Combine water, lentils, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes. Drain lentils in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.
Combine lentils and diced onion in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish. Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, reserved cooking liquid, ketchup, and the remaining ingredients. Pour the ketchup mixture over the lentil mixture, stirring to combine. Bake at 350° for 1 hour.
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This was pretty darn good. I made this as a gluten-free side dish for a picnic. As other reviewers stated, I would halve the recipe; it makes a lot of lentils. I also substituted molasses for the maple syrup for a more authentic BBQ sauce. This is a keeper.
My husband loves this recipe, but with the following changes: I halve it or else we'll be eating it for weeks. I still use the full cup of onion. I don't cook the lentils so long in the boiling step---they end up mushy. Stop simmering them while they're still firm. Also, I've made this with French lentils and regular brown lentils, and we liked both versions.
When the lentils are mixed with all the spices and in the pan to be baked, taste them and correct seasonings. I usually serve this with Spicy Chicken Thighs and a salad.