A bowl of this vegan Italian Lentil Soup is guaranteed to make your day better. It’s an easy, protein-packed, and nutritious one-pot recipe that can be made on the stove, in the Instant Pot, or in a slow cooker.
This Italian Lentil Soup is the ultimate one-pot recipe. Not only is it packed with budget-friendly, vegan, and everyday ingredients, but one bowl will keep you feeling full and satisfied for hours.
You’ll find protein-packed lentils, vegetables, and a medley of Italian herbs and seasonings in every spoonful. Once this vegetable lentil soup is done simmering on the stove, you’ll be left with a huge batch to enjoy for weeknight dinners, meal prep, and leftovers the next day.
The best part? You can make this vegan lentil soup recipe on the stove, in the Instant Pot, or in a crockpot. All 3 methods are hands-off and keep cleanup to a minimum.
What kind of lentils are best for lentil soup?
Dried green and brown lentils are best in lentil soup because they hold their shape well when cooked for a long period of time. Both are very tender, earthy, and hearty, ensuring that one bowl of soup will fill you right up.
Red or yellow lentils won’t work here. They break down very easily and will turn to mush if cooked in a pot of soup. Instead, save the red lentils for vegan bolognese sauce and yellow lentils for yellow curry or dahl.
Ingredients and substitutions
Every spoonful is heavy on the vegetables and Italian herbs, making this soup as healthy and satisfying as it is flavorful. Here’s what you need:
- Green or brown lentils - Before you start cooking with lentils, make sure you rinse them well through a fine mesh sieve and pick out any debris.
- Vegetables - Like yellow onion, garlic, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and zucchini. A can of roasted pureed tomatoes also gives the soup added tang and sweetness.
- Herbs - This soup uses a handful of dried and fresh Italian herbs, like rosemary, oregano, basil, celery salt, ground fennel, granulated onion, and granulated garlic. A pre-mixed blend of Italian seasoning works just as well.
- Vegan beef broth - Vegan-friendly bouillon or vegetable broth work just as well, but I like the heartiness vegan beef broth adds.
- Balsamic vinegar - For a hint of tang and umami at the end. Feel free to replace this with soy sauce or tamari.
How to make Italian lentil soup on the stove
Follow these easy step-by-step instructions to make the best lentil soup ever:
- Saute the onions: Heat some oil in a large soup pot, then add the onions. Saute until they’re soft and translucent.
- Add the rest: Next, add the rest of the ingredients (except the balsamic). Stir and bring it up to a boil.
- Let it simmer: Reduce the heat to a simmer before adding a lid on top. Let the soup cook until the lentils are tender (about 1 hour).
- Season and serve: Take the lentil soup off of the heat and season with balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Serve in bowls with crusty bread or focaccia on the side and enjoy! For full ingredients and instructions see printable recipe card below
Would you rather make it in the Instant Pot or slow cooker? Scroll down to the FAQs section to learn how!
- Add extra vegetables - Like diced potatoes, squash, bell peppers, or chopped spinach or kale (add these at the end).
- If you use brown lentils - Check them for doneness around the 40-minute mark.
- Oil free - Saute the vegetables in broth or water instead and make sure the broth or bouillon you use is oil free.
Frequently asked questions
To make Instant Pot lentil soup, saute the onions in the oiled pot on Saute mode. Cancel Saute mode and stir in the rest of the ingredients (except the balsamic). Seal the lid on top and set the valve to the “sealing” position.
Cook on High Pressure for 15 minutes. When time is up, let the pressure release naturally (20 to 30 minutes). Once the pin has dropped, take off the lid and stir in the balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Serve and enjoy.
Absolutely! Add all of the ingredients (except the balsamic) to the bowl of a slow cooker. Cover with a lid and cook on High for 4 to 5 hours or on Low for 6 to 7 hours. Once it’s done, stir in the balsamic, salt, and pepper, then serve.
No, there’s no need to soak the lentils first. Just rinse them well, pick out any debris, then toss them in the pot.
I don’t recommend using canned lentils in this recipe. Cooking dried lentils directly in the soup adds an earthiness that can’t be replicated with canned lentils.
The cooled leftovers will stay fresh for up to 5 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Yes, it freezes very well! Keep the soup in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. When it’s time to eat, let the frozen soup thaw in the fridge or on the kitchen counter before reheating in a pot on the stove or in the microwave.
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Enjoy everyone! Happy Day! Please feel free to comment below and give this recipe a rating. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!Print