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Vegan Lentil Soup Recipe in the Instant Pot

4.98 from 44 votes

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Who doesn’t love a hearty vegetable lentil soup? This veggie lentil soup is oil-free and whole-food-plant-based. It is full of vegetables and because it uses a soup base of vegetable broth, you can be sure it’s vegan. The best part of this vegetable lentil soup recipe is that it’s made in the Instant Pot! That’s right, you can pretty much set it and forget it.

veggie lentil soup in white bowl

This soup has long been a family favorite and as far as vegan lentil soup recipes go, it’s honestly one of the best! This is one of the first recipes I made in my Instant Pot and has absolutely become a keeper!

Why I think this is the best lentil soup recipe

  • Flavorful with its unique blend of seasonings
  • Hearty and filling
  • Naturally oil-free – no need to add oil to this recipe
  • Comforting and healthy soup
  • Whole-food plant-based no oil soup recipe (WFPBNO)
  • You can prep the vegetables ahead of time to quickly throw the soup together for an easy meal

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vegetable lentil soup in white bowl with pinterest text overlay

For this veggie lentil soup, you will need…

  • Brown lentils – can sub in green lentils
  • Some vegetables, including onion, carrots, garlic, celery, potato, and canned diced tomatoes.
  • You will also need some seasonings including lemon pepper, Italian seasoning,  and thyme.
  • We also add vegetable broth,  some lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar.
  • And of course the star of the show  – a pressure cooker like an Instant Pot!

About the lentils:

After I started eating the plant-based way, I quickly became a huge fan of lentils. Sadly, I never liked lentils much before because I once had a bad experience with undercooked lentils in a thick ketchup-like tomato soup. Yuck! You know, you can’t let one bad eating experience dictate what you are prepared to try for the rest of your life.

Three types of lentils in brown bowls with wooden scoops

Thank goodness I was willing to explore a little. Lentils have since become a staple in my family’s diet. Lentils are an easy way to add a little protein and give a nice texture to any dish one might have previously used meat in.

I love all types of lentils now! Use green lentils or brown lentils in this recipe but not red lentils. Red lentils would get a little too mushy under pressure for the amount of time you need to cook the vegetables.

For more awesome vegan lentil recipes from Veggie Fun Kitchen, try:

lentil soup in white bowl
This hearty vegetable lentil soup is full of vegetables and delicious!

How to make vegan lentil soup in the Instant Pot

Directions are for the Instant Pot brand of the pressure cooker. This is the only brand I’ve cooked with and I am not familiar with the others. Make sure you read the directions and know your pressure cooker.

Step 1: Prep the Vegetables

two carrots
I just wash, scrub, and cut my carrots. I do not peel. I also do not always peel my potatoes. Personal preference.

Slice the carrots, dice the celery, potatoes, and onion, and mince the garlic. If you would like to prepare the vegetables a day ahead of time, just keep them tightly wrapped in the fridge. That way you can easily make this lentil soup recipe in the Instant Pot when you are ready to eat.

Step 2: SAUTÉING the vegetables with broth:

Start by sautéing the diced/sliced onion and carrot in one cup of vegetable broth on the sauté setting of your Instant Pot for about 3 minutes – just to get them going.

You don’t want the vegetables to be mushy, but just start to soften. If your pressure cooker does not have a sauté setting, then sauté on the stove-top before adding. Otherwise, your soup might have crunchy onions and carrots.

onions an carrots in instant pot ready to saute
Start out by sautéing the carrots and onions in the Instant Pot.

I saute the vegetables in broth for this recipe. I have made it both with and without oil and really can’t tell a difference. Adding oil does not enhance an\ythning in this lentil soup recipe.

Vegetable Broth

I do not peel my carrots or potatoes. Just clean well and make sure any “weird” pieces are cut out.

Step 3: Adding the rest of the ingredients:

After the vegetables have sautéd for about 3 minutes add in the other vegetables, canned diced tomatoes, lentils, seasonings, and broth, and give it a little stir.

instant pot lentil soup ingredients

Step 4: Cooking in the Instant Pot:

Using the manual mode, set your pot to high pressure for 12 minutes. After the veggie lentil soup has finished cooking, allow for a “natural” release for about 10 minutes.

