Instant Pot French Lentil Soup

Instant Pot French Lentil Soup


  • Noun: giving a feeling of comfort, warmth, and relaxation.

  • Adjective: a soft covering to keep a teapot, boiled egg, etc., hot.

  • Verb: give (someone) a feeling of comfort or complacency.

The dictionary definition might as well include French Lentil Soup, too. It fits right in there between "giving a feeling a comfort” and “keeping warm.”

Red lentils are a regular in our house (dal, or this stew) but I was feeling explorative and grabbed French lentils at the store one day. It was a very, very good impulsive decision.

In addition to French lentils, bay leaves, white wine, and fresh thyme go into the pot. What comes out is this steaming hot, broth-y stew that boasts every flavor a “French” soup should. It’s amazing what a splash of wine can do!

Lentils are not the first thing I think of when I imagine French food (maybe brie, or baguettes, or wine) but lentils are a huge part of French culture. Even though lentils originated in the Middle East, Le Puy Lentils (French Lentils) are specific to France and have the same Protected Designation of Origin as Champagne — to be called lentilles du Puy, they must be grown in Puy.

Instant Pot French Lentil Soup
Instant Pot French Lentil Soup

The classic French preparation of lentils is with Dijon Mustard and Red wine vinegar, though on a cold day — ehem, virtually every day from mid-October to March, here - the lentil soup is the most satisfying, warming thing you could lay your eyes on.

This recipe is also plant-based, making it perfect for #MeatlessMonday or your everyday, if that’s your thing. But the flavor is so rich and the lentils so satisfying, that no one at your table will miss a thing. (Psst…. if they do, it is common in some countries to serve sliced sausage over lentils).

One more thing! This whole recipe comes together in your Instant Pot. 12 minutes pressurized, a sprinkle of parsley, a glass of Pinot Grigio, and you have your self a very pretty little meal. Weeknights? Conquered. Lazy Sunday evenings? Done and done.

Instant Pot French Lentil Soup

Instant Pot French Lentil Soup

Published December 6, 2018 by
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Serves: 8   |    Active Time: 20 minutes


  • 2 cups french lentils, rinsed (also called Le Puy or French Green Lentils)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Splash white wine (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6-1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper 
  • Leaves from 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt (more if using homemade broth, less if using store-bought broth with sodium), plus more to taste
  • Garnish: minced parsley

  • Directions:

    1. Heat coconut oil in the bottom of an Instant Pot on the sauté setting. Add onion, garlic, and celery, and sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until onions are translucent and starting to brown. Add the splash of wine and stir. Continue to cook on sauté setting until wine has cooked off.
    2. Add carrots, canned tomatoes, lentils, bay leaves, vegetable broth, black pepper, salt and thyme, and stir.
    3. Place lid on Instant Pot and turn to “Bean/Chili” setting with timer set to 14 minutes and vent in the sealed position.
    4. When timer goes off, release the pressure. Stir soup and season with salt additional to taste. Serve topped with minced parsley.
    5. Tip: For extra veggies in your meal, place a handful of baby kale or spinach in the bottom of your bowl when serving, and spoon the hot lentils over top.


    Instant Pot Yellow Dal

    Instant Pot Yellow Dal

    The air smells of pine as it whips in the window. Up here, it’s 62 degrees. The Aspens have turned; their bright yellow leaves look stark against the pine trees mixed among them. The air is thin, there is not a bar of cell service to be found, and the moon is up. This is Mount Evans.

    We’ve gone to Mount Evans to climb several times this summer and the change in elevation is always the perfect escape from the summer heat. (Eh-hem, I’ve obnoxiously shared the exact same view every weekend for the last month on my Instagram stories. I just can’t help it — the view takes my breath away every time.) Lately though, it’s been even better than usual because of the fall colors and crisp air. And, even I avoid cooking when it’s ninety degrees out, but when it’s only sixty-two, bring ooooon the baked goods, stews, and cozy foods.

    Instant Pot Yellow Dal
    Instant Pot Yellow Dal

    I love red lentils when the weather starts to turn, and my go-to is dal. It’s creamy, spicy, satisfying, and so easy to make in an Instant Pot. So easy! The best weekend days start with breakfast, take us climbing somewhere among the Aspens, and end in dinner from the Instant Pot.

