Instant Pot Garlic Lentil Soup

This easy Instant Pot garlic lentil soup is bursting with flavor from the roasted garlic. It tastes like it’s been cooking all day, but cooks up in less than an hour.

I didn’t grow up eating lentils, but in my adult life I’ve found that I love them. They’re one of the quickest cooking beans (no soaking required) and they’re loaded with protein, fiber, folate and iron. Plus I like their small size and versatility. There are so many different ways to prepare and eat lentils, but one of my favorites has to be soup.

I’ve shared several lentil soup recipes over the years from this cabbage lentil soup and lentil stew with kale to this butternut squash red lentil stew. This lentil soup is a bit different because we’re making it in the Instant Pot! Although, don’t worry… I’m still giving instructions for how to make it on the stove-top as well.

Bowl of lentil soup with celery and carrots. Beside the bowl is a slice of bread and parsley.

Garlic Lentil Soup Ingredients

  • vegetables – sweet yellow onion, carrots, celery and roasted garlic
  • French green or brown lentils
  • vegetable broth
  • canned diced tomatoes
  • red wine vinegar
  • tomato paste
  • olive oil
  • seasonings and spices – dried oregano, dried thyme, bay leaves, sea salt and pepper
  • optional toppings: sriracha, avocado, fresh parsley

Ingredients to make lentil soup including tomatoes, broth, carrots, lentils, onion, celery, tomato paste, garlic, vinegar and spices.

Roasted Garlic = Amazing Flavor

There’s actually a lentil soup on the menu at one of my favorite Greek restaurants in town called Stella’s. I typically order a big bowl of it as my meal with a salad on the side or convince Isaac to split a bowl with me if I’m ordering an entree. I’ve tried several times to make a lentil soup at home that tastes like Stella’s lentil soup and failed. My version has never had the same flavor… until now. And I think I figured out the secret ingredients — roasted garlic and vinegar.

By using a whole bulb of roasted garlic you get a lovely, robust garlic flavor and a hint of sweetness that permeates the whole soup. And the red wine vinegar simply brightens up the flavor of the soup. It’s kind of like salt. Whenever you feel like a dish is missing a little something, you tend to add salt, right? Well sometimes salt can do it, but other times you need something acidic like citrus juice or vinegar. In the case of this soup, vinegar is the winner!

Bowl of lentil soup with celery and carrots.

How to Roast Garlic

The first time I made   at home I fell in love. If you’ve never roasted garlic or used roasted garlic in a recipe, you need to start! Your entire house will smell amazing and it takes the recipe to the next level. Here’s how to make it:

Cut off the top – Cut the top of the garlic bulb off about ¼ inch down from the top. You want to make sure you’re cutting off a bit of each clove around the bulb. 

Prep – Place aluminum foil under the garlic bulb and drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil over top to cover the exposed cloves. Wrap the foil around the bulb tightly.

Bake – Bake the bulb at 400ºF for 30-40 minutes or until the garlic is soft and golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Remove cloves – Once cool, pop each clove out of it’s paper. Some cloves slide out really easily while others need to be encouraged out!

Side by side photos of an instant pot. In the first photo, carrots, onions and celery are being sautéed. In the second photo is the cooked lentil soup.

How to Make Garlic Lentil Soup in the Instant Pot

Sauté – Using the sauté function on high heat, heat the oil in the inner pot and then add the onion, carrots and celery and cook for about 5 minutes, until fragrant and onions are softened. Season with a little salt and pepper while cooking.

Add remaining ingredients + pressure cook – Stir in the roasted garlic, lentils, broth, diced tomatoes, vinegar, tomato paste and spices. Stir to combine. Secure the lid and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.

Release pressure – After the cooking is complete, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then quick-release the remaining pressure.

Season + serve – Remove the bay leaves, stir in the vinegar and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Ladle into bowls and serve with toppings of choice!

Lentil soup in an instant pot. A wood spoon is in the pot.

More Lentil Recipes to Try:

If you make this Instant Pot lentil soup, please be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Your feedback is super helpful for the EBF team and other readers who are thinking about making the recipe. 

 

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Bowl of lentil soup with celery and carrots. Beside the bowl is a slice of bread and parsley.

Garlic Lentil Soup


  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 10 cups
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This easy Instant Pot garlic lentil soup is bursting with flavor from the roasted garlic. It tastes like it’s been cooking all day, but cooks up in less than an hour.


Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 bulb roasted garlic (about 810 cloves), chopped*
  • 116 oz bag dry French green or brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 2 (32 oz) containers of low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt + more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper + more to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Optional toppings: sriracha, avocado, fresh parsley

Instructions

Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker

  1. Using the sauté function on high, heat oil in the inner pot for about 1 minute, until shimmering. Add the onion, carrots, celery and cook for about 5 minutes, until fragrant and onions are turning translucent. Season with a little salt and pepper while cooking.
  2. Stir in the roasted garlic, lentils, broth, diced tomatoes, vinegar, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, paprika, cumin, nutmeg, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Secure the lid and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
  3. Once the cooking is complete, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then quick-release the remaining pressure.
  4. Remove bay leaves, stir in vinegar, taste and add additional salt and pepper, if needed.
    Ladle soup into bowls and serve with toppings of choice. I personally love adding fresh parsley and a splash of sriracha.

