This Spicy Lentil Potato Soup is a quick and easy meal that is truly nourishing and full of flavor. To make it, you only need some staple pantry ingredients, such as canned tomatoes and dried lentils of any kind, and the kind of vegetables that you always have in the produce drawer of your fridge: carrots, celery, onions and potatoes.
Here's a perfect winter weeknight dinner: a bowl of healthy lentil soup full of yummy vegetables, hearty potatoes and warming spices. This soup is vegan, gluten free, deliciously spicy and exceptionally comforting. It can be made in an Instant Pot or on the stove top. I keep coming back to this recipe when I really crave a bowl of spicy, flavorful soup but my fridge is rather empty and don't feel like going to the store.
I have a couple different lentil soup recipes on rotation at our house but this is one of my favorites because it combines simple pantry ingredients: lentils, potatoes, onions and canned tomatoes. As long as you have those, you're good to go! I came up with this recipe when I was in college and I used to work at a very good restaurant in Scotland that periodically had a soup on their menu called "Lentil Masala Soup". It was deliciously thick, brown and flavorful. This recipe is my healthy rendition of that dish and though I made it a little lighter, the flavors are still there.
SPICY LENTIL POTATO SOUP INGREDIENTS
Lentils: any type of dried lentils will work for this recipe. I like to use a mix of sprouted brown, green and black lentils but feel free to experiment with different kinds or you can stick to what you have in your pantry. Red lentils are smaller, take less time to cook and tend to fall apart easily. I like this soup to have quite a lot of texture, so I'd stick to brown, green or black lentils.
Potatoes: you can use any small potato variety you like. Baby red, fingerling or a combination of both will work best. If you don't have small potatoes, regular sized red or yellow potatoes cut up into large chunks can also be used.
Tomatoes: the easiest option is to use a can of plain old diced tomatoes. If you prefer to use fresh, that will also work just blanche and peel them first. I like to use canned tomatoes because it's so much easier. Plus, I ALWAYS have tomato products in my pantry.
Spices & aromatics: this is what gives the soup its wonderful flavor and character. The recipe calls for fresh ginger and garlic, as well as ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, bay leaf and cayenne. The amount of cayenne will determine how spicy you want this soup to be. I use about ½ teaspoon and that amount adds quite a bit of spice. If you prefer less spicy dishes, start with ¼ teaspoon and give it a taste. You can always add more!
HOW TO MAKE LENTIL SOUP IN THE INSTANT POT
- Start by setting your Instant Pot to "Sauté". Heat the oil and cook together onions, carrots and celery for a couple minutes, stirring often.
- Once the veggies are soft, add the garlic and ginger. Then, add most of the the spices and keep cooking and stirring. Don't skip this step! Cooking the spices before adding wet ingredients will add an extra layer of deep flavor. If things start to get too brown, add a splash of water to the mixture.
- Now it's time to add all the remaining ingredients: tomatoes, potatoes, broth, lentils and spices.
- Close the lid and set the Instant Pot to "Pressure Cook" for 15 minutes at high pressure.
- That's it! Go do something, relax, take a bath, or run errands or go grocery shopping while the soup is practically making itself.
- Let the Instant Pot release pressure naturally until the vent is in the off position. Carefully open the lid, stir the soup, taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
Personally, I like the Instant Pot because after 10-15 minutes of prep you can set it and literally forget it which is helpful when I'm busy working or when I need to leave to run an errand. However, ff you don't have an Instant Pot, or just prefer cooking on the stovetop, this soup can easily be made the old fashioned way and it actually won't take any more time - you just need to pay attention to it more. Here's how to make it:
- Start by cooking together onions, carrots and celery in olive oil. You will want to use a Dutch oven or a pot with a heavy bottom. We want the vegetables to "sweat" and soften before you add the the rest of the ingredients.
- Once the veggies are soft, add the garlic and ginger. Your kitchen will smell amazing! Then, add most of the the spices and keep cooking and stirring. Don't skip this step! Cooking the spices before adding wet ingredients will add an extra layer of deep flavor. If things start to get too brown, add a splash of water to the mixture.
- All the other ingredients are added at the same time: tomatoes, potatoes, broth, lentils and the remaining spices. You will bring the soup to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer for about 30-40 minutes.
- After about 30 minutes or so, check the softness of the potatoes and lentils. Potatoes should be fork tender but not overcooked. Lentils should be soft and starting to fall apart. Cook for another 10-15 minutes until you reach the desired consistently.
- Finally, taste and season to taste with salt, pepper and more cayenne, if you wish.
WHAT TOPPINGS CAN I SERVE THIS SOUP WITH?
It's all about the toppings! The thing with soups is that they usually look... well, boring, but great toppings can really transform a plain bowl of soup. For this particular soup, I like to balance out the spiciness with something creamy, tangy and sweet, so I use a dollop of tangy Greek yogurt on top, a drizzle of honey and sprinkle everything with chopped cilantro. If you follow a vegan diet, you can replace the Greek yogurt with unsweetened coconut yogurt and squirt some lemon juice into the soup. Or, you can skip yogurt all together.
HOW TO FREEZE LENTIL SOUP?
To freeze, place in individual air tight containers (without toppings!) and freeze for up to 6 months. You can also freeze a larger batch in one large container, if you prefer. To thaw, leave in the refrigerator overnight and serve the next day.
IS THIS SOUP GOOD FOR MEAL PREP?
Absolutely! Just place it in air tight lidded containers and store in the fridge up to 4-5 days. To serve, heat up on the stovetop or in the microwave and garnish with your favorite toppings and gobble up!
MORE HEALTHY SOUP IDEAS
- Loaded Potato Cauliflower Soup (Instant pot & Stove Top)
- Butternut Squash & Carrot Ginger Soup
- Creamy Kale, Sausage and Potato Soup (Whole30/Paleo)
- Instant Pot Split Pea Soup with Ham
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This Spicy Lentil Potato Soup is a quick and easy meal that is truly nourishing and full of flavor. To make it, you only need some staple pantry ingredients.
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced
1 piece of ginger the size of a garlic clove, grated
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
1 lb small potatoes, red, fingerling or both
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon Garam Masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup dry lentils (green, brown, black or a mix)
5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
¼- ½ teaspoon Cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste
Greek yogurt (plant-based such as unsweetened coconut or cashew yogurt for vegan)
- In a pot or a Dutch oven, heat up olive oil and add onion, carrots and celery and cook together for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin and Garam Masala. Stir together and cook until fragrant. Add a splash of water, if needed.
- Add tomatoes, broth, potatoes, lentils, bay leaf, salt, pepper and Cayenne. Bring to boil, then simmer for about 30-40 minutes until lentils start falling apart slightly and potatoes are soft.
- Give it a taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
- Garnish with a dollop of Greek or plant-based yogurt, drizzle with honey (skip for vegan) and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: soups
Keywords: lentil soup, lentil potato soup, instant soup lentil potato soup, spicy lentil soup