I met a new coworker a few weeks ago – her name is Jelena. She’s in charge of making sure that I don’t screw up, so you’d think that we wouldn’t be friends. But just a few minutes into our first conversation, I realized that it is just the opposite. Imagine the personality of a typical auditor, and then reverse it, and that’s Jelena. Ok, it’s not that simple, but the basic gist is that she’s hilarious and I’m only scared of her a little bit. Plus, she makes homemade rye bread and she brought me a loaf last week AND a starter so I can make my own. SCORE!
Of course, with bread, you must have soup. So here is my go-to lentil soup, made quick and easy in the pressure cooker.
Beth, I don’t have a pressure cooker. Those things are terrifying. My grandma used to scare the pants off of us every time she used one.
Don’t worry. While I’m going to try my darndest to convince you that a pressure cooker is an Appliance You Need, I’ll give stovetop instructions too. Do you feel better now? Good. Let’s move on. This soup is ridiculously easy and only requires a few ingredients.
Personally, I find lentils beautiful. Don’t you?
Lentils And Spices
Red lentils break down and give the soup body, while the brown/green lentils stay intact, giving credibility to the fact that this is, indeed, lentil soup. Onions and garlic add flavor, while carrots, potatoes, and rainbow chard bulk it up and add extra nutrition. You can also add celery, but I didn’t have any. Not that Michael minded.
Oh, and spices. Let us not forget the terrific trio of salt, cumin, and smoked paprika. Smoked paprika needs to be in your life if it isn’t already. I don’t mean to tell you what to do, but seriously, go get some and then come back and thank me.
Here is where it gets really exciting. This lentil soup cooks in 3 minutes. Say what? Ok, so technically it takes longer than 3 minutes because first you have to bring the pressure cooker “up to pressure”, or the point at which it does its magic, but once that happens, the Actual Cooking Time is 3 MINUTES. No joke. From cutting board to ladle in bowl, you can have lentil soup in 20 minutes. Of course, Michael is laughing right now because it took me at least an hour to make this soup, but that’s because I was taking photographs the whole time. You’re welcome.
Pressure Cooking Lentil Soup
I’m not going to get all technical on you and tell you all about how pressure cookers work. Because you would get bored, and because I don’t really know. I just know that they cook stuff quickly, and oftentimes better than with other methods, and I like that. A lot. I like it so much that I have two pressure cookers. One is a stovetop model, and it’s the one I cut my teeth on, so to speak. The other is my absolute new favorite appliance, and I got it for my birthday. (Thanks, M & D!) It is called the Instant Pot. Not only is it an electric pressure cooker, but it is also a rice cooker, steamer, slow cooker, stockpot, and YOGURT MAKER (the latest version). It also makes great julienned fries! Just kidding. I’ll share more about this wonder appliance in a later post, but just for fun I’ve included a picture so you can see how much functionality it has and how non-scary it looks
See? Totally safe. And clearly labeled. Ok, so the cooking part is about as simple as it gets. Saute, seal, and cook for 3 minutes. Easy peasy.
With pressure cookers, you have two options. Quick release and natural release. Quick release means you open a vent in the PC that lets steam out gradually until the pressure is released. Natural release means that the cooker cools on its own and the pressure comes down after a bit of a wait. With this soup, I don’t recommend a natural release because the soup will continue to cook while the pressure is released. And this will invariably mean mushy soup. No good. So, if you do make this in a pressure cooker, use the quick release method. Again, more about pressure cooking basics in an upcoming post, but this is an important detail for this soup.
Once the pressure cooker is safe to open, well, open it! Stir in the rainbow chard – the heat of the soup will immediately wilt the greens. Serve with bread, of course.
Oh, and in case you wondering, a dollop of sour cream took this soup over the top. And now to go make more.
Pressure Cooker Lentil Soup
- 1 cup red lentils (sorted and rinsed)
- 1 cup green/brown lentils (sorted and rinsed)
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 carrots (sliced into 1/4 pieces)
- 2 celery stalks (diced (optional))
- 1 pound waxy potatoes (such as Yukon Gold or Red Bliss (I used a blend that included purple potatoes))
- 1 bunch Rainbow Chard or similar greens (chopped, such as spinach)
- 8 cups water
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
Pressure Cooker Instructions
- Heat pressure cooker on medium heat, or set to Saute function if using an electric model, such as an Instant Pot.
- Saute onions, garlic, spices, carrots, celery, and potatoes for 3-5 minutes, or until onions begin to soften.
- Stir in the lentils to combine.
- Add water to cover.
- Lock the lid into place and bring to high pressure. Once at pressure, reduce heat to maintain pressure and cook for 3 minutes. If using an electric model, the pressure will be maintained automatically.
