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Curried Lentil Soup in bowl garnished with cilantro
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5 from 7 votes

Curried Lentil Soup

Rich, creamy Curried Lentil Soup is a delicious vegan meal in a bowl. Lentils, curry, tomato sauce, coconut milk, garlic, ginger and cilantro are the stars of this instant pot soup.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time22 mins
Time to pressure8 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course, soups and starters
Cuisine: Indian style, Thai-Style, vegan
Servings (change as needed): 4 -5
Author: Cheryl


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium-large onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (3 tsp)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (or more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder (mild or medium)
  • 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste (or sub extra chili flakes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 3/4 cup red, yellow or orange split lentils, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or more if using low salt broth or water)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 cups tomato sauce e.g. marinara
  • 1 1/2 cups water or broth (chicken or vegetable) PLUS another 1-1.5 cups to thin it out at the end as needed
  • 1 13-14 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk Note 1

Optional but good

  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Garnish options

  • lemon or lime wedges, additional chopped cilantro, chopped green onion


  • PRESS SAUTE BUTTON ON INSTANT POT: and heat to "HOT". Chop veggies while heating. (See Note 2 for stove top version)
  • SAUTE VEGGIES AND SEASONINGS: Add oil, then onions. Saute for 3 minutes, stirring until translucent. Add garlic, ginger, curry paste, curry, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Saute, stirring for another 3 minutes. Press CANCEL button on instant pot.
  • ADD LENTILS AND LIQUID. COOK: Stir in lentils, tomato sauce and water (or broth). Close Instant Pot lid and set valve to 'SEALING', then set PRESSURE OR MANUAL button on High for 15 minutes - or 12 minutes if you prefer lentils less soft (use + or - buttons). The Instant Pot will take about 5-7 minutes to come to pressure depending on size of pot before it starts the 15 minute cooking process. When finished (it will beep), do quick pressure release by turning valve to VENT. When button drops, you can open the lid. Turn Instant Pot to OFF.
  • FINISH LENTIL SOUP: Add coconut milk and, if using, spinach and cilantro. Stir 1 minute until combined and spinach is wilted. If soup is too thick, add more water or broth. If too thin, press SAUTE and cook for a few minutes until soup is the consistency you like. Taste and adjust seasonings. Ladle into bowls and add garnishes as desired.


  1. Coconut Milk: Use less coconut milk if you want a lower calorie soup or if you prefer a more tomato-y base. You can also use light coconut milk which is less rich.
  2. Stovetop version: Use the same instructions as above, but simmer the soup for 30-40 minutes in a pot (instead of pressure cooking in the instant pot) until you get the texture and thickness you like.
  3. Make Ahead: Keep soup in the fridge in a sealed container for 3-4 days or freeze it for up to 6 months.
Calories: 454kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Sodium: 1298mg | Potassium: 1305mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 4126IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 107mg | Iron: 7mg