This Slow Cooker Lentil Soup is a hearty and healthy vegetarian meal that comes together with super simple ingredients in less than 10 minutes hands on time. I love lentils all year round (my grandmother made them all the time), but this meal also felt like the perfect January restart meal after a month of eating not as healthy. My children like lentils, but do not love them so they prefer them mixed with a side of rice or pasta. I find this works well, because then I have extra for lunches for me.
This soup comes together with basic pantry and refrigerator staples. All you need is 10 minutes to gather the ingredients and do the celery, onion and carrot chopping. There are some shortcuts you can take to make this even easier.
Tips & Adaptations for Slow Cooker Lentil Soup
- Take a short cut and buy your carrots, celery and onion pre-chopped. Most grocery stores sell this in the produce section. When you see it you can buy extra and freeze one so you always have it on hand. Additionally, Cascadian Farms sells a frozen one.
- I buy my garlic frozen and pre-minced to save time. I use Dorot which you can find in many grocery chains.
- Any broth works and if you don’t have enough you can use half water.
- If you have a meat lover you can bulk this up by adding sliced sausage.
- As mentioned above my children like this best with a side of rice or pasta to bulk it up.
- I have added cauliflower rice for myself for extra veggies and to stretch it a little more.
- If you have a picky eater who doesn’t love cookied pieces of veggies (like my youngest), you can puree it.
How to Store
- This will stay in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- To Reheat:
- Place in microwave for 1-2 minutes.
- Warm in a pot on the stove for 5-10 minutes.
- You can also freeze this for up to 2 months.
- To Defrost
- Take out the night before and place in the refrigerator and then follow the reheat steps above.
- Leave on the counter in the morning to defrost and then follow the reheat steps above.
- Defrost and reheat from frozen in a pot on the stove (this take up to 20 minutes).
I love mine best with spinach, parmesan and a hunk of bread – enjoy!
- 1 cup onion chopped about 1 small onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped carrot
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups dry brown or green lentils make sure to rinse
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 6 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock (if you like more liquid you can add more at the end)
- 1 large bay leaf
OPTION TO ADD AT THE END
- 2-4 cups baby spinach
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
OPTIONAL SERVING SUGGESTIONS
- Fresh Bread
- Rice I use frozen to make this easy
- Orzo or Quinoa
SLOW COOKER DIRECTIONS
- Chop your onion, celery and carrot.
- Add all ingredients to a 6 quart slow cooker and set to high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours (my slow cooker took the full 8 hours). If adding spinach do not add until it is done cooking.
- It is done when the lentils and veggies are soft. Remove the bay leaf, option to add the vinegar and more liquid if you like a thinner consistency. Additionally, if everyone likes parmesan cheese you may add some now.
- If using spinach stir to combine now or portion soups to those who don’t want spinach and then add in. (I only add spinach 50% of the time and usually to just mine, I add a large handful to my bowl and then pour the soup over and stir to combine.
- Serve with extra parmesan cheese (optional), and your desired accompaniment - see above for options.
INSTANT POT DIRECTIONS
- Set a 6-quart pressure cooker to saute mode for 8 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, onion, a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft.
- Cancel the saute function. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
- Secure the lid, select the manual setting, and set it to high pressure for 15 minutes.
- When the pressure cooker timer is done, allow to naturally release for 15 minutes.
- Follow remaining slow cooker steps 3-5.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat in a large Dutch oven. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, stirring to combine. Cook until the onions soften, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the celery, carrot, garlic, and salt, stirring to combine. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the lentils, tomato paste, bay leaf, and stock, stirring to combine. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Cook, covered, until the lentils are soft, about 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Follow remaining slow cooker steps 3-5.