- Use the quick release method to release the pressure until it is safe to unlock the lid.
- Stir in the chard, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.
- In a large stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions, garlic, spices, carrots, celery, and potatoes over for 3-5 minutes, until the onions have softened.
- Stir in the lentils and water.
- Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but not mushy.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the chard.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
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Hannah Elizabeth says
This sounds so good, Beth, and like just the perfect thing for a drippy, dreary day (ha…like today…in JUNE??!)!!
Funny, pressure cookers never scared me, although being a pan-conservationist-Nazi (just ask my family), I always wondered how the upsides of a pressure cooker could *possibly* outweigh the extra cleanup. After watching you use yours and seeing what a life-saver it is, I am beginning to realize how it earns its place in the kitchen.
Thanks, Hannah! Here in the Pacific Northwest we have no shortage of soup days, do we? 🙂 Fine by me! In my opinion, the extra cleanup for a pressure cooker is nominal, especially for the functionality it offers. Maybe one day you’ll give it a hard-earned space in your kitchen! 🙂
Erin Jean says
You just planned my dinner. Thank you!
I may be finally leaning towards a pressure cooker now that I see there is one that can replace my ailing crock pot with additional functions and not take more space in my kitchen. I can’t stand a million kitchen appliances. Every now and then I seriously consider getting rid of it all and going back to basics. Now if only this Instant Pot made popcorn, waffles, stir fry, food processed things, microwaved food, blended food, made juice and perhaps did julienne fries. Then we’d really be talking. Also, no wonder I have no room in my kitchen! 😉
I love the pic of all the colorful lentils, potatoes and veggies. Mmmmm, gorgeous.
No problem! I’ll talk to the Instant Pot people about adding some new functions. Hey, maybe your yogurt will be done in time to go on the soup! 😉
Hannah Elizabeth says
I like your idea of the pressure cooker for crockpot swap, Erin! Also, I will whole-heartedly support the Instant Pot movement…I like it!! 😛
Thank you for starting your blog. Now that I have an Instant Pot, I am on the hunt for new recipes!! If you are looking for a new tasty recipe and something to do with leftover soup, take 6 cups of your lentil soup, 1 C of cornmeal, and 1 C veggie broth and mix it together. Put in a loaf pan and bake at 350 for an hour or until knife comes out clean. It is amazing with lentil soup and, even better, with pea soup.
Thank you, Christine! That leftover soup idea is genius! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
When you’ve done this, have you let the soup set until it thickens? It would seem too watery if done right away after cooking, yes?
Christine@ Apple of My Eye says
This looks absolutely delicious! In my opinion, there’s nothing better than a warm bowl of soup and slice of homemade bread :)! LOVE your lentil pictures as well- beautiful!
Thank you, Christine! I agree, soup + bread = get in mah belly. 🙂
Handmade by Lorna says
I really enjoy lentil soup, thank you for sharing your recipe.
Erin Jean says
This soup was delicious, especially on a rainy cold June day like today. I made the stove-top version and mixed in a spoonful of Real Deal Sour Cream. Everyone in the family loved it and had 2nd and 3rds. Served with a big loaf of whole wheat sourdough, yummy. 🙂
carmen ☮ (@CarmenVarner) says
All I have to say is “yummmmMmmm!” I make lentil soup. :] // itsCarmen.com ☼
Steph S. says
Made this today and it was great! Had much more flavor than I expected! Subbed in sweet potatoes and kale. Only had green lentils so doubled it. Three minutes in my 1970s stovetop pressure cooker was perfect! We will be making this often!
I’m so glad to hear it, Steph! This made my day. I love the sub of sweet potatoes and kale, yum! Also super excited that you’re rocking the 1970’s pressure cooker. 🙂
I’m making this tonight and I’m so excited about it!
I’m excited for you! Please keep me posted. 🙂
Hi Beth – are the spices measured in teaspoons or tablespoons?
Hi Erin! In my recipe formatting, I use T. for tablespoons and t. for teaspoons. I hope that helps! Feel free to bump up the spices to your taste preference. The smoked paprika is worth it! 🙂
Oh my!!! I used Tablespoon for “t” 😮
Turned out pretty good anyway going with the “T” instead of “t” and so I would repeat this as I made it 🙂
Brian Mullins says
Really nice to find not only an Instant Pot recipe that is so very yummy, but also a vegan oil free one! Thank you! My wife and I were really impressed with the flavor and will have it again!
