble.

RELATED: Dairy-free and Gluten-free Lasagna Recipe & One-Pot Kid-Friendly Pesto Chicken Recipe

Slow Cooker Italian Chicken Lentil and Rice 27.jpg

Seriously, people. This woman must have used exclusively canned recipes with no whole foods. Whatevs. Trust me when I tell you this will go on your “easy meals” list.

We definitely need a double batch for any chance at leftovers, and the Instant Pot will fit it! It’s pretty exciting to me how easily slow cooker recipes convert to the Instant Pot.

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Pressure Cooker Easy Italian Lentil Dinner (Gluten-Free)

Instant Pot Italian Lentil Lasagna fast easy meal
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Instant Pot Italian Lentil Dinner

  • Author: Katie Kimball
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: main dish



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  1. Combine rice and lentils in the Instant Pot or a separate bowl and cover with water.
  2. Allow to soak overnight with the machine turned off (or in the bowl, covered).
  3. Note: If you’re not soaking, add another cup of broth to the recipe.
  4. Drain the water off, then add all the other ingredients except the cheese to the Instant Pot and mix well.
  5. Set the IP to “poultry” which will cook at high pressure for 15 minutes (you could also do this manually).
  6. Click in the lid and make sure the valve is closed.
  7. When the time is up, use the quick release. After the pin goes down (usually about 2 minutes), give the whole appliance a little jiggle to release any potential pockets of steam trapped in the thick food. You can also do a natural release (ignore it for 15 minutes) and the food won’t be overcooked.
  8. Add the cheese on top and wait 10 minutes on warm to melt it with the lid on or stir it in to melt almost immediately.
  9. Serve with optional warmed spaghetti sauce on top.


Roast a chicken to easily have delicious shredded chicken on hand in the freezer and meals like this are a cinch! It’s ok if the chicken is put in frozen, too, it will thaw as the meal cooks and you can just stir it in. You might add 2-3 minutes of cook time if the chicken is frozen.

Soaking the rice and lentils is not necessary for the cooking BUT it increases the nutrient benefit. More here and here.

No Instant Pot? First of all, get one. But while you’re waiting, this recipe was originally done in the slow cooker. Super easy.

Make it meatless for Lent by omitting the chicken. Still filling and delicious. Use vegetable broth or water if you want totally vegetarian.

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=Traditional Cooking School Instant Pot Sourdough Cornbread Pressure Cooker Recipe

My dear friend Wardee at Traditional Cooking School can do just about anything with her Instant Pot – cakes, bread, main dishes, veggies, even “stacking” multiple kinds of food at once!

She’s offering a free sourdough cornbread Instant Pot recipe!

This cornbread is delicious, nutritious, super easy to make, and it only needs 12 minutes of cook time.

Pin it!

One Pot Italian Lenti Dinner Recipe

But…Isn’t Pressure Cooking Unhealthy?

As much as I pride myself on trying to follow the research and not be taken in by one-source wonders, I admit that over the years I haven’t been able to re-do every piece of research I read. When I first read Nourishing Traditions, I remember that pressure cooking was damned, and that stayed in my head. My stovetop pressure cooker was never used again.

Then I started reading of a shift, first from Food Renegade in this post with very convincing evidence. Most recently Wellness Mama, another trusted source for me, posted about the science behind pressure cooking. And finally my Instant Pot came out of its box…much to our breakfast delight!

I wasn’t surprised that a couple readers asked this question on the steel cut oats recipe, since it became a pretty pervasive thought among those who read NT. I think the other gals did a great job covering the various angles of “hey this is not traditional!” and “won’t you lose nutrients cooking at high pressure?” I highly recommend reading their posts if you’re feeling unsure.

Cooking Real Food With an Instant Pot

More goodness in the Instant Pot series here at KS, including:

Have you succumbed to the popularity of the Instant Pot yet? Did you ever do pressure cooking old-school on the stovetop?


Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

About The Author

13 thoughts on “Instant Pot Italian Lentil Dinner (Gluten-Free, One-Pot Meal!)”

  1. Jamillah Lopez

    I love this recipe and want to try it for some guest I have coming in a few days for dinner. I have a question. Do I have to cook the chicken in the oven first? Is there a way to make this all at once or at least cook the chicken separately in the InstaPot. I live in a very hot and tropical environment and love to not use my oven if at all possible, plus my time is very very limited. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jamillah,
      The IP is awesome for a whole chicken! Just put some water around it, onions and carrots and celery if you want to make broth, and set it to 30-45 minutes. It will fall off the bone and you’ve got your chicken and broth for the recipe – I’d make it right away and not even wash the pot! 🙂 Katie

  2. Thanks so much for answering my question about the health aspect of pressure cooking! I think I’m going to take the plunge!

  3. I am seriously tempted to get an Instant Pot. On work days I use my slow cooker frequently so that dinner is ready when everyone gets home HUNGRY. However am I right that even though you can set a timer to start cooking in the IP, the food would be sitting out at room temperature for most of the day? (Because cooking time is so short?). And even though a recipe like this only cooks for 15 minutes, it takes a bit longer for the machine to get up to pressure, right? What’s the total time? I’m wondering if I could have the insert in the fridge and start everything as I came home or if that would take too long (family goes crazy because they are “starving”). Sorry if these are silly questions.

    1. Not silly at all, Rachel! I talked a little bit about the timing in this new post because yes, it DOES take time to get up to pressure (10-20 minutes depending on how much is in there) and some recipes require another 10-20 minutes on the end for a natural pressure release. For this recipe in particular, the total time once the pot is on is about 35 minutes. You could do the insert in the fridge and then start it when you get home but it’s still not as good as a slow cooker for that particular need, the “must eat the second we walk in” thing. 😉 The food would be at room temp too long IMO to set the time for a whole work day. (This recipe can go in the slow cooker too though, and the IP also has a slow cook function.) What you might like is if you have some meat in the slow cooker, you could have rice on the time delay in the IP, or something like potatoes, to go with the meat. Hope that helps! 🙂 Katie

    1. Yes, absolutely Sharon! I’ve seen some say that the IP usually needs 5 minutes more time than a stovetop cooker, but since this is so quick anyway it might not be an issue at all. You’d just want to make sure you didn’t risk burning the bottom as the heat is on, you know? But it should work fine! 🙂 Katie

  4. I live at a higher altitude and could never cook chickpeas. They were always crunchy, no matter how many hours I tried to cook them. Stovetop or slow cooker, it didn’t matter. I got (myself) an IP for Christmas, and at least I can cook my own chickpeas instead of using canned.

    Cooking faster preserves nutrients. Cooking grains and beans more thoroughly (like my crunchy chickpeas) means they are easier for our bodies to digest. No more kidney bean toxin.

    I surely love my IP. Throw beans in before work with the timer on, so they can soak all day and then are perfectly cooked when I get home… brilliant!

  5. I love this! Definitely trying it soon. I’ve had lentil tacos and they’re amazing!

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