“Comfort food” gets its name for a good reason and I’m a big fan of making easy, comforting soups like this Lentil Soup, that can feed a crowd. Even if you are a crowd of one, it’s handy to have the leftovers for lunch or freeze portions to heat up when you can’t think of what to make. Lentils are a fantastic source of protein, iron, B vitamins, manganese, and phosphorous. They are also very high in fiber, which promotes healthy digestion.
Since my household includes gluten-free and dairy-free eaters, I’ve left those ingredients out for this lentil soup, but cheese can easily be added afterwards, if desired. You can make this on the stove or in an instapot, and I’ve included instructions for both. Enjoy!
Vegetarian Lentil Soup
This is a fast and easy soup—especially using two of Trader Joe’s pre-cooked steamed lentil packs and a mirepoix mix (chopped carrot, onion, and celery)—though I prefer to chop mine fresh. Serve with your choice of sausage or garlic-rubbed toast with olive oil for a bigger meal; garnish with grated cheese, or spice it up with a sprinkle of cayenne or chili powder. I warm this up for breakfast and top it with a fried egg!
- 2 lbs pre-cooked lentils*
- 3 large carrots, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Water or broth as needed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse all vegetables in cool water before preparing.
- Heat olive oil in a medium-sized stew pot and add veggies with a pinch of salt to help them sweat.
- Sauté on medium heat until softened, about 5-10 minutes. Instapot: Use sauté setting until softened.
- Add lentils and stir to combine.
- Add just enough hot water or broth to cover the lentils and bring to a gentle boil, adding more liquid as needed. Lower heat and simmer on low, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. (The longer it simmers, the deeper the flavors will be.) Instapot: Switch to simmer to eat within 20 minutes or use slow cook LOW for 2 hours.
- Add water or broth to reduce thickness, if desired. Use an immersion blender if you prefer a smooth lentil soup.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Keep in refrigerator for up to 7 days; freeze for up to 60 days.
Serves 8–10. Prep time, 30 minutes. *Cook’s Note: Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils are pre-cooked. To cook dried brown or green lentils, add 1 cup dried lentils (rinse in cold water before cooking) to 2 cups water; bring to a boil, then reduce heat and and gently simmer until soft, about 20-30 minutes; drain and use as desired.
Pia Hinckle is publisher at The FruitGuys.