Hi Beth. Tried out this recipe with a little Nigerian twist, more chilling, some fresh tomatoes, green peppers. Didn’t use the potatoes and red lentils though. We really don’t have lentils here, its black eyed peas (beans) we eat mostly. It’s so tasty. Yeah, with a pressure cooker!
Thanks for sharing this InstantPot recipe. I have an InstantPot – which I love. One button cooking hello! Hope to see more InstantPot recipes!
Hi Kimberly! I’m working on some more InstantPot recipes! Stay tuned. 🙂
Jennifer S. says
Beth, I made this soup today and it is a thing of beauty. Thank you so much for sharing it with everyone.
Jennifer, I am so glad you enjoyed it! I grinned from ear to ear when I read this comment, and have finally gotten my act together to let you know. Thank you so much for making it and telling me how it went! 🙂
just bought instant pot. Could you please explain the exact settings and time etc to use on my instant pot for this recipe? Im not sure how I can reduce heat etc.
C. King says
This was the first recipe I tried with my new instant pot. Absolutely delicious! I had a a couple of ounces of prosciutto on hand so I added that in the beginning and used chicken broth instead of water. Sprinkled grated Parmesan on before serving. Unbelievably good. Thank you!
I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it so much! Thanks for sharing! 🙂
Recipe was fantastic! Full of flavor. I did add a little more salt and a wee bit of chiptle seasoning. Thanks for sharing
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Tamara! I love the addition of chipotle seasoning – YUM! 🙂
Gloria Corfias says
I’ve just started using a pressure cooker-Wolfgang picks bistro cooker with a minute dial, so not as user friendly as one that has the food indicators. I’m going to do the lentil soup in a couple of days?. Looking forward to more recipes! Thank you
I’m not familiar with that type of model, how interesting! Any recipe requests? 🙂
Pat Betit says
Am going to make this soup is it 1C ofeach brown and green or is it just 1c of either thanks for any help
Hi Pat! It’s 1 cup of each brown and red, for a total of 2 cups. Sometimes people refer to brown lentils as green, because they do have kind of a greenish hue sometimes. Sorry for any confusion! If you only have one kind of lentils, feel free to use those for the full two cups. Hope that helps! 🙂
A little too much water for my taste and could use some more spices.
Thanks for sharing your feedback, Andrew! Soup is such a personal taste thing, I hope you’ll try it again with the right proportions for your tastebuds. 🙂
Definitely! I liked the simplicity and quickness of it. And it made quite a lot of soup. I think with a little tweaking I can get it dialed in just right for me. Thanks for the original recipe.
When my soup turns out too watery my mom showed me a trick—add in some instant potato flakes to thicken it up. I’ve rescued a few pots of soup this way!
Just made this in my instant pot. Had to sub kale for the chard and I did increase the salt and paprika to my taste. And added mushrooms since I had a few to use up. This is a delicious soup!
Those are great modifications, Tammie! I’m hungry for soup all of a sudden. Thanks so much for your feedback! 🙂
thanks for your recipe. For the instant pot version do you use the manual button or the bean/chili? I just got an IP and I am still not sure how to use it 🙂 thanks for your blog!
Hi Sandrine! I use the manual button on my IP. I haven’t experimented very much with the bean/chili button, as I’m most familiar with pressure cooking. I also use it to make non-dairy yogurt, but for that of course I use the Yogurt button. 🙂
My pleasure! I’d love to hear what you think of it. 🙂
It was delicious!!! I will probably double the proportion next time! I also add a little bit of lard to sauté the vegetables and few chunks of bacon. Very tasty!!! Thanks for the recipe 🙂
My pleasure! So glad you enjoyed it. 🙂
Hello Beth, I don’t even know how I came across your recipe, but I did, and I’m glad I did! I’ve never tried (or even thought to try) the salt, cumin, smoked paprika combo. I got them especially for this recipe.
Yum! I’ve never made a flavour like this! So, like you said, my taste buds and I are am coming back to thank you!! :o)
I have made many recipes I’ve found on the internet that I’ve been soo disappointed with, that have been very bland and lackluster, but this one is a keeper! It has a rich flavour that I think my vegetarian friends will appreciate too :0)
I wonder if my lentil-hating husband will even like it??
I doubled the recipe, and halved the water, (I chose to soak my brown lentils overnight first) and added sweet potato in too – it is very nice.
I am going to print this one out to keep in my recipe folder.
Thank you for a yummy, different, satisfying recipe.
I will check out your other ones now too :o)
PS I don’t even usually come back to review recipes but I wanted to say thanks, and I thought you should know you shared a good one here
:o) Have a great day!
