Barbecue Baked Lentils (Small Batch, Vegan)

by Dorothy Reinhold on June 20, 2020

Print This Post Print This Post Barbecue Baked Lentils are what bbq baked beans want to be -- elegant, sweet, complex and just a little bit fancy. They're vegan and small-batch, too!

Barbecue Baked Lentils are what bbq baked beans want to be — elegant, sweet and complex and just a little bit fancy.

Baked beans were a staple in our family home, probably for a few reasons. They’re relatively cheap (4 kids in my family!), everyone liked them (they’re sweet!), and they fit right in with my family’s Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. So I’ve always loved them, and when they’re left over, I even eat them for breakfast.  Shhh…don’t tell the food police.

But I don’t need a huge batch o’ beans these days, with only 1 kid left in my own nest. So when a craving hit, I turned to one of my favorite healthy convenience foods — packaged steamed lentils. They’re so handy when you want to construct a dinner bowl, make a little substantial salad, create a bed for your piece of grilled fish, or, it turns out, make next-level baked beans…err…baked lentils. 

I might like these baked lentils even better than baked beans. Try them; they’re really easy, comforting and satisfying.

How to make Barbecue Baked Lentils

Ingredients for Barbecue Baked Lentils on a white marble counter on ShockinglyDelicious.com1. Assemble your ingredients. Although there are a few aromatics and a number of spices in this recipe, the whole thing is very fast and easy, so don’t be daunted.

Chopped onion sauteeing in a skillet on ShockinglyDelicious.com2. All good recipes start with “chop an onion.” So get to it, and then saute the onion in your skillet.

Steamed lentils and other ingredients go into the skillet3. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, and let it cook for just a couple of minutes so everything gets nice and comfortable, and then…

Barbecue Baked Lentils in a skillet on the stove4. Voila! You’re done!

How to use Barbecue Baked Lentils

Barbecue Baked Lentils with grilled hot dog in a white bowl1. Eat with grilled hot dogs or grilled sausage, as in hot dogs and beans. Get a vegan hot dog if you want to keep the whole meal vegan or vegetarian, since the lentils are vegan. I show the Barbecue Baked Lentils here with toast made from raisin pecan bread. You could smear the lentils on the toast, or not, as you like. Or put the hot dog in a bun and spoon the lentils on top, for a baked lentil dog!

Barbecue Baked Lentils with a grilled hot dog and 3 spears Romaine lettuce in a white bowl2. Substitute lettuce wrap for the toast, for a lower-carb version. Slice the hot dog lengthwise, and put a strip of hot dog and some lentils along the spine of the lettuce leaf, roll up and eat!

3. You could roll the lentils up in a tortilla.

4. Eat them alongside a piece of grilled or roast chicken or some roast beef.

Barbecue Baked Lentils

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 2-3

Barbecue Baked Lentils

Barbecue Baked Lentils are what bbq baked beans want to be -- elegant, sweet and complex and just a little bit fancy.


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (or 1/2 a large onion)
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 (9-ounce) package steamed lentils
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 scant tablespoon maple syrup (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or use regular paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (I used ancho chili powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Black pepper -- a few grinds from the pepper grinder
  • Garnish: chopped chives or scallions (if you remember!)


  1. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and stir to coat. Saute for 7-10 minutes, until onion begins to caramelize, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook and stir for another minute or 2. You'll smell the garlic!
  2. While onion is cooking, remove lentils from package, place in a colander with tight mesh or holes, and rinse. Allow to drain in sink.
  3. When onion-garlic mixture is cooked, add lentils to the skillet. Add ketchup, maple syrup, molasses, paprika, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon and pepper, and stir to combine. Add a tablespoon or 2 of water if mixture seems dry. Allow to cook on low-medium heat for 5 or so minutes. Stir occasionally, adding another tablespoon or 2 of water if mixture seems dry due to evaporation.
  4. Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with snipped chives or chopped scallions (green onions), if you remember. I didn't!
  5. Serves 2-3.


Recipe source: I saw a recipe for Barbecue Baked Lentils in the Washington Post newspaper, and theirs was adapted from "Simply Laura Lea," by Laura Lea (Blue Hills Press, 2020). I adapted it even further. Put YOUR own tweaks on it when you make it!

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Barbecue Baked Lentils recipe photo collage on ShockinglyDelicious.comAnother favorite lentil recipe

Tuscan Baked Eggs on Lentils on Shockingly Delicious

Tuscan Baked Eggs on Lentils

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Shirley June 21, 2020 at 7:11 pm

I’ve never heard of steamed lentils. Since lentils take so little time to cook (and cooked lentils freeze very nicely in recipe sized amounts) I probably won’t go looking for steamed lentils. Actually, since I’m not leaving the house these days, Hubby who has to be out for work does the grocery shopping. He can’t find sushi rice, Greek yogurt, or the right paper towels. Not gonna even try him on steamed lentils.
So any suggestions for making this with dried lentils? What type would be best and should they be cooked just ’til soft, or cooked to falling apartness? Thanks


Dorothy Reinhold June 21, 2020 at 10:59 pm

I think you should cook them until they are just done, not mushy. The additional cooking done in this recipe is just to combine the other ingredients and marry them all up. An alternative idea is to look up that recipe from the cookbook. I believe she calls for dried lentils to start. I tweaked it because even though they are relatively fast to cook, sometimes that extra step is just too much. You can find the original recipe on the Washington Post site. (See the recipe credit in the recipe card.) Many stores carry steamed lentils in the produce section, in a package like shown. There are several different brands now, just FYI. Cheers!


Shirley June 22, 2020 at 8:22 am

I never would have thought of looking in the produce section!
But as long as Hubby is doing the shopping, I’ll stick to cooking my own from the stash of dried lentils. I’m going to make a big pot of lentil in the slowcooker. It looks like that 9oz pack of Melissa’s has about 1 1/4 cups in it.
Thanks again!


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