If you like BBQ sauce, I think you will love this recipe! These Sweet and Smoky BBQ Lentils would be great on a sandwich bun (topped with vegan coleslaw perhaps!), in a pita, as a dip with corn chips, over polenta or over baked potatoes (which is how we ate them!). I’m not even sure how I came up with this BBQ sauce recipe. I just started throwing things together that sounded good. And I didn’t want to use ketchup, which most homemade BBQ sauces use. I also didn’t have any fresh tomatoes, so I decided to improvise with carrots. Might sound strange, but the carrots gave this sauce a wonderful sweetness and creaminess.

Sweet and Smoky BBQ Lentils [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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  • 1 cup brown or green lentils
  • 5 cups water

BBQ Sauce:

  • 2 carrots, peeled and rough chopped
  • ½ large sweet onion, peeled and rough chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Enough water to cover veggies in pot
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard powder
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • ⅛ tsp dried ginger powder
  • ⅛ tsp clove


  1. Add lentils and water to pot. Simmer about 25 minutes until tender, but not mushy. Check them often and make sure to take them off heat and drain as soon as they are tender. Pour back into the pot and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in another pot, add carrots, onion and garlic, cover with water by an inch or two and simmer until tender...about 15-20 minutes. (It may take a few minutes less or more depending on how small or large you cut the veggies).
  3. When veggies are tender, drain and add to high speed blender along with vinegar, molasses, maple syrup, mustard powder, liquid smoke, chili powder, ginger and clove. Puree until smooth.
  4. Pour puree over the cooked lentils and stir to combine.
  5. If your sauce is too thin, simmer the lentils in the sauce uncovered for a few minutes to thicken up. Or, alternately, if your sauce is too thick, you can add a tbsp or two of water and mix. Mine was perfect as is.
  6. Enjoy!

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