I’m bowled over that you loved the soup so much to come back and leave a comment! That just made my day. And, that you went out and got the salt, cumin, and smoked paprika combo just for this recipe. I’m so excited! I have a question for you out of curiosity, do you soak the brown lentils for nutrition or some other reason? I have always heard that it’s not necessary to soak them, so my interest is piqued. 🙂 Oh, and the sweet potato addition is brilliant! I’m so glad you found me, however you did, and thanks again for your kind comment!
Hi Beth, well I should have said I specially got the Cumin, Celery and Lentils for this recipe, I had the salt and smoked paprika…
I think a lot of ppl say you don’t need to soak Lentils, especially when cooked in a pressure cooker as they go so soft so quick, altho I choose to pre-soak for health benefits. I remember doing a quick internet search, and came up with soaking for 7 hours is good. My lovely natropath friend said yes, just soak overnight is easiest (no timing needed). I don’t think it matters if you soak longer, just change the water if you do. I checked with my natropath friend – do we soak for cooking purposes only, or for nutritional purposes, and she said, yes, for nutritional purposes. I can’t remember the specifics of how soaking is beneficial. One quick site just then said it greatly aids digestion.
A quick chart I found:
Hello, My Friend!
I FINALLY broke out the pressure cooker and made this recipe last night. DELICIOUS!!
Jan and I both enjoyed it last night with a piece (or two) of cornbread. I am having it for lunch today, and probably for dinner again tonight!
The only tweaks I made were to use chicken stock in place of some (2 cups) of the water, and (surprise, surprise) stuck a smoked ham hock in there for good measure.
Thanks for the great recipe! This is a do-over for sure.
Beverley Phelan says
Well, I just made this soup in 3 mins and it was awesome! Wasn’t as thick as I intended so added a tin of creamed corn. Did the trick. I like the fact that each time I make soup, it is different, variety is the spice of life! I have a couple of spinach plants in my garden which have gone from normal, small spinach to large leaves similar to silver beet. Thought they would be too rank but perfect for this soup!
There are times when you simply don’t feel or want to eat meat/fish. I love a vegetarian meal and this is typical of one of those meals! I am inspired by this recipe to write up my dahl recipe. It is so warming, comforting and flavoursome and nutricious. I purchase the ready made nan bread and spoon the dahl into it and wrap!! Ahhhh on those cold nights when you want to relax with a good book or nice music! Thank you.
I found your recipe about two months ago right after I got my IP and have made it four times! My husband loves it. He generally waits until he is starving then eats junk. This is so easy to make and keep on hand. I use spinach and have added a little sesame oil. It also freezes well. Thank you for saving my husbands arteries!
This makes me so happy, Laura. You are more than welcome! Any other artery-saving IP recipe requests? 😉 I have an IP Marinara Sauce recipe coming this week. 🙂
Ned Kelly says
Is this ground cumin or whole cumin? I can’t seem to find SMOKED paprika in my area, guess no choice but to use regular paprika.
Hi Ned! It’s ground cumin, but I don’t see why you couldn’t use whole, you might just want to add a little more. How frustrating not be able to find the smoked paprika, I’ve been seeing it everywhere lately. Where do you live?
Made this soup today in InstaPot. It was delicious! Probably could cook a little bit longer.
Thanks, Bob! It’s so tough to set a specific time when it comes to cooking lentils and beans, as the age of the ingredients are a factor as is water hardness/softness, etc. I tend to err on the shorter cooking time because you can always cook it longer, but you can’t “un-mush” a mushy soup. 🙂
Yes, I agree. We made this recipe tonight and ended up having to cook it just one minute longer (which translates to 15 minutes with pressure & release)…. But it was worth it!
I added frozen chopped kale and spinach, and used only one teaspoon of cumin. Perfect!
I am recently plant based and my husband bought me a instant pot, which came today. First, I cooked up a big batch of brown rice and then searched for a recipe that I had ingredients on hand for. I would of never thought three minutes would be enough but this is great. It was a little runny for me so just added some Instant mash potatoes and voila! I’m the only herbivore in the house so this will be lunch and dinner for next four days. It’s a lot of soup for a little money.
Oh, Gina, being the only herbivore in your house has gotta be tough, good for you! I’m so excited that you tried this soup and enjoyed it. A note on the thickness factor, for some reason the red lentils in particular really thicken up in the fridge, so you might find it’s extra thick tomorrow with the potato flakes. I’m always ok with a thick soup especially if it’s got extra potatoes! 🙂 Isn’t it amazing that it only takes 3 minutes? I still can’t get over how awesome pressure cooking is.
Hi Beth, thanks for your recipe btw! I shared your recipe in the FB pressure cooker community that I’ve created, hope you don’t mind. It’s nice to see other bloggers treasure pressure cooker, I’ve been raving about this gem to others (but no one seems to believe me how great it is). If you have any more recipes, feel free to share it with us on the FB group and I can post it for others to see.
