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Marinara Sauce with Red Lentils served over zoodles with one bite on a fork over the plate
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5 from 2 votes

Marinara Sauce with Red Lentils (Instant Pot)

This easy vegan marinara sauce with red lentils is gluten-free and has a rich, deep flavor thanks to the Instant Pot. It's a great alternative to a meat-based sauce!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time23 mins
Pressure Up/Down34 mins
Total Time1 hr 12 mins
Course: Pasta, Sauces & Condiments
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Diabetic
Keyword: marinara sauce, pasta sauce, vegan marinara
Servings: 12
Calories: 84kcal
Author: Diabetic Foodie


  • ½ cup red lentils
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 1 small green bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 cup low-sodium store-bought vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 14.5 ounces diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • Pick over the lentils, removing any shriveled pieces or stones, and rinse in a fine-mesh strainer. Drain well.
  • Set the electric pressure cooker to the Sauté setting. When the pot is hot, pour in the avocado oil.
  • Add the onion and green pepper to the pot and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften. Hit Cancel on the control panel once the vegetables are ready.
  • Add the broth to the pot and scrape up any brown bits. Stir in the tomato paste.
  • Add the lentils, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes with their juices, bay leaf, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and brown sugar. Stir well.
  • Close and lock the lid. Make sure the pressure valve is set to “Sealing.”
  • Cook the sauce on high pressure for 13 minutes.
  • When the cooking is complete, hit Cancel. Allow the pressure to release naturally.
  • Once the pin drops, unlock and remove the lid. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir well.


This recipe is for 12 servings of marinara.
If the sauce is too thin, you can either use an immersion blender to blend it to the desired consistency or turn the pot back to Sauté and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens.
Extra sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and should be eaten within 4-5 days.


Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 84kcal | Carbohydrates: 12.2g | Protein: 3.2g | Fat: 2.4g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1.7g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 225mg | Potassium: 514.9mg | Fiber: 3.4g | Sugar: 5.4g | Net carbs: 8.8g