Lately I have been trying to make lots of things from scratch. I like knowing the ingredients that go into my food, and find cooking to be relaxing, especially after a frantic day at work. That goal can sometimes become more of a pipe dream, what with working full time, volunteering, having a social life, working out and the occasional nephew-sitting duty. Enter the pressure cooker. I can’t count the number of times that I have come home late from work and used my pressure cooker to make a hearty soup or curry in under half an hour. They save tons of time, are relatively affordable and are a perfect way to make bulk meals that lend to easy leftovers. I use the InstantPot, which I have found to be really versatile and user-friendly.
This easy lentil soup recipe is a staple at our house. There is something so comforting about having fresh soup, especially when it is winter time. After spending the last few years experimenting with my diet, I have realized that I feel the best when I’m eating seasonally. For me, this mostly means having warmer foods in winter and colder foods in summertime… *Flashback to the short and painful period where I thought that it was a good idea to eat nothing but salad and raw fruit when it was freezing outside… Ugh* Having this simple and easy-to-adapt soup recipe in my back pocket has made this past seasonal transition much easier. I also find that soups and stews are a perfect way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet without feeling like you’re always laboriously eating raw greens – or to sneak them into the diet of your unsuspecting family (sorry not sorry).
This veggie soup recipe is a perfect option for when you need to use up everything in your fridge, or have a mish-mash of ingredients that don’t intuitively combine together. I have a habit of making sure I always have some variation of these ingredients on hand that I can throw together in a pinch. My favourite is to make a soup with the ingredients listed, but I also love swapping for French lentils and adding in green peas, potatoes and rosemary, for something a little more stew-like. You can also add in some kind of other whole starch like rice or quinoa to give your soup a little more substance.
- 2 litres of filtered water or low-sodium vegetable stock
- 2.5 cups split red lentils or yellow peas, thoroughly rinsed
- 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 bunch kale, torn
- ½ large white onion, chopped
- 4 large cloves of garlic, crushed or minced
- Juice of ½ medium lemon
- 1 heaping tablespoon condensed vegetable stock (omit if using liquid stock)
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: feel free to add other chopped veggies like cauliflower, sweet potato, white potato, spinach etc.
- INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS
- Add all the ingredients to the Instant Pot.
- Place on the lid and make sure the release valve is in the “sealing” position.
- Press the “Manual” button and set the timer at 15 minutes.
- The Instant Pot will warm up for about 10 minutes and then start cooking.
- Once the 25 minutes are up, slowly flip the release valve to “venting” (make sure your hood fan is on, and watch your fingers!).
- Once venting is complete, remove the lid of the Instant Pot.
- Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
- Serve and enjoy!
- TRADITIONAL COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
- In a large pot, add a splash of water, onion and garlic.
- Sauté over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes until the onion softens.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the pot.
- Increase heat to high and bring to a low boil.
- Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium-high, and simmer, uncovered, for about 18 to 22 minutes, until the lentils are fluffy and tender.
- Turn off the heat.
- Taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired.
- Serve and enjoy!
- If I'm hungrier than usual, I like to have this with a piece or two of toasted bread. Keeps in the refrigerator for about 3 days; freezes well, too!
Well, there ya go! Not so hard, was it? Let me know what you thought about this soup, and what your favourite winter staples are in the comments down below.