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Instant Pot Cider-braised Lentils with Apple-Radish Pickles

We are focused on raising adventurous eaters in our home—one of our favorite ingredients to play around with; lentils.

Proud Mama moment. My eight-year-old twins made their own lunch today utilizing yummy leftovers from dinner last night. They wanted to eat healthy food. Their lunch included greens dressed with a simple honey-mustard vinaigrette topped with these cider-braised lentils with apple-radish pickles. They added a chopped-up dill pickle for kicks too. 

You never know how your kids will respond to new recipes you try. I made this for the first time yesterday, and simply converted the recipe I found from Milk Street to work in an Instant Pot. It turned out so well, we all agree this dish will be added to our regular rotation of meal plans.


4 tbsp Butter, divided

4 large shallots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 sprigs fresh thyme plus 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

1 cup apple cider

1 tbsp plus 2 tsp whole-grain mustard

Kosher salt & black pepper

1 ½ cups French green lentils, rinsed and drained

3 tbsp Apple cider vinegar

8 small radish, sliced thin (about one cup)

1 granny smith apple, cored and cut into ½” pieces

Garnish with fresh goat cheese


Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté over regular heat. Melt 3 Tbsp butter and allow to brown slightly. Add ¾ of the shallots, and cook, stirring often until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme sprigs and cook until it smells incredible, about one minute.

Stir in the cider, mustard, 2 ½ tsp salt, and ¾ tsp pepper. Continue to cook on the Sauté function for about 6 minutes until the liquid has almost entirely reduced. Now add 3 ½ cups of water and the lentils.

Change the Instant Pot to High-Pressure setting for 10 minutes and ensure the lid is secure and the pressure release valve is closed. Once the ten-minute cook time has passed, it will naturally release pressure for 10-15 minutes. Then quick release the pressure.

While the lentils cook, combine 2 Tbsp vinegar and 2 tsp salt in a quart-sized mason jar or bowl. Stir to dissolve the salt. Add the radishes, apple, and remaining shallot. Twist on a lid and mix the mixture.

When the lentils are finished, season to taste, remove the thyme stems, and stir in the remaining 1 tbsp butter, chopped thyme, and 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar. Serve topped with the apple-radish quick pickle and goat cheese. These lentils taste delicious with Salmon and Roasted Herbed Acorn Squash or on top of a fresh green salad.

Carilyn Mae

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