Vegan Lentil Soup

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

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 roasted garlic at home I fell in love. If you’ve never roasted garlic, you have to try it! Your entire house will smell amazing and it takes any recipe that calls for garlic 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 its 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 This 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, 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!

Don’t worry! If you don’t have an Instant Pot you can still make this soup. I’m sharing stove-top instructions in the instructions as well!

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. 

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

Vegan Lentil Soup

Brittany Mullins
This vegan lentil soup is bursting with flavor from roasted garlic. It tastes like it’s been cooking all day, but cooks up in less than an hour in the Instant Pot.
4.74 from 19 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 10 cups
Calories 259 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 sweet yellow onion chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 1 bulb roasted garlic about 8–10 cloves, chopped*
  • 1 – 16 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

  • 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.
  • Stir in the roasted garlic, lentils, broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, paprika, cumin, nutmeg, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Secure the lid and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
  • Once the cooking is complete, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then quick-release the remaining pressure.
  • 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

  • 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. 
  • Add roasted garlic, lentils, broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, paprika, cumin, nutmeg, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
  • 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. 
  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 2cupsCalories: 259kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 13gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gSodium: 738mgFiber: 12gSugar: 8g
Keyword garlic lentil soup
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Recipe Rating




    70 comments
    1. Jen
      May 8, 2021 AT 1:09 pm

      5 stars
      I have made a few different lentil soups in my instant pot and this is by far my favourite! It is so flavourful:)

      1. Brittany Mullins
        May 10, 2021 AT 10:49 am

        Woo!! I’m so glad you enjoyed this lentil soup, Jen! Thanks for making it and coming back to leave a review. It means the world to me!

    2. Susan
      April 18, 2021 AT 9:05 pm

      5 stars
      Delicious and easy to make. Thank you for all the great recipes!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 19, 2021 AT 10:27 am

        So glad you enjoyed this recipe, Susan! Thanks for coming back to leave a review. I so appreciate it.

    3. Sarah
      March 31, 2021 AT 9:39 am

      Made this for dinner & served with grilled cheese 🙂

      I used minced garlic instead of the roasted and I thought it worked great with some extra addition of salt & pepper.

    4. Krista Swanson
      March 11, 2021 AT 5:04 pm

      5 stars
      Hi! I have a question I messed up and added the vinegar along with the other spices at the beginning (not at the end). The soup tastes sour. Do you have any suggestions on how to remedy this? I was thinking of sugar but I don’t know if that will make it taste funny. Thanks!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 11, 2021 AT 8:07 pm

        Oh no!! I think a little sugar would help!

    5. Heather F
      March 6, 2021 AT 8:48 am

      5 stars
      This recipe has awesome flavor, especially for a vegetarian recipe (which I love that you have so many vegetarian recipes, so thank you for that!). I agree that the roasted garlic is a must! Plus it’s so simple and was kind of fun to try for my first time. However, I don’t know what I did but my soup ended up with no liquid when I was done with it 🙈 next time I make it, I’m either going to cut back on the cooking time or add more liquid from the start.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 7, 2021 AT 11:11 pm

        So glad you loved this recipe, Heather! Thanks for the review. I really appreciate it!

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