Then carefully do a quick release by using a long-handled wooden spoon or spatula.read spoon wooden handle releasing steam from Instant Pot

After all of the pressure has been released, carefully open your pot. It will be hot!

Some shortcuts:

I use lemon juice from a bottle. No need to squeeze a lemon unless you really want to… I also use pre-minced garlic. This recipe calls for 3 cloves of garlic. Each clove is about 1/2 a teaspoon. I once had someone complain to me that this wasn’t a “real” recipe because I used jarred bottled garlic. Uh…you do you. At the end of the day, I don’t always have the bandwidth to mince my garlic.

minced garlic in a jar

Some questions and some answers

Can I make this in a crock pot instead?

I get asked this question a lot. I have never done so, But I imagine you would follow the same directions and cook it on high heat for four hours or low for six hours. Just check your lentils so that they aren’t getting too mushy

Can I use red lentils instead?

No, red lentils will break down and be too mushy.

Can I use green lentils?

Absolutely! Green lentils are perfectly interchangeable with brown lentils.

What type of oil should I use if I want to add oil?

Like I said above, this recipe doesn’t really need oil. But if you must, then use robust extra virgin olive oil.

Do I have to use lemon pepper? Can I just use extra lemon juice?

YES!!! Don’t do this recipe without the lemon pepper. The lemon pepper really adds the perfect zing.

Can I substitute in a sweet potato?

No, that will very much change the flavor profile of the recipe. I do have a tasty sweet potato stew you might like to try.

Serving suggestions:

This soup will be quite thick. I always add in extra broth and thin it to my liking. The extra broth is added at the end because we don’t want to fill up the pot beyond 2/3 full. Also, different people like their soup a little thinner…or thicker.

lentil soup white bowl

This veggie lentil soup works great for meal prep. The lentils and vegetables hold their shape and texture well. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Do you wanna know what makes this veggie lentil soup even better?

For some other delicious vegan soup recipes made in the Instant Pot, try

The Recipe for Vegan Lentil Soup:

Did you love this recipe? I’d appreciate hearing about it! It would thrill me to no end if you could leave a review with stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ It would also help others who are looking for an awesome veggie lentil soup recipe find it! Thanks, Cindy 💜 

lentil soup white bowl

Veggie Lentil Soup (Instant Pot)

Make this veggie lentil soup in the Instant Pot (or other pressure cooker).  It is full of vegetables and flavor without the added oil. This lentil soup is whole food plant-based. It works great for meal prep too.
4.98 from 44 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Lentil soup instant pot, vegan lentil soup, veggie lentil soup
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
pressure release: 10 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes
Servings: 7
Calories: 181kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion diced, about 1 1/2 cups
  • 2 carrots sliced, about 1 1/4 cups
  • 2 celery stalks diced, about 1 cup
  • 1 medium white potato diced, about 1 1/2 cups
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils rinse
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasonings
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 5 cups vegetable broth divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • more broth to thin soup after cooking

Instructions

  • Dice slice, and mince all vegetables, set aside 
  • Sauté onion and carrot in 1 cup of broth for about three minutes.  Use the sauté function and sauté in the Instant Pot. Watch the bottom of your pan so that the broth doesn't dry out and vegetables begin to stick.  Your pan might not come to pressure if the vegetables stick.
  • Add in all other ingredients:  
    lentils, canned diced tomatoes, celery, potatoes, garlic, seasonings, vinegar and lemon juice, and remaining four cups of broth. Give it a stir.
  • On manual mode, set your pressure cooker on high for 12 minutes.  
  • After the veggie soup has come to pressure and counted down, allow a natural release for 10 minutes.  
  • After you have allowed 10 minutes for natural release, carefully with a long-handled spoon or similar device, continue releasing pressure.  Open your pot. 
  • Depending on how thin you like your soup, you may want to add in a little vegetable broth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition

Calories: 181kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 11g | Sodium: 1037mg | Potassium: 696mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2995IU | Vitamin C: 15.8mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 4.8mg
By on February 15th, 2019

About Cindy Rainey

Veggie Fun Kitchen by Cindy Rainey
Welcome to Veggie Fun Kitchen where you will learn to recreate family favorites the plant-based/vegan way! Let me know if I can help. I'm here for you.

