This easy Lentil Soup Recipe can be made in the Instant Pot or on the stove top. Made with lentils, loads of vegetables, and plenty of leafy greens, this nourishing Vegan Lentil Soup recipe is the best way to fill up on a cold night.
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
In our home, we have soup for dinner pretty much every Sunday evening in the colder months. It's a routine that works well for us because a) we always know what's for dinner on a Sunday, and b) soup freezes like a boss, so we only actually have to make soup every few weeks. (Related: Vegetarian Freezer Meals)
While I love making a batch of spicy Red Lentil Soup or Chickpea Noodle Soup now and then, This Easy Lentil Soup Recipe is my go-to soup recipe. I can practically make it with my eyes closed by now (though I do not recommend chopping vegetables with your eyes closed).
If you're looking for an easy lentil soup without a lot of bells and whistles, this is the one. It's incredibly nourishing, with lentils bringing a ton of plant-based protein and dietary fiber to the table. It's loaded with veggies and leafy greens. And best of all, it's endlessly versatile.
Lentil Soup Ingredients
You'll find specific quantities in the printable recipe card at the end of those post. Here's a quick overview of what you'll need for this Vegan Lentil Soup Recipe:
- Lentils --> Brown, green, or black lentils are all fine.
- Onions and garlic --> The aromatics squad.
- Carrots and celery --> The classic soup duo.
- Canned diced tomatoes --> Mmmhmm.
- Vegetable broth --> Store-bought is fine.
- Kale --> Or spinach or whatever your favourite leafy greens are.
How to make Lentil Soup
We're going to cover two ways to make Instant Soup - traditional stove top Lentil Soup, and also Instant Pot Lentil Soup.
How to make Instant Pot Lentil Soup
This is one of those glorious dump-and-set Instant Pot recipes. Basically, you chuck in all of the ingredients, seal it, and set it to high pressure on the manual setting for 10 minutes. It'll take about 15 minutes to come up to pressure.
Once the pressure cooking cycle is done, let the pressure release naturally for five minutes, and then flip the valve to "venting" and quick-release the rest of the steam.
Give yourself a high five, because your vegan lentil soup is done!
How to make Lentil Soup on the stovetop
I like to do this in a big heavy-bottomed pot on the stove top.
Start by sautéing your onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil. Add the carrots and celery, and sauté a few minutes more until the vegetables have softened.
Add the tomatoes, lentils, chili flakes, vegetable broth, and shredded kale. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender - this will probably take 20-30 minutes.
Totally depends on your taste! I've tested this recipe with brown lentils, green lentils, Puy lentils, and beluga lentils. All turn out great! I would not recommend red lentils for this particular recipe as they do not hold their shape when cooked.
Nope! Lentils are quick cooking legumes with thin skins and do not require any soaking prior to use.
Some folks do find that lentils are easier to digest if they have been soaked overnight. If that's you, by all means go ahead and soak them. You'll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
If have canned lentils on hand and want to use them up, by all means you can use them in this soup. Stir them in towards the end of the cooking time, as they are already cooked and just need to be heated through.
You sure can. To freeze, simply transfer cooled soup into freezer-proof containers and ensure there's enough head space for the soup to expand as it freezes. I often reuse yogurt containers for freezing my soup, but I also love these reusable silicon freezer bags.
To re-heat soup I most often use my microwave.
If the soup is frozen, I'll drop the frozen block of soup into a pot and heat on low heat, covered, on the stove top until the soup has melted and warmed up.
Lentil Soup Variations
One of the things I love about lentil soup is how endlessly versatile it is. Here are a few of the ways I love to mix things up.
- Use a different type of lentil. Brown, green, and black lentils are all great in this recipe.
- Mix up the greens. I use tuscan kale here because it's my favourite, but feel free to add spinach, swiss chard, or collard greens instead. Note that more tender greens like spinach should be stirred in at the end.
- Use your favourite veggies. I've used carrots and celery because I always have them on hand. Love peppers? Toss 'em in! Fennel? Zucchini? Baby tomatoes? Yes!
- Add diced potatoes for a heartier soup.
- Add a splash of coconut milk for a creamy soup.
- Blend a portion of your soup to make it silky smooth.
Hey Nutrition Lady, are lentils healthy?
Lentils are a small but mighty, my friends.
These lovely little legumes are a very good source of dietary fiber. The soluble fiber in lentils helps to keep blood sugar stable, while providing a steady source of energy. It also helps to sweep out your lower intestine, and helps keep you regular! Dietary fiber also works to reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Lentils are a rich source of iron, and a good source of plant-based protein, which is good news for veg heads. They’re also a great source of heart-healthy folate and magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, zinc, potassium, and B6.
Other Recipes You Might Enjoy
Vegan Carrot Ginger Soup with Red Lentils
Mung Bean and Coconut Curry
Instant Pot Carrot Soup with Tahini and Garlicky Greens
Indonesian Black Rice Pudding
Vegan Chickpea Noodle Soup
Spicy Instant Pot Chickpeas
Mung Bean Soup
Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Vegetarian Dumpling Soup
Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup
Lentil Soup Recipe
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 medium carrots peeled and diced
- 2 large stalks celery diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1.5 cups lentils black, brown, or green lentils are all fine
- 2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes including juices
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 bunch Lacinato kale de-stemmed and sliced into ribbons
- salt and pepper
INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS
- Combine garlic, onions, celery, carrots, spices, lentils, kale, and vegetable broth in the instant pot.1 large yellow onion, 3-4 cloves garlic, 2 medium carrots, 2 large stalks celery, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1.5 cups lentils, 2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes, 6 cups vegetable broth, 1 bunch Lacinato kale
- Seal the lid and set to manual on high pressure for 10 minutes.
- At the end of the pressure cooking cycle allow the steam to vent naturally for 5 minutes, then flip the vent to quick release the rest of the way.
STOVE TOP INSTRUCTIONS
- Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add olive oil, then the onion.1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 large yellow onion
- Sauté the onion until it is starting to become golden, then add the garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook for a few minutes more until the garlic begins to brown as well.3-4 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Add the celery and carrots, and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are slightly softened.2 medium carrots, 2 large stalks celery
- Now add the canned tomatoes with their juices, the vegetable broth, the lentils, and the kale.1.5 cups lentils, 2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes, 6 cups vegetable broth, 1 bunch Lacinato kale
- Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer until the lentils are tender, about 20-30 minutes.
- Taste and decide whether you need a bit of salt and pepper, and season as you like. Let the soup meld together for a few minutes more, then you're ready to serve.salt and pepper
- Nutrition values are an estimate only
This recipe was originally published January 23, 2013. It was retested, rephotographed, and updated March 20, 2023.