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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.
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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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.
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:
- Vegan Taco Meat with Lentils (also an Instant Pot Recipe),
- Easy Hearty Spaghetti
- or my Easy Lentil Shepherd’s Pie.
- Red Lentils in the Instant Pot with Korean Inspired BBQ Flavor
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
After all of the pressure has been released, carefully open your pot. It will be hot!
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.
Some questions and some answers
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
No, red lentils will break down and be too mushy.
Absolutely! Green lentils are perfectly interchangeable with brown lentils.
Like I said above, this recipe doesn’t really need oil. But if you must, then use robust extra virgin olive oil.
YES!!! Don’t do this recipe without the lemon pepper. The lemon pepper really adds the perfect zing.
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.
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.
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?
- Top it with my parmesan cheese with cashews
- Serve with a slice of warm beer bread with garlic and herbs
- Pair with a yummy berry salad with raspberry vinaigrette – a little sweet/tart to offset the savory!
One of our community members suggested topping with the Sausage Tofu Crumbles. This was a great idea!
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 💜
Veggie Lentil Soup (Instant Pot)
- 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
- 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.