Smoky Lentil Potato Soup

I like to call this my Christmas lentil soup, although, once it’s ready to eat, it looks nothing like Christmas.  If you own an instant pot, this is a great recipe to try on your first go!  I recently purchased my Instant Pot from Amazon on Black Friday. It sat on my counter, untouched, for a little over two weeks. I have to admit, I was kind of intimidated by it.  The ability to cook a potato in 7 minutes?  How is that even possible?!  Sorcery.  Has to be.  What finally pressed me to utilize it was a time crunch to prepare a couple of meals for a friend who had recently had a baby, and I had volunteered to bring her dinner for her meal train.  I’m always trying to go over the top when I volunteer to bring my non-vegan friends food.  I want them to see how amazing vegan food can taste, in hopes that they will incorporate more meat-free meals into their family’s meal plans. I took a HUGE gamble using my instant pot for the first time on a recipe I had never tasted before. I chose the recipe because I had almost everything that was on the list and it looked fairly simple. I tweaked it a bit to my taste, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

What You'll Need

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 small)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots (3-4 small-medium carrots, peeled)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (I used 3 small stalked)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1.5 teaspoons smoked paprika (this is ESSENTIAL!!!)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound honey gold baby potatoes, washed and cut into fourths (you can use a large yellow potato and just cut into small cubes instead, still about 1 pound)
  • 1 cup red lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 1 cup green lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups chopped kale

What You'll Need to Do

  1. Plug in your instant pot. Select the “Saute” function.
  2. Add the olive oil to your instant pot.
  3. Add in the onions, carrots, garlic, and celery. Saute, stirring frequently.
  4. Mix the seasonings together in a separate small bowl so they are well blended.
  5. Add the seasonings to the instant pot. Mix well with the veggies.
  6. Add the potatoes, lentils and the broth. Stir to combine.
  7. Place the lid on the instant pot and close. Press “cancel”. Then press “Soup” and adjust the time to 3 minutes. Make sure “high pressure” is selected, and the vent cap is in the sealed position.
  8. It will take a while for the instant pot to build up the pressure required to cook. Once that happens, the display will change from “On” to the time countdown.
  9. Once the soup has finished cooking, you can press “cancel” and either wait for pressure to come down on its own, or you can vent the pressure (beware of the steam being released! It will burn you if you’re too close to it!).
  10. Toss in the chopped kale and stir.


The “instant” in Instant Pot is kind of relative. I was SUPER pressed for time when I made this – like I had about 45 minutes before I had to walk out the door. I had an air conditioning repairman at my house (yes, in December! Perks (?) of living in Florida I guess), my son had to be picked up from his running club at school, and then I was supposed to drive straight to my friend’s house to drop off the food, which is like 45 minutes from my house. Once I finished sautéing the veggies and switched over to the pressure cook, I figured it would take about three minutes, since that’s what the recipe I had read told me. WRONG! It took what seemed like forever for the pressure to build up so that it could START to cook. I kept wondering if I was doing it wrong. I was not. It really just takes that long. Be patient. Allow more than 3 minutes to make this. I think 45 minutes is probably a good estimate of the time needed to get this meal together from start to finish.

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