Lentils are not just inexpensive but also a rich source of protein, keeping the many benefits of lentils in mind. This Instant Pot Lentil Soup is delicious, flavorsome, and rich. If you're looking for a healthy and hearty meal that's easy to make, this lentil soup in the instant pot is the perfect dish for you.
What Is Lentil Soup?
Lentil soup is a nourishing and comforting dish made from lentils, a type of legume known for its high protein and fiber content. This soup is a staple in various cultures, celebrated for its versatility, heartiness, and ability to showcase flavors. Whether enjoyed as a standalone meal or paired with crusty bread or rice, lentil soup offers a satisfying and wholesome dining experience.
Why Cook Lentil Soup In An Instant Pot?
Cooking Lentil Soup in an Instant Pot offers several advantages, making it a popular choice for many home cooks. Here are some reasons why using an Instant Pot for Lentil Soup can be beneficial:
Time Efficiency: Instant Pots are known for their ability to significantly reduce cooking time. Lentils, which typically require a longer cooking period, can be prepared in a fraction of the time in an Instant Pot. The pressure cooking feature allows lentils to cook quickly and efficiently, making it a time-saving option for busy individuals.
One-Pot Convenience: An Instant Pot is a versatile kitchen appliance that functions as a multi-cooker. This means you can sauté, cook, and simmer all in the same pot. For Lentil Soup, you can start by simply adding all your ingredients into the instant pot without any sautéing OR you can start sautéing onions, garlic, and spices directly in the Instant Pot before adding the lentils and other ingredients. This one-pot convenience not only saves time but also reduces the number of dishes to clean.
Flavor Infusion: The sealed environment of the Instant Pot traps and intensifies flavors, resulting in a more flavorful Lentil Soup. The pressure cooking process allows the spices and aromatics to infuse into the lentils, creating a rich and deeply flavored curry.
Consistent Results: The Instant Pot's precise temperature control and automated settings ensure consistent cooking results. This is particularly beneficial for lentils, as it helps achieve the ideal level of tenderness without the risk of overcooking or uneven textures.
Set-and-Forget Convenience: Once you've added the ingredients and set the Instant Pot, you can walk away and let it do its job. This set-and-forget convenience is especially advantageous when preparing lentils, which require a simmering process. The Instant Pot's timer and auto-shutoff features give you the freedom to attend to other tasks without worrying about the cooking process.
Preserving Nutrients: The sealed environment of the Instant Pot helps retain more nutrients in the food compared to traditional cooking methods. Lentils are a rich source of protein and other essential nutrients, and using an Instant Pot helps preserve their nutritional value.
Tender Lentils: The pressure cooking method of the Instant Pot ensures that lentils are cooked to perfection—tender but not mushy. This is crucial for achieving the right texture in Lentil Recipes.
Adaptability: Instant Pots come with various settings, allowing you to adapt the cooking method based on the type of lentils you're using. Whether it's red lentils that cook quickly or firmer varieties that require a bit more time, the Instant Pot accommodates different types of lentils seamlessly.
Health Benefits Of Lentils
Lentils are a staple in many countries for centuries. That's because not only are they economical, but they are also jam-packed with several health benefits. If you are among those who haven't incorporated lentils in their diet, here is why you should start eating lentils more often:
- Lentils are rich in nutrients and minerals like folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus,
copper, zinc, etc.
- These are high in dietary fiber, which makes them ideal for improving your digestive health.
They also help in regulating bowel movements.
- These are an excellent source of plant-based protein, therefore, are a perfect substitute for
- Since it is rich in soluble fiber, it helps in lowering cholesterol levels in the blood.
- Because it is rich in magnesium and folate, it also promotes heart health. It also protects the
heart from several diseases like stroke etc.
- It also regulates the level of sugar in the blood.
- Since it is a rich source of iron, it helps to provide energy to the body.
- Lentils also aid in weight loss. That's because a cup of cooked lentils contains about 230 calories and as a result, it makes you feel full for longer.
Do You Need To Soak Lentils Before Cooking In An Instant Pot?
The answer to whether to soak lentils before cooking or not is a big debate. However, in my opinion, it is your choice. The main reason people soak lentils before cooking is to soften them up. This way the cooking time will be reduced. However, when you are making it in an instant pot, you don't really have to worry about the cooking time. That is because the instant pot is designed to cook food instantly.
Thus, you don't have to soak lentils before cooking them in an instant pot. However, it does recommend you rinse it a couple of times. This way, you will get rid of the dirt and debris.