Have a lovely day!
What size instant pot ? I am single,have the 2.5 eltc cooker .looking recipes for 2.5 cooker
I have been making lentil soup for years in my crock pot but yesterday I made it for the first time in my Instant Pot. Your recipe gave me some great new ingredients to add like the smoked paprika and greens. I also like S&W Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles in my lentil soup.
I too have been considering retiring my crock pot since I got my Instant Pot a week ago. Good thing my crock pot doesn’t have feelings or they might be hurt.
Hi Tasha! So sorry for the delayed response, I took a bit of a break this summer and am playing catch-up now. I cracked up about you hurting your crock pot’s feelings. I’m glad you enjoyed the lentil soup! Long live the Instant Pot!
OMGoodness! This is awesome! I got my Instant Pot on Amazon Prime Day and have been searching for vegan recipes to make and trying out all sorts of new things. This is BY FAR the best recipe I have made in my instant pot to date. I will definitely be making this again…and again…and again. It isn’t easy to find dishes that my teen will enjoy as much as I do. Thanks so much for sharing.
Hi April! So sorry for the delayed response, I took a bit of a break this summer and am playing catch-up now. This comment made me so happy!!!! Thank you thank you thank you. I’m thrilled that you loved it so much!
This soup was a hit!! I am on a cleanse with my sister-in-law and husband. The only beans we’re allowed to eat are lentils. Up until yesterday, I was not a fan of lentils. As a child, I would eat on the pieces of sausage that I could find in the lentil soup.
I ate the whole bowl and wanted more!!
I made a slight modification of using zucchini instead of potatoes (since potatoes aren’t allowed in the cleanse). Very very yummy.
Great job Beth!!!
Hi Diane! So sorry for the delayed response, I took a bit of a break this summer and am playing catch-up now. Thanks so much for your wonderful comment! I’m thrilled that you loved the soup, and the zucchini sub for the potatoes sounds perfect!
David O'Neill says
Hi Beth, I really looking forward to trying your recipe and have a ham bough that I’d like to use. Should I cook this first and then use the stock and shredded meat in the soup or cook it all in one? Would I need to change the cooking times?
Hi David! So sorry for the delayed response, I took a bit of a break this summer and am playing catch-up now. I honestly don’t know about using the ham bone, we are meat-free around these parts. 🙂 That said, my friend Dana added the ham bone when he made the soup and didn’t change the cooking times, and he said it turned out great! Hope you’ll let me know if you give it a try. 🙂
David O'Neill says
I’d navigated directly to the site and only realised later that you were meat free so hope I didn’t cause offence
I was able to make the soup and it was delicious.
I’ve also been experimenting with vegetarian dishes as well which I’m really enjoying.
Hi David! No offense taken whatsoever. Everyone is welcome here regardless of their dietary preferences. 🙂 So glad you enjoyed the soup!!
Hi Beth. I made this but it turned out very bland. It had too much water. Are the 8 cups of water the measure in the instant pot after you put ingredients in or 8 cups of water per se? Thank you.
Hi Carolina! So sorry for the delayed response, I took a bit of a break this summer and am playing catch-up now. I’m so sorry you found it bland, that is the first time I have had anyone make it with that reaction. I measure the 8 cups of water with a measuring cup as opposed to the markings in the IP. I also season with salt to taste after cooking, and sometimes find that it needs a bit more. But otherwise I have found that the flavor is great as the recipe is written, and the other reviewers seem to agree (at least I hope they weren’t just saying they liked it!). 🙂
I’ve got two Instant Pot electric pressure cookers (since January 20014) and I cook from scratch with them constantly, all year long, and I’ve given 4 IP DUOs as gifts and influenced at least5 friends to buy one or more. So clearly I’m a huge Instant Pot fan. And I’ve been in the Instant Pot community group on Facebook since it had less than 2000 members (now it has 70,000+ members). With the rapidly increasing interest in electric pressure multicookers over the past few years, I’ve read about a LOT of newbies making some very unsafe decisions with their new pressure cookers and that worries me
Your recipe make an appropriate quantity for a 5-6 qt or larger pressure cooker, but just in case your readers are new to pressure cooking, have a smaller cooker or want to double tor triple the recipe, consider the following.
Pressure cookers do not work like slow cookers or stock pots on a stove, so they can’t be filled to the brim and expected to work properly/safely, yet I’m reading about new pressure cooker users all the time who do that then wonder why or complain the pressure cooker doesn’t work.
