Lentil Soup in a white bowl.

Simple Lentil Soup

There’s something undeniably comforting about a bowl of lentil soup. This dish has been a staple in kitchens around the world for centuries, and for good reason. Lentils are not only nutritious and delicious, but they also make for a hearty and satisfying meal that’s easy to prepare. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a kitchen novice, a simple lentil soup is the perfect dish to add to your repertoire.

A spoon scoping lentil soup.
Lentil Soup. Photo credit: The Happy Body Project.

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Why Lentil Soup?

Lentils are a powerhouse of nutrition, packed with protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. They are an excellent source of plant-based protein, making them a great option for vegetarians and vegans. The high fiber content in lentils aids in digestion and helps keep you feeling full longer. Additionally, lentils are rich in iron, folate, and magnesium, which contribute to overall health and well-being.

Lentil soup is also incredibly versatile. You can keep it simple with just a few basic ingredients or get creative by adding a variety of vegetables, herbs, and spices. The beauty of lentil soup lies in its adaptability to your taste and dietary preferences.

Lentil Soup Pinterest pin.
Lentil Soup. Photo credit: Trina Krug.

Tips for Making the Perfect Lentil Soup

Making lentil soup is straightforward, but a few tips can elevate your dish from good to great. First, always rinse your lentils under cold water before cooking to remove any dust or debris. This simple step ensures a cleaner taste in your soup.

When sautéing your onions and garlic, take the time to let them become golden brown. This caramelization process develops a deeper, richer flavor base for your soup. Fresh spices are key to a vibrant dish—if your spices have been sitting in the pantry for a while, consider replacing them for the best flavor.

If you plan to add vegetables to your lentil soup in an Instant Pot, consider these strategies to prevent them from becoming mushy:

  1. Add Sturdier Vegetables Early: Root vegetables like carrots or parsnips can be added at the beginning because they hold up well to pressure cooking. Cut them into larger chunks to help them maintain their texture.
  2. Add Delicate Vegetables Later: Softer vegetables like spinach or zucchini should be added after the pressure cooking cycle is complete. Simply stir them into the hot soup, and the residual heat will cook them perfectly without making them mushy.
  3. Cut Vegetables Appropriately: Larger chunks of vegetables will fare better under pressure than smaller pieces. Adjust the size of your vegetable cuts based on their cooking time requirements.
  4. Quick Release: Use the quick release method to depressurize the Instant Pot, which helps prevent overcooking of both lentils and vegetables.
Lentil Soup in a white bowl with a spoon.
Lentil Soup. Photo credit: The Happy Body Project.

What to Eat with Lentil Soup

Lentil soup is versatile and pairs well with a variety of sides to make a complete and satisfying meal. A few favorite options are:

  • Crusty Bread: A slice of crusty bread or a warm baguette is perfect for dipping into the soup and soaking up the flavorful broth.
  • Simple Salad: A fresh green salad with a light vinaigrette adds a refreshing contrast to the hearty soup.
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich: The classic combination of a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of soup never disappoints. The melty cheese and crispy bread are a delightful accompaniment to the lentil soup.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Serve your lentil soup with a side of roasted vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, buffalo cauliflower or zucchini for an extra dose of nutrition and flavor.
  • Cheese and Crackers: A small plate of cheese and whole-grain crackers can be a delightful addition, providing a nice contrast in texture.

Final Thoughts

Simple lentil soup is a timeless dish that offers comfort, nutrition, and endless customization possibilities. It’s perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or a cozy lunch on a cold day. With just a few ingredients and minimal effort, you can create a delicious and satisfying meal that everyone will love. So, grab your Instant Pot and get ready to enjoy a bowl of this comforting classic!

Lentil Soup in a white bowl.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 243 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup lentils rinsed
  • 1/2 cup onion finely diced
  • 1- 14 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 quart of stock – chicken or vegetable
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt more to taste later, if needed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk full fat

Instructions
 

  • Turn the Instant Pot to saute mode and add the coconut oil to heat.
  • Saute the onions for several minutes until softened and lightly brown. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the spices and mix them with the onion and garlic mixture.
  • Pour in the stock, lentils, and tomatoes.
  • Close the Instant Pot lid and make sure the sealing valve is closed.
  • Turn the Instant Pot to soup mode for 15 minutes. (The total time to get to pressure and release was about 25 minutes)
  • Once the cooking cycle is complete, do a quick release for the steam.
  • Carefully open the Instant Pot and stir in the full-fat coconut milk.
  • The soup is ready to enjoy.
  • Optional: garnish with parsley.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 243kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 13gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 534mgPotassium: 546mgFiber: 11gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 340IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 56mgIron: 4mg
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