It’s wonderful to be able to quickly get a delicious, nutritious meal on the table for your family on those busy nights when you don’t feel like cooking. This Easy Plant-Based Lentil Soup is one of those meals. It pairs nicely with a green salad and some hearty whole-grain bread. And, if you use an Instant Pot it’s even quicker.
You’ll find instructions below for making this vegan soup in both an Instant Pot and on the stovetop and although the Instant Pot is faster, it’s almost as fast making it on the stove.
Not only is this an easy soup to pull together, but it’s also loaded with plant protein and higher in iron than some vegan foods.
I’ve even written an article about the wonderful, nutritious value of eating lentils in this post, Gentle Lentils: Nutrition and Health Benefits.
Be sure to check out my other lentil soup recipe, Hearty Lentil Kale Soup. It’s a bit more complex with kale and potatoes but still simple to make.
Plant-Based Lentil Soup Ingredients
LENTILS: Lentils are a great choice for a plant-based diet. They offer a healthy nutrient punch of 18 grams of protein in 1 cup, 15 grams of fiber, high doses of folate, potassium, 6.5 milligrams (mg) of iron, B vitamins, and less than 1 gram of fat. Lentils are a fantastic choice if you’re eating a plant-based diet.
There are several different types of lentils to choose from. This recipe uses green lentils, but brown lentils would also work well. Other lentils such as French green, red, or black are best saved for other recipes. You do not need to soak them before cooking.
AROMATICS: Onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. A perfect combination of flavors that are a start to many soups and stews.
TOMATOES: This recipe calls for diced tomatoes. There are many different types of canned tomatoes. Plain diced tomatoes work well, but you could also use fire-roasted diced tomatoes, tomatoes with added basil, or whole canned tomatoes that you break up yourself with a knife or in the blender.
VEGETABLE BROTH: Look for low or no-sodium store-bought brands so you have more control over the sodium. Or make your own with this How to Make Your Vegetable Broth recipe.
FLAVORINGS: A touch of thyme, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper is combined for a subtle but delicious soup.
How to Make Instant Pot Lentil Soup
- By now you should be pretty good with your chopping skills as many plant-based recipes call for chopped vegetables. This recipe is no different. Dice the onions, carrots, and celery, and mince the garlic.
- Add the diced aromatics to the Instant Pot and turn the saute button on to “low.” Saute for a few minutes until the onions start to turn translucent.
- Turn off the saute function and add the diced tomatoes, lentils, flavorings, and vegetable broth.
- Close the steam valve and set the Instant Pot for 18 minutes with the manual button.
- After 18 minutes, carefully release the steam valve and open the lid. Add the frozen peas, stir, and heat through for a few minutes.
Side Dishes for Lentil Soup
GREEN SALAD: Any type of green salad is a perfect accompaniment for a soup. I love serving it with a kale salad, but a Caesar or a simple green salad with tomatoes and cucumbers would also be perfect.
BREAD or GRAIN: A hearty whole-grain bread also pairs well with lentil soup. Or add a whole-grain side dish such as one of these:
Add this Easy Plant-Based Lentil Soup recipe to your favorite weeknight meals and I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below! If you have a photo, post it on my Instagram page, tag me using the hashtag #plantbasedcooking in your caption, and I won’t miss it!
Easy Plant-Based Lentil Soup (Instant Pot & Stovetop)
- 1/2 large onion diced (about 1 cup)
- 3 medium carrots peeled and diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 c. green lentils rinsed
- 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- Optional Add-Ins:
- 1 cup potato peel and diced
- Add diced onion, carrot, and garlic to the Instant pot with about ¼ cup vegetable broth. Turn on sauté to low. Stir every few minutes until the onion starts to wilt.
- Turn off the sauté function and add the lentils, diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, thyme, salt, and pepper. Close the lid and seal. Set to manual for 18 minutes.
- After 18 minutes, quick-release the valve pressure, remove the lid and add the peas. Stir to combine and wait a few minutes for the peas to heat through before serving. Add more water if it seems to thick.
- Add diced onion, carrot, and garlic with about ¼ cup of vegetable broth to a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Stir every few minutes until the onion starts to wilt adding more broth as needed to prevent sticking.
- Add the lentils, diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, thyme, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine. Once it’s come to a boil, lower the heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
- After 30 minutes, add the peas. Stir to combine and wait a few minutes for the peas to heat through before serving.
- Add more water if it seems too thick.