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67 thoughts on “Vegan Lentil Soup Recipe in the Instant Pot”

  1. 5 stars
    Super delicious! My non-vegan family requested this soup when they saw me share the recipe post oh my Facebook. I made it and it absolutely blew everyone away. AMAZING.

    I added in some of your tofu sausage crumbles to the bowls when I served it and no one could believe they were eating a healthy, completely plant based soup.

    Thank you so much for this recipe!!

    Reply
    • Hello – I have not made it on the stovetop before. I will definitely try it myself very soon. In the meantime, please let me know if you make this on the stove-top and how it worked out for you.

      Reply
    • You can absolutely be made on the stove top. I have always made my lentil soup on the stove top. This recipe has all the same ingredients so go right ahead sauté in your soup pot and then add the rest. Delish!

      Reply
  2. This recipe looks delicious and I would love to try it, but I can’t eat tomatoes. Is there something else that I could use in place of the tomatoes and still have it come out when made in an instant pot? Thank You

    Reply
    • Thanks for your great question! Since they are canned tomatoes in liquid, just use an equal amount of veggie broth with some extra onion perhaps for flavor and texture. I have not tried this substitute yet though, and so there are no guarantees! I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. Cindy 💜

      Reply
    • Also – I was talking with some of my blogging friends about this, and they recommend perhaps some bell peppers and smoked paprika for added flavor since you will be omitting the tomatoes. Again though, no guarantees as I have not made it this way before but as long as the liquid is replaced then it should come to pressure.

      Reply
  3. Made this last night and my whole family loved it, even the kids!! My hubby even went back for seconds. This was my first meal using lentils so we all were a little insure. Thank you so much, we loved it!

    Reply
    • I am so thrilled to hear that you enjoyed it! Thanks for letting me know. Lentils are really a versatile little legume. I’ve come to really appreciate them.

      Reply
  4. 5 stars
    I made this a few days ago. Did not include the celery and I cooked it on the stove top. It was so good! Shared it with family and they loved it too. Also, served it with garlic bread.

    Reply
    • Thanks for letting me know. I’m so thrilled you enjoyed it and that it worked for you on the stove-top. I love beluga lentils as well but have never added them to this recipe. I’ll have to give it a try!

      Reply
  5. That was one of the best soups I’ve ever made. I used beluga lentils, that’s what I had. And added some peppers. Otherwise I followed the recipe. Delicious!

    Reply
  6. 5 stars
    I have made this a few times. The last time i used sweet potato instead of the white potato and it was delicious. Actually every time i always think to my self man this is good. The only thing i would like to know. I like my veggies and potatoes to have a little more bit in them. Do you think knocking off 2 mins of the pressure cooking or maybe instead the natural release would give me that texture?
    Thanks for your time and the recipe!

    Reply
    • Oh sweet potatoes sound yummy! If the veggies are a little too mush for you then go ahead and knock off a couple of minutes. You can also reduce the release time by half. See if that helps.

      Reply
  7. It looks delicious! I have sodium restrictions so I’m thinking if I leave out the salt & use no salt added tomatoeJs, I should be good. Made as is, one serving is over my daily intake of sodium.

    Reply
    • Hi! So your palate is already accustomed to low sodium and so it should taste just fine to you. Also use low sodium vegetable broth and be aware that your lemon pepper might have salt in it. If that is the case then leave it out and use a little lemon zest instead. Happy cooking!

      Reply
    • Ohhhh I think that would be soooo delicious! And appropriately seasonal too.The only problem is that the cook time to get the lentils soft will turn the zucchinis to mush. Much as I hate using a second pot, I recommend you steam the summer squash first – either on the stove-top or in the microwave – and then add afterwards. Good luck and let me know how it turns out!

      Reply
  8. This is in my IP now♥️ However prep time for me was almost an hour. Maybe update the amount of time in case someone whos super short on time doesnt adjust for all the chopping and measuring and can opening. Maybe closer to 20 min for prep. Just being honest here. Cant wait to try this!!

    Reply
  9. Could I use fresh tomatoes in place of the canned? The garden’s bounty has been generous and I’d like to use up a few more tomatoes. 😉. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer! I love your site.

