I told you I would be back with more soup recipes and of course Instant Pot ones too. I kept my promise! And today’s Instant Pot lentil soup is a delicious one and incredibly easy to make too. You can really use whatever you have on hand to make it your own and feel free to customize it to your liking, I’ll include lots of options for you at the end of this post too.
Lentils: Are You Into Them?
Growing up, I always had lentils and so they’ve long been a part of my diet thanks to my grandma who was Italian and lived with us for years. She was probably the one who really got me into lentils growing up. We would have them in a soup, just like this Instant Pot lentil soup, salads and stews. To be honest, I thought everyone liked lentils until I moved out on my own and found out not everyone is a fan. I’ve been told, they are mushy, they don’t have any flavour or texture among other things. This was shocking to me because I’ve always loved them, so I made it a mission to try and convert people onto the lentil bandwagon. So this Instant Pot lentil soup is one way of doing just that, I think it works. Because when I made this the first time for someone who hates lentils, he liked it. And not just a pity like, he really liked it.
Nutritional Profile of Lentils:
Lentils come in many different varieties and are often classified according to their colour. They come in red, green, brown, yellow, black and orange. My personal favourite tends to be black, brown and green because they hold up the best and don’t get mushy. Lentils have also been around for a long time, since 6000 B.C.E. And they pack a really nice nutritional punch similar to beans, although they are easier to digest. I also like the fact that they can be cooked quicker and without soaking, whereas beans should be soaked before cooking. And just like beans, they also pack a lot of fiber. Lentils help to lower cholesterol and also manage blood sugar due to their fibre content. In one analysis of dietary data collected by validated food frequency questionnaires from over 90,000 women, it was found that consuming lentils two or more times a week was associated with a reduction in breast cancer risk. What was most surprising with this was that this was specific to lentils and beans. Intake of tea, onions, apples, string beans, broccoli, green pepper or blueberries had no protective effect.
Are you a fan of kale? This wasn’t a food item I personally grew up eating. In fact, I don’t think I had kale until about five or six years ago, when it became super trendy. The first few times I had it, I didn’t care for it too much, so I stuck to eating them in kale chip form only. Then I found out about the magic trick of making sure your kale is well massaged if you are eating it raw and that pretty much changed my life. I now crave kale salads all the time. I also love throwing some kale into different soups and stews just like I did with this Instant Pot lentil soup. It adds a nice boost of greens and nutrients. Kale is closely related to the cabbage family and just like lentils, they also come in different varieties. One of my favourites is lacinato otherwise known as dinosaur kale because it is milder and sweeter than the curly kind. Plus I find it is more delicate in texture as well, making it easier to add to soups, sauté or to eat raw in a salad. Kale is one of the most highly nutritious vegetables around. One cup of kale supplies more than 70% of the RDI (recommended daily intake) for vitamin C. It is also a good source of fiber and includes lots of vitamins and minerals including iron, copper and calcium.
Instant Pot Lentil Soup:
The other ingredients in this soup are canned tomatoes, sausage, broth, onion and sweet potato. I kept it basic and I’ve played around with this soup quite a bit with other options so feel free to switch things around and add what you have on hand. For example, you can make any of the following changes:
- No sweet potato: use carrots instead, or regular white potatoes
- No pork sausage: use a chicken/turkey or beef one. Or keep it vegetarian and use a veggie based sausage.
- No chicken broth: use a vegetable broth, use bone broth or other stock.
- Depending on which type of sausage you use, you can add a few more spices as needed. I used hot Italian sausages so I found I didn’t need to add anything extra. Feel free to add some herbs like thyme, oregano or sage and maybe some chili flakes for spice.
- I topped mine with some Pecorino Romano, this is completely optional. Feel free to omit, or use parmesan as well.
The only things I think that are essential are the lentils, kale, tomatoes, some type of liquid and some type of sausage. You could also add in more veggies based on what you have on hand too. Things like celery, mushrooms, carrots or spinach would all work. And because this is made in an Instant Pot, it truly takes about 30 minutes to cook (including warm up time). Can I just gush once more about how much I like my Instant Pot!? Because the love is real. If you want to check out my review of the Instant Pot, you can check that out here.
And if you want to check out my FREE Instant Pot meal prep guide, download your own copy below.
Instant Pot Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage and Kale
- 2 Italian Sausage
- 1/2 cup onion, diced yellow or red
- 1 sweet potato, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup French green lentils, dry (rinsed)
- 15 oz canned tomatoes, diced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 6-8 stems lacinato kale, roughly chopped or torn
- 2 tbsp parsley, chopped optional
- 4 tbsp Pecorino Romano or parmesan optional
Turn the Instant Pot on and press sauté. Add the sausages (remove the casings) and crumble with a spoon and brown the sausage for about 3 to 4 minutes. Then add the onion and sweet potato. Sauté for 2 minutes more and then add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
Add the lentils, canned tomatoes, chicken broth and sea salt and pepper. Put the lid on and press manual (or Pressure cook) and set the timer for 12 minutes.
When the Instant Pot is finished cooking, release the pressure manually and turn off. Open the lid and add the chopped kale and stir.
Divide into bowls, top with optional chopped parsley and Pecorino Romano along with sea salt and pepper to taste.
The parsley is a nice touch to add on top of the finished soup as well as the cheese. Although the cheese is totally optional.
If you don't have kale, use another green.