Simple Lentil Soup

A simple lentil soup with an Instant Pot option! This soup is packed with hearty lentils, carrots, celery and a few pantry staples. It makes a large pot, so you’ll have leftovers for days or you can store some in the freezer.

This is one of the best soups I’ve ever made. A hearty lentil soup, full of vegetables, spices and creamy coconut milk. If you’re looking for a comforting meal that’s made mostly from pantry staples, this soup is for you.

As many of us are isolating at home (and all of us should be limiting our trips to the grocery store), I’m planning on sharing recipes that are made with basic ingredients that have a long shelf-life. I also want to offer as many suggestions for substitutions as possible, for those who don’t have all the ingredients on hand. So if you’re missing one or more ingredients to make my recipes, please let me know in the comments and I’ll help you as best as I can.

carrots, celery, onion and garlic
Chopped vegetables
lentils
Spices
Here are some basic substitutions you can try:
  • Use brown or green lentils. Both will work. You could also try French lentils.
  • Adjust the spices. I tried it without coriander and it still tastes great. You could likely omit the turmeric as well. Cumin is the spice that really shines in this recipe.
  • Change up the vegetables. Celery does add a specific flavor to this recipe and I would recommend using it if you have some on hand. If you don’t have carrots or celery, feel free to use any vegetable that you have at home. Potatoes, parsnip, turnip or cauliflower would likely be nice. Alternatively, you can use frozen vegetables!
  • Use shallots instead of onions and/or garlic. Or you could try garlic powder instead of fresh garlic.
  • Try water instead of broth. Or you could make homemade broth using vegetable scraps (I love this tutorial).
  • You could try using plain unsweetened almond milk instead of coconut milk, but I can’t guarantee it will be as good.
  • Try a touch of white wine vinegar instead of lemon juice. I’m thinking 1-2 teaspoons.
  • Omit the fresh spinach or use kale or frozen greens.

If you have more questions on substitutions, please let me know!

And as with any substitutions to my recipes, I can’t guarantee the result will be the same. That being said, it’s a good time to be creative in our kitchens and try different things.

I hope you’re all staying as safe as you can. Happy cooking!

lentil soup ingredients in pot
lentil soup in pot
lentil soup in bowl

Watch How to Make the Recipe:

lentil soup
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4 from 1 vote

Simple Lentil Soup

A simple lentil soup with an Instant Pot option! This soup is packed with hearty lentils, carrots, celery and a few pantry staples. It makes a large pot, so you'll have leftovers for days or you can store some in the freezer.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine vegan
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Instant Pot Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 5

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or avocado, canola, vegetable oil)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium celery stalks, diced
  • 1 cup brown or green lentils, dry
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, unsalted
  • 1 can (28oz/796ml) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (14oz/400ml) coconut milk (full fat or light)
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons cumin, ground
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander, ground
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more or less to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Instructions

Stovetop Method

  • Start by chopping all of your vegetables. Set them aside, ready for use.
  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes or until fragrant.
  • Add the diced carrots and celery. Sauté for another 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the lentils, cumin, turmeric, coriander and salt. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, coconut milk and broth. Stir together and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce heat to medium and let simmer, covered for 30-35 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are cooked and tender. Stir occasionally.
  • Once it's done cooking, stir in the spinach and lemon juice. Cook 1-2 minutes until the spinach softens.
  • Serve immediately or let it cool slightly and store in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 4 days. Let it cool completely before storing in the freezer.

Instant Pot Method

  • Prepare all of your ingredients before you start.
  • Set your Instant Pot under the sauté setting for 8 minutes. Immediately add your oil, onions, garlic, celery and carrots. Sauté for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • After 8 minutes, add the remaining ingredients and stir together. Close the Instant Pot and cook under manual or soup mode for 15 minutes. Set the steam release handle to "sealing".
  • When the soup is done cooking, turn off the Instant Pot and release steam.
  • Stir in the spinach and lemon juice.
  • Serve immediately or let it cool slightly and store in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 4 days. Let it cool completely before storing in the freezer.

Notes

I haven’t tried other vegetables in this soup, but feel free to use the vegetables you have on hand. You can also skip the fresh spinach or use kale or frozen spinach.
You can skip the lemon juice if you don’t have any. It does add brightness to the soup. You could also try a touch of white wine vinegar instead.
If you use salted broth, reduce the salt added to taste.
I also tried this recipe without the coriander and it was still good. Feel free to skip it if you don’t have some on hand.

If you make this lentil soup, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love to hear from you guys. And of course, if you try this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram!

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