This Instant Pot lentil soup transforms everyday pantry ingredients, including French lentils, carrots, onion, celery, potatoes, tomatoes, and vegetable broth, into a satiating vegetarian meal.
Instant Pot Lentil Soup
- Quick Glance
- Quick Glance
- 35 M
- 1 H, 30 M
- Serves 6 to 8
Special Equipment: a 6-quart Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker
Select the sauté setting on the Instant Pot and let the pot heat for a few minutes before adding the oil. Once the oil is hot, stir in the onion and a pinch of salt.
Cook, stirring frequently and reducing the heat if necessary to prevent burning and your Instant Pot from overheating, until the onion is lightly browned and completely soft, 5 to 6 minutes.
Stir in the carrots, celery, garlic, potato, salt, and pepper and cook until the carrots are just starting to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the paprika and lentils and cook for 30 seconds, stirring to coat the lentils with the spices and seasonings. Select the Cancel setting.
Add the bouquet garni and vegetable broth and then pour the crushed tomatoes on top. Stir gently to combine.
Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to sealing. Select the Pressure Cook setting at high pressure and set the cook time to 12 minutes.
After cooking for 12 minutes, allow a natural pressure release for 15 minutes, then use quick release to finish venting, if necessary.
Open the pot and remove the bouquet garni. The soup will be quite thick at this point. If you like the soup to have a stew-like consistency, leave it as is; if you prefer a thinner consistency, pour in about 1 cup water (or vegetable broth) or more until you achieve your desired consistency.
Stir in the vinegar, taste, and adjust seasoning, if needed. Ladle the soup into bowls and, if desired, sprinkle with parsley. (Any leftover soup refrigerates quite nicely and, in fact, is arguably even better the next day.)
How to Make This Instant Pot French Lentil Soup on the Stovetop
No Instant Pot? No problem. Follow the directions above using a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Once you’ve added the broth and tomatoes, bring the mixture to a simmer, cover, reduce heat, and simmer until the lentils are very tender and the soup is thick, about 45 minutes. Check the soup occasionally and add water if it becomes too thick.
*How to Use Dried Herbs in Place of a Bouquet Garni
If you don’t have a selection of fresh herbs on hand, you can swap in a teaspoon of dried for each one.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
I'm usually in the camp of lentil soup with sausage, but since we're trying to cut back on meat consumption, I decided to try this vegan version. It's delicious, couldn't have been easier, and uses pantry ingredients. It looks like it will serve at least 10 unless you're feeding lumberjacks or teen-aged boys.
I used sweet paprika, balsamic vinegar, and fresh herbs from my garden.
A thinner soup is our preference, so I did thin it with the suggested water, although I'm sure if you had extra vegetable broth it would be even more flavorful. Speaking of the vegetable broth, for homemade, I just used the onion skin, carrot and potato peels, and celery trimmings from the veggies used in the recipe along with some bay leaves and herbs.
The timing in the recipe was spot on. Will definitely make this again. I think it might be even better with a drizzle of basil oil or pistou.
This is a hearty, delicious lentil soup that’s pretty straightforward to make. The flavor promised comes through from the bouquet garni to the balsamic vinegar. "Rustic French home cooking" seems just right.
For the bouquet garni, I used rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves; I used smoked paprika and balsamic vinegar (2 teaspoons was plenty).
The soup took about 15 to 20 minutes to come up to pressure. I let the pressure naturally release for another 15 minutes after the cook time and then did a forced release. Had I not forced it, I think the natural release would have taken at least 20 if not 30 minutes. I don't think it made a difference in the finished product that I didn't wait for a full natural release. All told, as written the soup is probably about 90 minutes from start-to-finish.