    Instant Pot Yellow Dal

    Instant Pot Yellow Dal

    Published October 11, 2018 by
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    Serves: 8   |    Active Time: 30 minutes


  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small red onions or 1 large, diced
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 1 teaspoon whole black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • Juice 1/2 lime, plus wedges for serving
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced, plus more for garnish

  • Directions:

    1. Turn the Instant Pot (affiliate link!) to sauté setting. Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil to the Instant Pot. When the oil is hot, sauté the garlic, onions, ginger, and jalapeño, stirring occasionally.
    2. While onions cook, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. When oil is hot, add mustard seed and cumin seeds, and toast until fragant. (Watch the seeds closely to avoid burning them—the cook quicly).
    3. Scape the cumin and mustard mixture into the Instant Pot. Add broth, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, ground cayenne, salt, ground black pepper, lime juice, and cilantro and stir.
    4. Place lentils in a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cool water. Strain, then add to the Instant Pot. Stir well.
    5. Place lid on Instant Pot and turn to “Manual” setting and adjust to high pressure. Set timer for 10 minutes with the seal closed.
    6. When the timer goes off, release the pressure or allow it to release naturally. Stir the lentils, and serve hot with lime wedges and cilantro.
    7. To make this on the stove top instead of an Instant Pot: Use a large soup pot. In step 3, bring everything to a simmer and cook, stirring occassionally, for 15-20 minutes, until lentils are softened through.
    8. Note: If you soak your lentils for 6-12 hours ahead of time (we usually do this), then strain water from lentils before use. Reduce broth quantity to 4 cups, and reduce cooking time to 4 minutes.


    Favorite Curried Red Lentil & Chickpea Stew with Cauliflower & Sweet Potato

    Favorite Curried Red Lentil & Chickpea Stew with Cauliflower & Sweet Potato

    This stew, heavy with red lentils, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and coconut milk, may seem like a bit of an "everything but the kitchen sink" type of recipe, and you wouldn't be wrong if you guessed that. One cold evening last winter, I pranced around the kitchen adding this and that to the Instant Pot, letting the ingredients lead the way. It's almost by accident that this stew is what it is, but ever since it's become a favorite at our table. 

    I am a big fan of Indian Daal, but sometimes wish it had a bit more to it. Extra veggies, or something to chew on. That desire is what lead me to this soup in the first place, I think, which is why I know you'll love it: it's the same spicy, savory flavor of Indian Daal, but with a new age twist incorporating cauliflower, sweet potato, and chickpeas. 

    Favorite Curried Red Lentil & Chickpea Stew with Cauliflower & Sweet Potato
    Favorite Curried Red Lentil & Chickpea Stew with Cauliflower & Sweet Potato

    Cauliflower & sweet potatoes go with coconut curry like they were made for it. Their starchiness and subtle sweetness are the perfect backdrop for ginger, garlic, and brown mustard seeds. A splash of lime brightens everything. And chickpeas--far and away my favorite legume- make this soup feel more substantial than a regular lentil soup. 

    Soak your lentils throughout the day (or even overnight) to make them easier to digest. This has the added benefit of making them cook faster too. After just a few minutes in an electric pressure cooker, the lentils are creamy and soft. 

    P.S., Snow is falling slowly out our window right now. It's barely snowed here this year, despite it already being January, so it feels like a treat. We're going to need a cozy stew to warm us up this evening! This stew is just the thing to bring spoonfuls of cozy to your guests. 💛

    Favorite Curried Red Lentil & Chickpea Stew with Cauliflower & Sweet Potato

    For a legume-free recipe inspired by these same flavors, try my Butternut Squash Coconut Curry (it's Paleo-friendly and vegetarian/vegan). 

    Favorite Curried Red Lentil & Chickpea Stew with Cauliflower & Sweet Potato

    Published January 30, 2018 by
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    Serves: 8   |    Total Time: 15 active minutes


    • 2 cup dry red lentils
    • 1 teaspoon coconut oil 
    • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 3-4 cups cauliflower florets
    • 1 green chile pepper, minced (serrano or jalapeño— serrano is the more mild option)
    • 2 cups diced sweet potatoes 
    • 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, strained 
    • 1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
    • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
    • 1 tablespoon ground curry powder
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1-1/2 teaspoon whole black mustard seeds 
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric 
    • 1/4 teaspoon each salt & ground black pepper, or to taste
    • 3-4 cups vegetable broth 
    • Garnish: lime wedges & minced cilantro 


    1. In the morning, place lentils in a soup pot and cover with water. Place a lid on the pot, and allow lentils to soak for 8-12 hours. Once ready to cook soup, pour lentils through a strainer, discarding the water. Set lentils aside for later use.
    2. Turn Instant Pot (affiliate link!) to “Sauté” setting and heat coconut oil until it glistens. Add minced ginger, garlic, and diced onion to pot, and sauté until fragrant.
    3. Add cauliflower, green chile, diced sweet potatoes, lentils, chickpeas, coconut milk, canned tomatoes, curry powder, cumin, mustard seeds, turmeric, salt & pepper to the pot and stir. Pour in enough broth to cover all the ingredients easily (there should be a about 1 inch of liquid over the top of the lentils), and then secure lid on Instant Pot. Turn to “Bean/Chili” setting, and set timer for 5 minutes with the vent in the sealed position.
    4. When timer goes off, release pressure and stir stew. Ladle into serving bowls and sprinkle with minced cilantro and a lime wedge.

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