Pressure cooker newbies (any type of pressure cooker) need to read their owners manuals thoroughly and be very familiar with the warnings and recommended max/min rules for their cooker. The laws of physics will always win.
Foods that create foam, swell/expand, or have high sugar or starch content can behave a bit differently under pressure, so there are some pressure cooking principles that must be followed every time with these foods for the best results and safest operation of the pressure cooker.
For instance ALWAYS heed the universal pressure cooker rules about maximum recommended volumes for various types of food. If your cooker will hold 6 qts total volume, that doesn’t mean it’s ok to pressure cook almost 6 qts of food volume in it. Pressure cookers need “head space” to create steam in order to create pressure.
Lentils and dried beans are one of the types of starchy foods that may foam and/or xpand during cooking. Pressure cookers often recommend a maximum weight or volume of these ingredients, such as 1 pound or no more than half or 2/3 full full. Reduce the food quantity if the recipe makes a larger volume than your pressure cooker’s max safe volume for that food. Do NOT double a recipe if it will exceed your pressure cooker’s max safe volume for that food.
Ignoring safe level volume levels risks poor cooking results (cooker doesn’t seal or reach pressure) or unsafe conditions (hot food or liquid leaks or sprays). Serious injuries are possible and do occur, even with the ultra safe modern pressure cookers available today, and are usually due to user error from failure to read the manual and heed the safe max level for the type of food. Most electric pressure cookers do not currently have liner pan markings that conform to max safe pressure cooker food volumes (the markings are often more appropriate for slow cookers and rice cookers, from which many of the most popular brands evolved). Some manufacturers are working to update the markings on their liner pans to better reflect the max safe levels.
I don’t want to sound like doom and gloom because I LOVE cooking with pressure in my IPs (especially lentils), but I just know someone at some point will be tempted to double or triple the recipe instead of making separate batches.
So sorry for the delayed response to this thorough and helpful comment! I really appreciate you sharing your pressure cooking knowledge, Anna!
Hello there. Quick question – do the lentils need to be soaked prior to making the soup? If so, for how long?
Hi Jill! Nope, the lentils cook just fine without soaking. One of the reasons I love lentils so much is that they are one of the only legumes that don’t require soaking and they cook quickly! 🙂
Hi, Beth. This soup was amazing! I have an Instant Pot but chose to make the stove top version and it was just wonderful. I used a couple slices of bacon, crisped and crumbled, along with the veggies and spices to get things going, and I grilled a package of Premio chicken sausages to add some smokiness and in honor of my carnivores 😀 Quick, easy, amazing lentil soup -this one’s going in the books! Thanks for the killer recipe.
I’m so glad you enjoyed this so much, Lisa! 🙂
While trolling the net for something completely unrelated, I cam across this recipe – and your enthusiasm for the Instant Pot. I never heard of such a beast before but I had to have this soup NOW – and I wasnt’t going to wait to soak beans. I was on the phone with my local shop who had one in stock – picked it up and was enjoying lentil soup within the hour! I added a sweet potato instead of regular because I was out and I also added an apple and 1/2 tsp chili powder (I love the sweet & heat found in Moroccan cooking). I found that the bottom burned – I used the “soup” setting, not manual so perhaps it got too hot because the temperature cannot be manipulated once it starts. Am I correct that the manual setting can be adjusted once the pressure is brought up? Thanks so much for posting this recipe – and for introducing me to the IP – I have a feeling that this is an appliance that will be left on the counter (opposed to the dowzens of of other machinges that dominate my pantry shelves!)
Hi there! Well, I’m honored that my enthusiasm for the IP was persuasive enough to send you out into retail-land to buy one! Wow. 🙂 I don’t believe you can adjust the manual setting once started, but I’ve also never tried the Soup setting, honestly. I just set the manual setting to 3 minutes and then do a quick release. I haven’t ever heard of it burning, so sorry that happened to you! The IP is so amazing, but I will say that a lot of the instructions/cooking times in the manual just plain don’t work. Through trial and error (and IP Facebook groups, yes they are a thing), I am learning so much about how to use it well, and I’ll continue to share what I’m learning on the blog. For example, this Pressure Cooker Mexican Rice. 🙂
LAURA MAZEROLLE says
Thanks for your quick reply, Beth!
I learned within hours of making this soup that there are 3 models of the Instant pot and the one I purchased does not offer a flexible pressure button, thus, I think the reason why my lentils scorched (the Lux60 only has the single pressure option whereas the Lux-Duo has low and high pressure option)
Worth mentioning for sure, as the flexibility in pressure makes a huge difference especially when using high starch foods that burn easily under high heat/pressure.