    Reply
    • Wow you are so lucky! I’m definitely no home gardener, but my tomatoes never set this year:( I’ve never made this recipe with fresh tomatoes before; but as long as you are confident in the quality and flavor of your homegrown tomatoes, you should be able to use them. From what I’m reading online, you will want to skin them with the blanch method and then dice them small. A 28 ounce can is about 3 1/2 cups so keep that in mind. I’d also add in a little more veggie broth too. Measure your diced tomatoes in a container and then add in some broth to fill in the spaces. Good luck and I’d love to hear how it turns out.

      Reply
  10. 5 stars
    My first time eating lentils, it was very good! I was worried the lentils would be mushy, but nope, they came out perfectly al dente in the Instapot. I left out the lemon because I forgot to buy one, but I felt the vinegar, tomatoes, and lemon pepper were just the right amount of acid for me. This will be a fall staple, thanks for such a healthy flavorful recipe!

    Reply
  11. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this delicious recipe. So glad i found another great instant pot recipe and one that I can use my lemon pepper with. This was sooo gooood.

    Reply
    • I am so thrilled to hear you liked it! And thanks for the comment about the lemon pepper. I’m afraid that so many people leave it out because it only uses such a small amount, and this is not a seasoning already in their pantry. It really does make a difference though! And lemon pepper is such a versatile little seasoning.

      Reply
  12. 5 stars
    This was ahhhhmazing!! And so easy! Took like 15 min to prep and 5 to clean up. I crumbled the vegan tofu italian style sausage into the soup before pressure cooking. I was worried that it wouldn’t come out because when I reread the comments it said to do it afterwards… but, it came out sooooo good I will do it this way every time! My daughter doesn’t like soup too chunky so I used an immersion blender and pureed a little of it. It’s definitely one of the best soups I ever had! AND… I’m not even vegetarian!! LOL. My kids are so I’m always looking for recipes we can all enjoy together! Thanks for this one, it’s a winner!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for taking the time to review this recipe. I’m glad you enjoyed it! And that’s a great idea to puree a bit:)

      Reply
    • Oh my goodness thank you so much for the comment! It always thrills me to know when a reader has success. That is my goal! Cindy

      Reply
  13. 5 stars
    I made this last week for my husband and me!~ It is incredibly good. I cut the recipe in half, knowing that it would feed a crowd for days if I didn’t. Even cutting it in half, we had it for several nights. I added a little water each night to thin it out a bit, but one night, I scooped out portions without broth, and put them on top of baked potatoes for a full and filling me. Delicious recipe!

    Reply
  14. Can you use a crockpot for this or even do this on the stove. If so what are the cooking instructions. Thank you this looks great.

    Reply
  15. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe – I blended it with my immersion blender to get a smooth texture and it was delicious. Have made twice now.

    Reply
  16. 5 stars
    That soup sounds delicious! SO sooo healthy too! I’m making this today for dinner. Don’t have IP but I’ll make it in a classic pot. I can’t resist it. Yum!

    Reply
  17. I see nobody has mentioned anything about this, so I’m sure it’s ok, but I have to ask! The brown lentils… don’t you usually have to soak them and/or don’t they take longer to cook (even in the IP)? THanks.

    Reply
  18. 5 stars
    I’m not even a big lentil soup fan but decided to try it with the different spicing. I subbed dried Mung beans for 1/2c of the lentils and added some cabbage. The result is fabulous. I’ll definitely be making this again.

    Reply
  19. Hi! This soup sounds amazing and I’m dying to make it, but I can only seem to get my hands on green lentils, not brown ones. Will that make a huge difference if I use those? Thanks so much 🙂

    Reply
  20. That is a NOSELOAD of sodium! Where did it all come from? Was it the veggie broth? I usually do my own from prep trimmings plus added garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves so no sodium other than what’s in the veggies naturally.

    Reply
  21. Would be super nice if all these cooking blogs formatted their recipes so that they are printed using the least amount of paper, preferable one sheet. This one definitely could be printed on one sheet, but they way it’s formatted, it uses 2.

    Reply
  22. 5 stars
    This was amazing! I couldn’t get lemon pepper in town, so I just squeezed a whole lemon and put it in there, AND I forgot the garlic, and it still was just amazing. This is a keeper for sure, thank you!

    Reply
  23. 5 stars
    I love this soup. I am not vegan, but found this on Pinterest to use up some lentils I bought. I have now made it at least 5 times. Thank you for a great recipe! ❤️

    Reply

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