A word of caution: Soaking lentils removes naturally existing anti-nutrients and makes them easy to digest. So, for people who have gas troubles or a weak digestive system, I recommend they soak lentils for about 20 minutes before cooking. This way, the cooked lentils won't cause you gas trouble. Also, remember, if you are soaking lentils, the cooking time in an instant pot will be reduced by 2 minutes.
Ingredients For Lentil Soup Instant Pot
The core ingredients for lentil soup typically include lentils, vegetables such as onions, carrots, and celery, aromatic herbs like garlic and thyme, and a flavorful broth or stock. Additional spices like cumin, coriander, and bay leaves may be added to enhance the soup's complexity.
Carrots: Cleaned and chopped
Celery: If you including the leaves chop them as you would a herb otherwise just the stalks.
Tip: You can substitute celery for fennel or bok choy.
Lentils: I have used dried brown lentils for this recipe. However, you can use green lentils as
well. Brown lentils have a subtle and earthy flavor which I really like.
Olive Oil: For drizzling before serving (optional)
Vegetable Stock: Water or stock both work except that stock adds flavor to the lentils.
Onion: You can use either red onion or white onion.
Involtini spice: To bring an earthy umami flavor to the recipe. We use this Involtini Spice.
How To Make Instant Pot Lentil Soup?
Making lentil curry in an instant pot is super easy; all you have to do is follow these simple steps: And it doesnt start with frying onions, although you can start on sauté if you like.
Step 1: Firstly, rinse lentils two to three times to get the lid of the dirt and debris.
Step 2: Add all the onion, bay leaves and remaining vegetables.
Step 3: Add the water, stock, spices including your soup/stew seasoning and the salt & pepper. Add the Worcestershire Sauce, tomato paste and taste/adjust the seasoning. Mix well so that the ingredients are well incorporated.
Step 4: Turn the lever to SEAL and press HIGH PRESSURE and cook for 20 minutes.
Step 5: Let the instant pot release pressure naturally, meaning that you do nothing for about 10 minutes allowing the pressure to simmer down naturally. Thereafter, carefully turn the lever from SEAL to VENT which will then force the remaining pressure out. The pin will drop and you can now safely open your instant pot.
Step 6: Serve with fresh greens, herbs, bread or a dollop of yogurt and enjoy!
Step 7: Mix well and serve
How To Store Instant Pot Lentil Soup?
You can store the left-over lentil soup by placing it in an air-tight container and storing it in the
refrigerator for up to 5 days. However, make sure the lentils are at room temperature before storing. Furthermore, you can also freeze the lentil soup for up to three months. Place it in an air-tight container or Ziplock bag and freeze. And when you want to reuse it, simply thaw them and reheat. It will turn as good as new.
What Goes Well With Instant Pot Lentil Soup?
Lentil curry is versatile, so that you can serve it with several different dishes. Although you can enjoy it as a soup, here are a few sides that go very well with the instant pot lentil curry:
- Coconut rice: Delicious, slightly sweet coconut rice is a perfect side to coconut curry. The flavors
and textures go very well together.
- Cauliflower rice: you can also enjoy lentil curry with cauliflower rice. It is ideal to satisfy your
- Garlic bread: serve lentil curry alongside vegan garlic bread.
- Flatbread: lentil curry is traditionally served with flatbread In south Indian cuisine. The two
things go really well together.
- Bread bowl: who doesn't love delicious soup or curry served in a bread bowl. It doesn't just look
fancy but is awesome to eat as well.
Lentil soup recipes vary worldwide, reflecting regional culinary influences. Variations may include the addition of tomatoes for a tangy twist, the use of different spices for depth of flavor, or the incorporation of leafy greens such as spinach or kale for added nutrition.
More Variation Options
Instant Pot Lentil Curry: Add curry powder, cumin, coriander, and garam masala to the soup for an Indian-inspired flavor.
Lentil Stew: Add more stock or water to create a thicker consistency, and include hearty vegetables like sweet potatoes and kale.
Chili Lentils: Add chili powder, cumin, and diced tomatoes with green chilies for a spicy kick.
Instant Pot Lentil and Rice: Add cooked rice to the soup for a more filling meal.
Instant Pot Lentil Salad: Chill the soup in the fridge and serve it cold with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a lemon vinaigrette dressing.
Lentil soup is a nutritional powerhouse, boasting high levels of protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. Lentils are an excellent source of plant-based protein, making this soup a popular choice for vegetarians and vegans. The fiber content supports digestive health, while the combination of vegetables contributes essential vitamins and antioxidants.