I don’t usually read food blogs, and I never post comments, but I’m making an exception for this recipe! I just got an Instant Pot and did a quick search for some recipes. This showed up randomly, and I just happened to have carrots, celery, onions, arugula, and potatoes that I needed to use up (plus both kinds of lentils in my pantry) so I went for it! I went heavy on the cumin and smoked paprika, and added smoked sea salt (which I normally add to things I use smoked paprika in). I also added a spoonful of roasted chicken “better than bouillon” since I had an opened jar in the fridge. It cooked so quickly, is so simple, and SOOOO delicious. It’s been rainy and just starting to get “chilly” here in Texas, and this totally hit the spot. I was able to throw it together and cook it quickly before my partner went to work today, he loved it too!
Hi Melia! I’m tickled pink that you took the time to make this soup and tell me about it! Made my day. 🙂 LOVE the addition of the smoked sea salt, brilliant! Totally stealing the idea. 🙂
I am an instant pot owner; I used this recipe today and it came out perfect. I added different spices to up the flavor profile. I did it for 15 mins on the manual setting.
I’m confused about something though. At the instant pot link below, it states that green lentils need to cook for 15-20 minutes. At 3 minutes as you suggested, it sounds like the lentils would still be “crunchy”?
Dan Randall says
I think that is a good question. I have made Beth’s lentil soup recipe in the Instant Pot several times. I thought 3 minutes sounded like too little time, so I went for 4 minutes. It worked very well every time! A couple things, Instant Pots have heat up and cool down time, so the actual cook time is longer than you set. The set time is time at full pressure. Next, 15-20 minutes as stated at the link you offered seems too long. Why? That is just about the time it takes to cook lentils on the stove, depending on the variety. Beth’s choice of red lentils helps since they have among the shortest cook time of all lentil varieties.
The 3 minutes for all green lentils were a little too al dente. Fine, but I’d like a little softer. I’ll try either 4 minutes or maybe a half natural pressure release next time.
Wish Instant Pots had been around when I was in college! I could have eaten so healthily and cheaply!
Thank you – this soup looks like my family will love it and perfect for making in my new InstaPot, which I admit I find a little intimidating. Your directions are very helpful.
Question – I am allergic to paprika – what would you use as a substitute?
Hi Ora! The paprika adds a smoky flavor, so if you wanted to substitute it, I would try 1/4 teaspoon or chipotle powder or 1/4 teaspoon of liquid smoke to start. You could also simply leave it out, and up the cumin a bit. It will still be delicious! I hope you’ll let me know how it goes – don’t fear the Instant Pot! 😉
So I tried the soup – I added two teaspoons of sage and some bay leaves instead of the paprika since I know my family loves the flavor. Still could use that smoky flavor so will try to get chipolte powder. Other than that, reporting that this is my FIRST InstaPot soup (I make soup twice a week for a large family). It was a success! Your directions made it simple, the prep was easy. I went from start to soup in about an hour which is fantastic! I cook everything homemade for a large family and I generally view recipes as suggestions so I have been scared of messing up with the InstaPot – your directions were simple and easy to follow and your explanations let me switch things up a little without fear of an explosion :-). Made orzo and pulled some homemade rolls out of the freezer as a side. (I always keep extra batches of rolls in the freezer for backup). One question – can I add barley? I have a barley loving family but read that you can’t put barley in a soup in an instapot because it bubbles. Happy to have found your website!
I have tried several IP lentil and veggie soup recipes and love this one the best. Thank you for sharing it! I do add some Better than Bouillon veggie broth mix or tomato paste to the recipe for added umami.
This made me so happy, Kori! LOVE the idea of adding the tomato paste for the umami, it’s something I always have on hand so I’m tossing it in next time I make this soup.
Yea, I think the vegetarian better than bouillon is probably key. It’s a little bland without it.
My love for the Insta-Pot grows more every day…and I use all of the functions just to show it more love. My I-P does not have the yogurt maker, but it’s all good in the hood anyway. This pot is amazing and I am actually thinking about buying another one because I use it on a daily basis. As far as cleanup goes…it is a snap because you can saute & cook all in one pot in half the time.
I made this recipe today and love it! Needless to say, I was in a hurry because I realized that it was lunch time and I had not made lunch! I had PLANNED to make this, so the time saving of the PC saved me. I also cheated. I used a Kale salad mix that had kale (of course), chard, and spinach. I used a mirepoix frozen mixed and no one was the wiser. I did add a can of fire roasted tomatoes, just because. As for the spices, I had them all…and yes…you are absolutely right about smoked paprika. I continuously use my Hungarian Smoked Paprika…even for sprinkling over deviled eggs. Love, love, love it!
