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Instant Pot Lentil Soup in a white bowl
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Instant Pot Lentil Soup

Rich, thick, filling, and super flavorful lentil soup made quick and easy in the Instant Pot! Not your average lentil soup, this version has so much more flavor, thanks to plenty of spices and fresh lemon zest, and is positively addictive with crusty bread. Comforting and healthy, it doesn't get better than that!
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine vegetarian
Keyword autumn recipe, one pot meal, pressure cooker
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 398kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot or pressure cooker

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 medium carrots diced
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups dry red lentils
  • 4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water or additional stock
  • 1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups spinach roughly sliced, see Notes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon see Notes
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • toast for serving, see Notes
  • fresh parmesan cheese optional, for serving

Instructions

  • Set Instant Pot to Sauté mode and add olive oil. Heat oil over medium heat until warmed through, then add onions, carrots, and celery.
    Vegetables in Instant Pot
  • Cook vegetables, stirring constantly, until onion is tender, then stir in garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, and bay leaves. Cook an additional 2 minutes.
    Vegetables and seasoning in Instant Pot
  • After 2 minutes, stir in lentils, chicken (or vegetable) stock, water, and crushed tomatoes. Cover with lid and seal with valve in sealing position.
    Veggies, seasoning, lentils, and liquid in Instant Pot
  • Set Instant Pot to Manual High Pressure for 10 minutes. Once 10 minute cook time is up, Natural Release 5 minutes, then Quick Release any remaining pressure.
    Instant Pot lentil soup in Instant Pot
  • Carefully remove lid, then stir in spinach, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.
    Instant Pot lentil soup with spinach
  • Ladle lentil soup into bowls (remove bay leaves) and serve warm with toast (see Notes) and fresh parmesan cheese (optional).

Notes

  • Don't add the salt until the cooking is done. If you add it too early, the lentils will toughen.
  • Be sure to remove the bay leaves before serving! They add a lot of flavor to the dish but they're not pleasant to eat.
  • Spinach: To slice the spinach, lay the leaves out on a cutting board and rock your knife back and forth in only one direction. This is just a very rough slice, so don't worry about it being perfect!
  • Lemon Zest: For the easiest zesting methods, see my post all about lemon zest!
  • Toast: I slice a nice loaf of crusty bread into 1-inch thick pieces, spray both sides with olive oil, and sprinkle both sides with a little salt, then bake at 400° Fahrenheit until the bread turns golden brown and the edges are a deeper brown, but still light in some spots.
  • Make it Vegetarian/Vegan: Use vegetable stock or water instead of chicken stock.
  • Make it Dairy Free: Don't add parmesan at the end, or use a dairy-free parmesan alternative.
  • Make it Gluten Free: Make sure your chicken/vegetable stock is gluten free, or use water instead. Serve with a gluten-free toast, or skip the toast altogether.
  • This recipe was tested and perfected using a 6-quart Instant Pot. For a smaller Instant Pot, cut the recipe in half. For a larger Instant Pot, you shouldn't need to make any adjustments to ingredients quantities. Cook time will remain the same for any size Instant Pot.
 
Recipe yields approximately 6 servings. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving, not including bread or parmesan. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by 6. Result will be the weight of one serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 398kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 947mg | Potassium: 1182mg | Fiber: 21g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 5375IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron: 7mg | Net Carbs: 31g