Vegan Instant Pot Lentil Soup



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This vegan lentil soup in the instant pot has it all. A culinary unicorn? In around 30 minutes, you can have a comforting, rich & hearty soup that is as easy to prepare as it is good for you!

  • Fast: From the prep to the garnish, this recipe can be done and ready to eat in just around 30 minutes.
  • Easy: All but 1 ingredient just gets tossed in the pot. Could not be simpler!
  • Healthy: You won’t believe it, but a cup of this vegan instant pot lentil soup is only 180 calories, with 1.4 grams of fat and an impressive 12.8 grams of protein! This makes it a great meatless option.
  • Delicious: Rich lentils, warm garlic, fresh herbs, and savory vegetable broth combine to make a rich and comforting lentil soup that will be hearty and filling.

Gather ingredients before you start

Fancy chefs call it ‘mise en place‘, which essentially means ‘everything in its place’. It refers to the process of gathering, measuring and prepping all of your ingredients before you start cooking. I find two big benefits to this:

  • Calm – I want my kitchen to be calm and joyful, so racing around trying to find ingredients while I’m cooking isn’t really my thing. Gathering everything ahead of time means I can easily work my way through the recipe!
  • Accuracy – The process of prepping everything forcers me to read the full recipe, start to finish, before I begin cooking. This way, if something confuses me or I need to make any substitutions, I can do it ahead of time!

TIP: If you cook a lot, invest in some inexpensive bowls to use for prepping & organizing your ingredients. I have a set of plastic cereal bowls that I keep close by. They are quick & easy to wash, and you won’t have to dirty all your actual dishes.

Prep the veggies

Chop up the onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Try to keep everything around ½” pieces. (Except the garlic, of course – mince that!)

Lentil Inspection!

It’s always a good idea to give your lentils a once-over before you get started. Pretty much any brand of packaged or bulk lentils will contain the occasional pebble or twig. I just pour them out onto a sheet pan or large plate and give them a good inspection!

Herbs & Spices

If I’m going to be adding them at the same time, I like to put my herbs and spices into one bowl.

It is really this easy!

It’s time to get out your instant pot! (I use a 6-Quart DUO) For this vegan instant pot lentil soup, you can literally dump all but one ingredient into the pot! (Your kale – or spinach – goes in at the end!)

Place the lentils, veggies, herbs, spices and broth into the instant pot and give everything a good stir to combine.

Get with the program

Secure the lid and be sure that the release valve is set to SEALING. Set the instant pot to MANUAL at HIGH PRESSURE, and set the time to 18 minutes. Be aware that the cooking time on an instant pot doesn’t begin until the pot reaches full pressure. That usually adds a few minutes to the total recipe time.

QUICK release vs NATURAL release

In instant pot parlance, you’ll see these two types of steam releases. Note that the lid will not release until the pressure has been released (yay safety!). A QUICK release means that you are flipping the valve from SEALING to VENTING as soon as the cooking time is over. A NATURAL release means that you do nothing! After the cooking time runs out, you simply wait for the pressure to release slowly. Depending on the quantity of liquid inside, this can take anywhere from 10-25 minutes.

QUICK RELEASE your lentil soup!

For this recipe, you will want to do a quick release. When this happens, there will be a large rush of HOT steam, so be careful! I recommend using a long wooden spoon to flip the valve from SEALING to VENTING. That way you can keep your hands & face away from the rush of steam. I also like to lay a folded kitchen towel over the valve so that the steam doesn’t wet down the cabinets, walls, or my glasses!

Almost there!

Once all of the steam has released, you will be able to remove the lid from the instant pot. Give it a stir and add the kale (or spinach) to the soup. Allow a few minutes for it to wilt down – it will happen fast! At this point, you should taste for salt & pepper levels and add if needed.

I like to garnish simply with a wedge of lemon and a bit of parsley. If you’re not eating vegan, you could also sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top!

Check out these other VEGAN recipes from Food By Joe:


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