Vegan Barbecue Lentils

Sweet, smoky, and hearty vegan barbecue lentils. One of our favorite dinners with an amazingly easy homemade barbecue sauce! 

Is there anything about yourself you absolutely love? I hope you can think of at least one thing.

So often we’re all hyper focused on our imperfections, things we don’t like about ourselves, or that need improved. Trust, I’m all about setting goals and always improving – but it’s about balance. I’m trying to more consciously acknowledge and appreciate the things I love about myself, balancing that with things I’m always trying to change and new things I want to achieve. We all deserve a lil more love, don’t you agree?! Because maybe if we were more self-loving, the world would be a little more loving in general.

For me, it’s my hair. I’ve always kept it really, really long – well other than my infamous bowl cuts as a small child. Guarantee people didn’t know my gender, but that’s beside the point. And I was pretty darn cute if I do say so myself! So thanks, mom.

Sophomore year of college I decided to cut my hair and donate it to Locks of Love. Aside from the good cause of being able to donate, it was literally a traumatic experience. Picture me bawling my eyes out while the poor stylist doing it is wanting to evaporate into thin air away from me. Drama queen alert! Anyway, I left with much shorter hair, around my collarbones. Definitely a big difference, and I cried and cried and vowed to learn from my mistake and never cut it again as long as I lived (did I mention it was all quite dramatic?).

Fortunately for me, my hair grows very quickly, and before too long (like, less than 2 years) it was already as long as it had been before. Fast forward 5 years later, and here we are again! I had told myself for months before the wedding I wanted to get it cut after…because obvi I had to have it long for when I got married/pictures, yada yada yada. So wedding passes, and I’m back to wanting a change.

Last week I finally bit the bullet and went. It was perfect and I loved it and rode out of the salon on a unicorn, leaving a trail of rainbow glitter behind!


Ha. I wish.

There were tears, but not as many. It was mostly right after I left, when I got in the car, so nobody saw at least (baby steps). I’m not obsessed with it by any means, and relatively speaking it’s still long, unlike last time. It looks fresh and much healthier, and while I will always love the way my hair looks long, I do think change is good sometimes, even if at first it’s uncomfortable. And of course, my amazingly sweet, genuine husband said exactly the right thing when I was sobbing that evening before going to bed. “You are not defined by your hair. But I love it. You look so beautiful.”

It stopped the tears in their tracks. I loved my long hair, but it’s not who I am. Having shorter hair doesn’t make me ugly, or any less of a unique person, even if I don’t feel as beautiful. It’s easy to get caught up in appearance and aesthetics, but what I really should be concerned with is how my internal qualities are improving the world and helping those around me. So whatever you love about yourself, embrace it, appreciate the heck out of it, but don’t let it define you.  No one quality makes you, you. Because there are SO many things about each of us that are so unique and wonderful and amazing.

Well that escalated quickly. Heavy, intensely dramatic hair stories on a Monday!! Now you deserve a bomb recipe, and luckily I’ve got one that’s soooo incredible. Summery, perfect for any last cookouts/gatherings, savory, hearty, sweet and spicy, vegan barbecue lentils!

Barbecue Lentils 2

As you may already know, lentils are one of our favorite meals. We have them at least 2-3 times a week for dinner, because they’re easy, filling, and have such great earthy flavor.

Lentils are super high in fiber, folate, and magnesium, all of which are great for heart health. The fiber helps with digestion, and they’re high in protein and have basically no fat. I love that they’re so satisfying while still being pretty low calorie. Legume love<3

Today, we’re making barbecue sauce to go on top! I’m a sauce person, and if you’ve eaten with me you know I MUST have some sort of condiment/sauce with my food. When I was little it was  always a sweet barbecue sauce, so that’s what we’re going for today.

Barbecue Lentils 1

All you have to do is cook up the lentils until they’re nice and thick. Set them aside to cool, and make your barbecue sauce/sides! Lately we’ve been loving charred corn and asparagus because it’s summertime, but lentils really go great with anything. For the sauce, we mixed a small can of tomato paste, some apple cider vinegar, water to thin it out, fresh garlic, and spices to taste. Easy peasy!

THE SAUCE. It is so good, and I don’t take my condiment business lightly! This dish is great to take with you anywhere, because it still tastes great (maybe even better?!) cooled off or at room temperature. That’s always better than straight off the stove in this crazy summer heat, amiriiiiight?!

These vegan barbecue lentils are smoky, savory and sweet. The lentils are thick and hearty and the perfect canvas for that sweet sauce. Pair them with some summery sides and you’ve got a perfect, healthy dinner!

Barbecue Lentils 3

If you try this recipe, let me know how it goes/what you think! Take a picture and tag me @beamingbanana on Instagram. Happy baking!

Vegan Barbecue Lentils

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 2 bowls


  • Lentils
  • 1 1/2 c dry green lentils
  • 3 1/2 c water
  • Sauce:
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4-1 c water
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Smoked paprika, pepper, stevia, red pepper flakes, to taste


  1. Cook lentils in 3 1/2 c water - bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the water is absorbed - ours usually take about 30-40 minutes.
  2. To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients into a pot and cook on medium low heat for about 15 minutes, until the sauce is warmed through.
  3. Top lentils with the barbecue sauce and serve with a side of cauliflower rice, coleslaw, etc.!

Barbecue Lentils Pin