Camper Cooking: Instant Pot Moroccan Lentil Stew (Vegetarian, Vegan Option)

I love to cook and bake, but I’ve not done a lot of camper/camp cooking. Shane and I backpack, and we rarely bring a camp stove or food to prepare. So full-time camper living has thrust me into new territory, literally and figuratively. πŸ™‚

Firstly, I had to downsize. I left most of my bakeware and cookware back home, as well as appliances such as my professional Kitchenaid stand mixer. Space is limited, and the convection microwave oven is small itself. If I bake, I’m restricted to mini pans. Thankfully I have those and packed every single one. πŸ™‚

That said, I brought my bulky Instant Pot. Why? It runs off electricity (off-grid with solar power or hooked into campground) instead of the propane that fuels the stove. Considering water vapor is a byproduct of burning propane, we want to minimize the use, especially during the winter when we’re trying to keep humidity down.

Therefore, I’m converting my stovetop recipes to make in the Instant Pot. One of my favorite winter recipes I have created is what I call Moroccan Lentil Stew, and I made it in the Instant Pot for the first time!

Is this dish really Moroccan? In theory perhaps. I don’t know if Moroccans have made something like this at home, but I like to think they do. Harira is an authentic Moroccan soup made with lentils, chickpeas, and tomato. My stew has lentils and tomatoes but no chickpeas because Shane’s not a fan of them. I ❀ chickpeas, but I ❀ Shane too. Cooking for him is an easy way to show love, so I’ll sacrifice the chickpeas for him. That’s love.

My stew also incorporates traditional spices found in Moroccan cuisine: Cumin, ginger, paprika, cayenne pepper,and mint. I could add saffron as well, but the stew is flavorful without the most expensive spice in the world. Saffron is made of real gold I think. πŸ˜‰

You could be more scientific with your spice measurements than I am. I simply scoop out a teaspoon or two of each. πŸ˜› None of that half teaspoon. It’s all or nothing in my kitchen. πŸ™‚

If Shane wasn’t sharing this dish, I would add a ton of cayenne pepper. My preferred spice level is “volcano”. You may want more or less. Shane has normal people taste buds though, and I must limit it to 1 measly teaspoon. Because I ❀ him and am not trying to kill him.

I think the Moroccan Lentil Stew is easy to prepare. For those with diet concerns, it’s vegan unless you serve it with feta cheese sprinkled on top. Shane doesn’t like feta cheese either. So he eats the vegan version.

The first step involves chopping your onion. It doesn’t matter if you chop half, a quarter, or a whole. It depends on how much you like onion. I only use a quarter to a third. You can decide how big the onion bits will be too. Cooking is all about your tastes!

In the Instant Pot, you’ll select the “saute” function. Measure out at least a tablespoon of olive oil and add to pot. Unless you’re like I am, then just pour to coat bottom because “good fats!” Saute your onions until soft and golden. If they’re brown, you’ve caramelized them, but it won’t affect your dish. πŸ™‚

I like to add my spices after sauteing and mix with onions for 10 seconds. The onions soak up the spices. Greedy ogres. Ogres are like onions, if you recall.

Next dump in the can of lentils and tomatoes.

I’m a fan of organic foods and fire roasted tomatoes. You can choose whatever you prefer: roasted, not roasted, diced, crushed, stewed, not canned. πŸ™‚ I can’t wait until I have a garden to grow my own vegetables. πŸ™‚

Stir the pot. I pour in at least a cup of water as I want it more liquidy. Not enough to make it soupy though. Then I throw in a bunch of spinach.

Yes, our spinach was frozen. We had it outside in the cooler because the Giant Eagle only had the large tub of spinach, which doesn’t fit in our camper refrigerator. Everything froze, including our water pipes.

Now the easy part of cooking. Close the lid on the Instant Pot, set it to “stew”, and for 10-15 minutes. Not the 20 minutes I set. I stopped the cooking before the timer because all the hissing. My Instant Pot was really steamed. Lol

I hope you’ll enjoy my Moroccan Lentil Stew!


  1. 1-2 Tbs olive oil
  2. Chopped onion
  3. Spices: cayenne (red) pepper, cumin, garlic, ginger, mint, and salt. Recommended tsp each.
  4. Can of brown lentils
  5. Can of diced tomatoes
  6. Fresh spinach (2-3 cups, handfuls, however much green you want)
  7. 1-2 C water or broth
  8. Optional: feta cheese to top

Serve in bowls with naan or focaccia bread.

3 thoughts on “Camper Cooking: Instant Pot Moroccan Lentil Stew (Vegetarian, Vegan Option)

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