Stove-Top

  1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery to the pot, stirring frequently for 8-10 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent. Season with a little salt and pepper while cooking. 
  2. Add roasted garlic, lentils, broth, diced tomatoes, vinegar, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, paprika, cumin, nutmeg, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring every so often, for at least 1 hour or until the lentils are soft. 
  4. Remove bay leaves, stir in vinegar, taste and add additional salt and pepper, if needed.
    Ladle soup into bowls and serve with toppings of choice. I personally love adding fresh parsley and a splash of sriracha.

Notes

  • The garlic can be roasted in advance and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. I highly recommend prepping it ahead of time to speed up the cooking process.
  • Category: Lunch/Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 cups
  • Calories: 259
  • Sugar: 8g
  • Sodium: 738mg
  • Fat: 9g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 7g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 29g
  • Fiber: 12g
  • Protein: 13g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: garlic lentil soup

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    27 comments
    1. Jenna Lewis
      October 11, 2020 AT 1:17 pm

      I thought the soup had too much vinegar and not enough broth. The lentils took way longer than the allotted time to cook.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 12, 2020 AT 12:36 am

        Hey Jenna – Thanks for your feedback. This soup isn’t meant to be very brothy, but you can always add more broth to make it more liquidy if you prefer. How long did it take for your lentils to cook?

    2. Lauren
      September 30, 2020 AT 7:06 pm

      Have made this twice now and it is delicious! It freezes perfectly and is great for meal prep. I had it with some naan on the side and it was an A+ dinner.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 1, 2020 AT 11:40 pm

        Yay! So glad this soup was a hit! Thanks so much for making it and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. I really appreciate it. 🙂

    3. CounselorChick
      September 5, 2020 AT 10:31 pm

      I did need to add more salt & a few splashes of siracha at the end. Topped it with some avocado & bit of sour cream, sprinkling of fresh dill. It’s the roasted garlic that makes this extra delicious. Great idea! Hubby said it was the best soup I’ve ever made & I make a ton of great soups. 😋

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 7, 2020 AT 5:47 pm

        Ahh that makes me so happy to hear!! SO pumped this recipe was a hit. Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. I really appreciate it. 🙂

    4. Sarah
      March 14, 2020 AT 11:10 am

      Does this freeze well? How long does it last in the fridge?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 14, 2020 AT 1:44 pm

        Hey Sarah! I think this soup would freeze just fine in an airtight container or a freezer bag. It should last about a week in the fridge.

    5. Tyler
      July 14, 2018 AT 2:35 pm

      What is a good pairing food to go with this soup

    6. Megan S.
      March 23, 2016 AT 8:59 pm

      Made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious!!! So simple and such great flavor. Hit the spot on a rainy night. Thanks for sharing.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 23, 2016 AT 9:15 pm

        Ahh.. this makes me so happy! It will taste even better tomorrow (if you have any left over). 🙂

    7. monica1210x
      March 22, 2016 AT 3:57 pm

      LOVE lentils! this soup looks awesome 🙂

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 22, 2016 AT 4:31 pm

        Thanks Monica!

    8. Kate | HappyForks.com
      March 22, 2016 AT 3:51 pm

      I totally agree! By eating only one portion of this kind of soup you’ll get almost entire daily recommended intake of folate and fiber (without mentioning all other good stuff you’ll get). And why should anyone stop after one portion?!

    9. Sam @ Barrister’s Beet
      March 22, 2016 AT 8:59 am

      I love lentils, so I’m very excited to try this! It looks delicious. I love soup year-round, too. So i’m happy to eat this throughout the spring and summer : )

    10. Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment
      March 22, 2016 AT 7:57 am

      Lentils are a nutritional powerhouse. Love them, especially a good soup when there is a chill in the air. Thank you for sharing. Great recipe.

    11. Erin
      March 21, 2016 AT 6:25 pm

      Lentil soup is basically my life during winter! I’ll have to give this version a try ????
      We are just getting out of a hot hot summer in Sydney, but once it cools down I will be making ALL the soup.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 21, 2016 AT 7:13 pm

        Hi Erin. You’ll definitely have to give this recipe a try once it cools down in Sydney! 🙂

    12. Marie
      March 21, 2016 AT 12:42 pm

      How many servings does this recipe make?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 21, 2016 AT 7:17 pm

        About 6 servings.

    13. Sue
      March 21, 2016 AT 12:04 pm

      Does it really have 51g of sugar in one bowl?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 21, 2016 AT 7:14 pm

        Oh goodness no! It has 51 grams of carbs but only 3 grams of sugar.

    14. Melissa Jane Lee
      March 21, 2016 AT 11:39 am

      This looks absolutely delicious! Lentils are one of my all-time favourite foods so I need to try this (and all the other recipes)!

    15. Veronica
      March 21, 2016 AT 11:23 am

      How many servings is this? Am I missing it?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 21, 2016 AT 7:17 pm

        It serves 6. 🙂

    16. AGS
      March 21, 2016 AT 10:02 am

      Need more lentils in my life! Love that soup bowl too – SOUP SOUP SOUP!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 22, 2016 AT 8:57 am

        I love this soup bowl too. It’s a classic.

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