The soup turned out fabulous….and being a southern girl…I made cornbread and hoe cakes to go with it. Yum!
I needed to leave a comment because this is, hands down, my most suggested recipe… I’m constantly sending it to people because its SO good! We’ve made it exactly as written, with kale instead of chard, with a sweet potato – always so good!
Anyway, love this, can’t wait to make more of your recipes!
Thank you so much for these recipes – I enjoy them every day at work, especially the lentil soup and vegan chili! All the best from Norway.
Emma Evans says
About you needs to include “Charmingly witty and quite possibly a magician of the highest kitchen order known to mothers.”
Soups absolutely thrive in rain besieged Pacific Northwest kitchens, but they hold reign in my over heated Okanagan summer kitchen too. When the heat steals the appetite of all and summer break signifies the total loss of anything vaguely resembling break time for mum, soup is king, queen and court jester in my house. Add the new addition of my IP and I’m drawing sketches of “IP Island” designs that will work inside and out.
Thank you for a plethora of palette pleasures that I intend to peruse and practice!
Traded up to instant pot a few months ago. Use to use 1970s stove top. Love, love lentil soup but never used 2 types. I do add slivered sun dried tomatoes and carrots. Used to use a food mill the thicken some of the soup but now use stick blender. I also add a bit of milk before blending. Found that tip in 1959 Fannie Farmer cookbook.
Delish! My DH has wanted lentils for a while now and I wanted to use a lentil trio that I bought at Costco a while back. It worked beautifully! (I used 2 cups of the lentil mix for the receipe.) Followed as written and served with cheese curds. Yum.
Next time I might put in some better than Boullion in place of salt or try that tomato paste add-in.
Thank you for an IP winner!
Made this last night and a wonderful thing happened: I screwed up! I used red lentils and thought I grabbed green lentils, but actually grabbed split peas! Of course, I didn’t discover this until everything was loaded in the pressure cooker. You know what? It came out wonderful! I used chard from my garden and the soup was just delicious, thanks so much.
Now I get to try it your way!
Marie Munday says
I made this and it was fantastic! One thing confused me though. What do you mean by
• 2 inch carrots sliced into 1/4 pieces
Is that the baby carrots(2-inch long) cut into quarters, or 1/4 inch pieces? How many baby carrots?
I used shredded carrots that came in a bag, but I think sliced would have had a better texture. Thank you!
Edward Collins says
OMG! What is not to love about this recipe! Thanks!
This was so delicious and easy, my 9 year old son even gobbled it up saying this was one of his favorite foods. Next time I’ll play around with it a bit, I suspect that some bacon bit would be a good addition
Rocio Casanova says
LOVED this recipe! Even my super picky eating husabnd LOVED it! Thank you so much! This will be added to our dinner list for SURE! <3
This is my first recipe from your blog and I love it! It’s now my favorite lentil soup recipe. I’ve been cooking for years but never used smoke paprika before. It really gives the soup a great flavor. I only made a couple changes. I used chicken broth for richness because I don’t like water based soups. Next time I’ll try vegetable broth to make it vegan. I also didn’t have waxy potatoes so I used peeled russets and put them in the pot when I added the broth because I thought sautéing them first would overcook them. This soup was a winner! Can’t wait to try more recipes from you blog.
I am excited to try this. I am wondering if you have tried it with the tomato paste add in and if so, how much you used? Putting it on my meal plan for next week and I will report back!
Hi Kim! I haven’t tried this particular soup with tomato paste added in, but I have added a can of crushed tomatoes in the past with good results. The key with the pressure cooker or Instant Pot is to avoid having tomato products stuck to the bottom because it can trigger a burn notice and stop the cooking. I wouldn’t recommend tomato paste for this particular soup for that reason. If I did use it in lieu of crushed tomatoes, I would use about 3 tablespoons and add it when sautéing the onions so that it can cook out a bit and then be diluted when the water is added. Hope that helps! 🙂
I got this message after I made it and I used 1 Tbsp, tomato paste and just made sure to stir it in really well and it worked just great! Thanks for the tips and I may try it different next time.
Eric Andrist says
I found this very bland.
I’m sorry to hear that! The final seasoning with salt and pepper is to taste, and that extra pinch or two of salt can make a huge difference in waking up the flavors.
I just wanted to tell you that this is basically my favorite soup ever. I eat it all the time. Thank you for bringing it into the world!
Terri Saia Lynn says
This was excellent, easy and now has a permanent place in my recipe bookmarks!! 1st lentil recipe i am excited to make again!
Simple. Straightforward. Delicious. Plus a delight to read. Brings back the enthusiasm in cooking.