Lentil soup holds cultural significance in many regions and is often prepared during religious or celebratory occasions. Its widespread popularity is a testament to its ability to provide nourishment, warmth, and a sense of home in a bowl.
In summary, lentil soup is a wholesome, nutrient-dense dish that transcends cultural boundaries. Its simplicity, adaptability, and nutritional benefits make it a beloved and enduring culinary classic enjoyed by people around the world.
FAQs: Instant Pot Lentil Soup
These FAQs provide essential information to guide you through the process of making delicious Instant Pot Lentil Soup. Adjustments can be made based on personal preferences and dietary needs.
Can I use any type of lentils for Instant Pot Lentil Soup?
Yes, you can use various lentil varieties, such as green, brown, red, or a combination. Adjust the cooking time based on the type of lentils you choose.
Do I need to soak lentils before cooking in the Instant Pot?
No, lentils don't require soaking, which is one of the advantages of using an Instant Pot. The pressure cooking method allows for quick and efficient cooking without the need for pre-soaking.
How much liquid should I use for Instant Pot Lentil Soup?
The liquid ratio can vary based on personal preference. A common ratio is 3 cups of broth or water per 1 cup of lentils. Adjust based on your desired soup consistency.
Can I make Instant Pot Lentil Soup in advance?
Yes, Instant Pot Lentil Soup reheats well. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or freeze for longer storage.
How long does it take to cook Instant Pot Lentil Soup?
The actual cooking time in the Instant Pot is relatively short, typically around 10-15 minutes under high pressure. However, the overall process, including coming to pressure and natural release, may take around 30-40 minutes.
How do I avoid the "Burn" message on my Instant Pot?
Ensure there's enough liquid in the pot, especially if using ingredients prone to sticking. If you receive a "Burn" message, release pressure, stir, and add more liquid if needed.
Can I make Instant Pot Lentil Soup with meat?
Certainly! You can add cooked sausage, ground meat, or diced chicken for added protein. Adjust cooking times accordingly.
How do I thicken or thin the soup if needed?
To thicken, let the soup simmer with the lid off after pressure cooking. To thin, add more broth or water until it reaches your desired consistency.
Cooking Lentil Soup in an Instant Pot offers a combination of time efficiency, flavor enhancement, and convenience, making it a popular choice for those looking to prepare a delicious and nutritious meal with minimal effort.
Lentil soup is versatile and can be served as a standalone dish or accompanied by various sides. It pairs well with crusty bread, rice, or a side salad. A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, or a dollop of yogurt can add a finishing touch to enhance the flavors.
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Instant Pot Lentil Soup
- 2 Carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 Celery stalks, chopped
- 1 Onion, diced
- 2 to 3 Garlic cloves, sliced or diced
- 2 Bay leaves
Lentils, Tomatoes & Seasonings
- 2 Cups Brown lentils, no presoaking if possible
- 410 Grams Chopped canned tomatoes
- 8 to 10 Cups Liquid, stock/water or half and half of both
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon Involtini spice or your preferred soup seasoning
- 1 or 2 Tbsps Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbsps Tomato paste
- Vegetables: Add all the chopped/diced vegetables into the inner pot of the IP.2 Carrots, roughly chopped, 2 Celery stalks, chopped, 1 Onion, diced, 2 to 3 Garlic cloves, sliced or diced, 2 Bay leaves
- Lentils, Tomatoes & Seasonings: Add the lentils, tomatoes, stock, salt & pepper and Involtini spice or your preferred soup/stew seasoning. Add the Worcestershire Sauce, tomato paste and taste/adjust the seasoning before sealing the IP.2 Cups Brown lentils, no presoaking if possible, 410 Grams Chopped canned tomatoes, Salt and pepper to taste, 1 tablespoon Involtini spice or your preferred soup seasoning, 1 or 2 Tbsps Worcestershire sauce, 2 Tbsps Tomato paste, 8 to 10 Cups Liquid, stock/water or half and half of both
- Seal the Instant Pot: Turn the lever to SEAL and press HIGH PRESSURE and cook for 20 minutes. Please note: The IP will take roughly 20 to 30 minutes to start cooking (it's dependent on the amount of liquid in the IP).
- Release The Pressure: Let the instant pot release pressure naturally, meaning that you do nothing for about 10 minutes allowing the pressure to simmer down naturally. Thereafter, carefully turn the lever from SEAL to VENT which will then force the remaining pressure out. The pin will drop and you can now safely open your instant pot.
- Serve with fresh greens, herbs, bread or a dollop of yogurt and enjoy!