Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup

Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup

Hearty, smoky, and as spicy as you like it, our Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup features four types of ground chiles for the perfect blend of flavor and heat. Top it off with a dollop of cool and creamy coconut yogurt sauce for the perfect plant-based meal. If cilantro, lime, and green lentils are more your thing, try our Instant Pot Chipotle Lentil Soup.

Before you start clicking around looking for the chile powder online, know that you can buy chipotle chile powder (this is ground smoked chipotles) in the spice aisle of most chain grocery stores. This is the only one we recommend buying premade. If you have an international grocery store nearby, you’ll find dried whole ancho and guajillo chiles in the Hispanic foods aisle and Kashmiri chiles in the Indian foods aisle. You’ll be able to buy all the chiles combined for less than the price of pack of chiles or jar of powder on Amazon, so shop local if you can.

Simply cut the chiles lengthwise and remove the stems and seeds, then heat a dry pan over medium heat. Toast the chiles for about 15-30 seconds on each side then cool on a wire rack before grinding in a food processor or spice grinder. Store in a glass airtight container for up to six months. Use them in all your favorite recipes or make your own Tajin-style seasoning.

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Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup

Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup

Hearty, smoky, and as spicy as you like it, our Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup is the perfect gluten-free, plant-based meal.

  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 10 1x



For the Soup

  • 8 cups unsalted vegetable broth
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans diced fire roasted tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 8-ounce container cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups dry red lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced*
  • 1 lemon, zested, juiced, and divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, stripped
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tsp ground Kashmiri chiles (about 6 whole)
  • 1 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp guajillo chile powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp caraway seeds, measured then ground

For the Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 cup plain, unsweetened coconut yogurt (we used So Delicious plain, unsweetened)
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice plus zest of half a lemon (reserved from above)
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp caraway seeds, measured then ground
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, stripped
  • 1/8 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • Optional: fresh thyme or caraway seeds for garnish


For the Soup 

  1. Prep the vegetables and set aside individually (*if desired, lightly char the bell peppers first), sort the lentils and set aside in a fine mesh strainer.
  2. Set Instant Pot to sauté, add oil and onion and cook until translucent and beginning to caramelize, about 5 minutes, stirring as needed. Add carrots, celery, and mushrooms and cook another 3-4 minutes. Add bell pepper and garlic, and cook another 1 minute, stirring frequently to avoid burning the garlic.
  3. While vegetables are cooking, combine the cumin, coriander, chile powders, paprikas, black pepper, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and caraway in a small bowl. Once vegetables are done, turn sauté mode off, and add 1 cup of broth to deglaze the pot, scraping up any browned bits, then add the seasoning mixture and stir. Rinse the lentils well, then add to the pot along with the tomatoes, thyme leaves, and remaining broth.
  4. Seal the Instant Pot and set to Manual/High for 8 minutes. When cooking time is complete, allow natural release for 15 minutes, then vent manually. Once the pin drops, remove cover and stir to find and remove the bay leaf. Add reserved lemon juice zest (see below) and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir and serve topped with yogurt sauce and garnished with fresh thyme and caraway seeds, if desired.

For the Yogurt Sauce

  1. While the soup is cooking, juice and zest the lemon. To a medium bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice and half of the zest. Reserve the remaining juice and zest and set aside for the soup.
  2. Add yogurt and xanthan gum to a medium bowl. Stir vigorously to combine, then strip the thyme leaves and add to the bowl along with the remaining sauce ingredients. Stir well, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Total time does not include pressurizing/release time.

Refrigerate soup in a glass airtight container up to five days. Freeze in airtight containers up to six months.

Refrigerate yogurt mixture in a glass airtight container up to five days, stir before using.

Nutrition Estimate Per Serving (1.5 CUPS, SOUP ONLY) – Calories: 172, Fat: 2.2g, Saturated Fat: .1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: .1g, Monounsaturated Fat: .9g, Cholesterol: 0g, Sodium: 512mg, Potassium: 436g, Carbohydrates: 31.9g total/26.4g net, Fiber: 5.5g Sugar: 7g, Protein: 11.5g, Vitamin A: 95%, Vitamin C:110%, Calcium: 11%, Iron: 18% (based on 2,000 calorie diet).

Nutrition Estimate Per Serving (1.5 CUPS SOUP + 1.5 TABLESPOONS YOGURT SAUCE) – Calories: 190, Fat: 2.4g, Saturated Fat: .2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: .1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 0g, Sodium: 515mg, Potassium: 437g, Carbohydrates: 32g total/26.5g net, Fiber: 5.5g Sugar: 7g, Protein: 11.5g, Vitamin A: 95%, Vitamin C:110%, Calcium: 11%, Iron: 18%, Vitamin B12 10% (based on 2,000 calorie diet). Calculated using So Delicious plain, unsweetened coconut yogurt.

  • Author: Fresh. Out.
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Category: Soup, Plant-Based
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Vegan
  • Diet: Gluten Free



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