This healthy and nutritious Instant Pot lentil soup is low in calories, full of veggies and high in fibre. It’s tasty, simple to make and is vegan-friendly and gluten-free.
This gorgeous Instant Pot lentil soup is a delicious and healthy meal full of plant-based protein, fibre and nutrients. We wanted to keep it super simple, vegan and gluten-free, however, you can add other ingredients and use this recipe as a template (see some variations below).
Lentils are a fantastic source of protein and nutrients, while low in calories and fat. 1 cup of uncooked lentils has 50 grams of protein (we’re using 1 1/5 cups in the soup, so you’re looking at 75 grams in the whole batch), 59 grams of fibre, plenty of iron, magnesium and B-vitamins. Lentils are not a complete protein, so vegetarian and vegan eaters should ideally have this soup with a side of bread, rice or pasta (grains + lentils = complete protein!). Read more about how nutritious lentils are here.
Instant Pot Lentil Soup Variations
This lentil soup recipe is a great template and you can add many different foods and ingredients to create a new variation of this dish. Here are some suggestions:
Plant-based additions: chopped sun-dried tomatoes for a more intense, tomato and umami flavour; dried porcini mushrooms for that unforgettable earthy flavor (you can obviously add fresh mushrooms too); stir in fresh spinach once the soup is cooked or add frozen spinach when cooking the soup; diced celery, zucchini, pumpkin/squash or leeks will work well in the soup. Fried shallots make a fantastic topping for this soup.
Vegetarian additions: stir in grated cheese or chopped hard-boiled egg when serving this soup; diced grilled halloumi soup or crumbled feta add a fantastic touch of saltiness and texture.
For omnivores: Add diced raw chicken when cooking the soup or shredded cooked poultry when serving; add chopped chorizo or sausage for a massive flavor boost when cooking the soup.
Which lentils to use?
In this soup recipe, we’re using dried yellow lentils but you can use green, brown or red lentils as well. You don’t need to soak the lentils for this particular recipe but do rinse them well before cooking. If you do want to pre-soak the lentils (for nutritional reasons), adjust the cooking time to 7 minutes.
Make Ahead & Freezer Tips
This is a great soup to make ahead as it freezes well and you can store it in the fridge for up to 5 days as it’s vegetarian. Another cool tip is to pre-chop all of the ingredients and add them together with lentils and seasoning to a Ziplock bag (except for the liquids). Then label the bag and freeze it for up to 3 months. Tip the frozen contents into the Instant Pot, add the liquids and set to cook (maybe add 1-2 extra minutes to the cooking time).
This healthy and nutritious Instant Pot lentil soup is low in calories and high in fibre. It’s tasty, super simple to make and is vegan-friendly and gluten-free.
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 large carrot, diced into cubes or into thin strips
1 large red bell pepper, diced into small cubes
1 long red chilli (jalapeño), seeds out and finely diced
1 1/2 cups dried yellow lentils, rinsed and drained (you can use other lentils too)
1 tin (14 oz / 400 g) crushed or diced tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, finely diced or grated
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or oregano)
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt (see notes)
1 teaspoon cumin powder
Juice of 1/2 lemon
To serve: fresh cilantro (coriander) or parsley and an option of Greek yoghurt, sour cream or dairy-free yoghurt and grated cheese.
Turn the Instant Pot. Add all of the ingredients and stir through.
Close the lid and point the pressure vent to Sealing. Set to Manual, HIGH pressure and adjust the time to 12 minutes. The Instant Pot will take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure and the countdown from 12 minutes will begin.
Once the timer stops, allow the pressure to release naturally for about 5 minutes and then use the quick release method to let off the rest of the steam (carefully point the top pressure valve to Venting and step away).
Open the lid and stir in the juice of half a lemon (about 2 tablespoons). Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as you please. Serve as is or feel free to stir in a dollop of yoghurt or sour cream and top with some grated cheese. Fresh cilantro on top is lovely.
If using low-sodium vegetable stock, add 1 teaspoon of salt to the broth. Otherwise, only add 1/2 a teaspoon and then taste for salt once the soup is cooked.
We used yellow lentils but you can use any coloured lentils in this soup.