Instant Pot Lentil Soup
I'm a little late getting to the InstantPot party, I admit. I am not sure I am ready to toss my slow cooker, and Le Creuset, but I am really happy with mine. This particular soup is a fine example of the great dishes you can make in this appliance.
Lentils are amazing: good source of fiber, nutrients and vitamins and super quick to cook. The majority of other legumes need to be soaked (preplanning?!) or cooked for hours. That's not always a weekday option, amiright? The other great part about this recipe is that it is made from pantry staples. Sure, you have a little bit of chopping ahead of you, but then the Instant pot does the rest of the (quick) work for you.
A quick note on one of the spices included below, za'atar. Za'atar is generally a combination of dried oregano, thyme, and/or marjoram, with sumac and toasted sesame seeds. So you have some herby notes, tangy citrusy notes and nutty notes. Super tasty! If you don't have any on-hand, you can sub the same amount of Italian seasoning and then up the vinegar you add at the end a little.
This is a great stew the second day, too.
Instant Pot Lentil Soup
Serves 6 to 8 Ingredients
3 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice 3 medium celery stalks with leaves, cut into 1/2-inch dice 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 small head broccoli, cut into florets and stem cut into bite-sized pieces 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika 1 bay leaf 1 1/2 teaspoon za'atar 1 1/2 cups French green (Puy) lentils 4 cups store-bought or homemade low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth One (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (or canned whole peeled tomatoes and you can cut them up yourself with kitchen scissors) 1 to 2 cups water or broth (optional, if you want the stew to be a little less thick) 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar vinegar or lemon juice, to taste
Select the sauté setting on the Instant Pot and let the pot heat for a few minutes before adding the oil. Once the oil is hot, stir in the onion and a pinch of salt.
Cook, stirring frequently and reducing the heat if necessary to prevent burning and your Instant Pot from overheating, until the onion is lightly browned and completely soft, 5 to 6 minutes.
Stir in the carrots, celery, garlic, broccoli, salt, and pepper and cook until the carrots are just starting to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the paprikas, bay leaf, za'atar, and lentils and cook for one minute, stirring to coat the lentils with the spices and seasonings. Select the Cancel setting.
Add the broth and then pour the crushed tomatoes on top. Stir gently to combine. Secure the lid. Select the Pressure Cook setting at high pressure and set the cook time to 12 minutes.
After cooking for 12 minutes, allow a natural pressure release for 15 minutes, then use quick release to finish venting, if necessary.
Open the pot. The soup will be quite thick at this point. If you like the soup to have a stew-like consistency, leave it as is; if you prefer a thinner consistency, pour in about 1 cup water (or broth) or more until you achieve your desired consistency.
Stir in the vinegar, taste, and adjust seasoning, if needed. Enjoy!
No Instant Pot? No problem. Follow the directions above using a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Once you’ve added the broth and tomatoes, bring the mixture to a simmer, cover, reduce heat, and simmer until the lentils are very tender and the soup is thick, about 45 minutes. Check the soup occasionally and add water if it becomes too thick.