This hearty, fragrant, richly spiced lentil soup can be cooked in the pressure cooker in about a half hour or on the stove in an hour.
Is there a word for when the wind sends the autumn leaves swirling in the driveway, orange blurring with gold, like calico cats chasing their tails? Well, there should be. Though it was unusually warm, yesterday looked like the classic fall day, leaves both bright and brown raining down, revealing the gray bones of the trees. I was out harvesting jalapeno peppers, the last of our summer vegetables, when something about their bright greenness amid all the reds and golds of fall made me stop, pull out my phone, and take a photo:
The colors also reminded me of one of my favorite lentil soups, which you may remember as Rainy Day Lentil Soup. I’ve created almost a dozen lentil soup variations, but this is the soup I think of when I hear the words “lentil soup,” and it’s the only brown lentil soup I make that’s seasoned with coriander and cumin–just faintly, not enough spice to rival Middle Eastern Red Lentil Soup or Ethiopian Inspired Red Lentil Soup, just a subtle hint that’s warming and inviting on a blustery fall day.
I realized as I was making the soup that I’ve actually changed the recipe slightly over the years. I always increase the amounts of onion, potatoes, and carrots and add a little extra seasoning to the pot near the end. The results are a chunkier soup, almost a stew. I didn’t want to just change the original recipe because so many of you have told me you love it, so I’m presenting my updated version here.
The quickest and easiest way I’ve found to make it is to use an electric pressure cooker, such as the Instant Pot or Fagor Multicooker, both of which I love. But if you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can make this hearty soup in a Dutch oven or large soup pot. It will probably be even easier in a slow cooker, though I haven’t tried that. Let me know in the comments if you have and what settings you used.
Do I Have a Recipe for Lentil Soup?!
Homestyle Lentil Soup
Ridiculously Easy Lentil Soup
Curried Red Lentil Soup with Dandelion Greens
Ridiculously Easy Lentil and Vegetable Stew
Red Lentil Soup with Vadouvan
Italian Lentil and Vegetable Soup
French Lentil and Portabella Stew
Choose one to enjoy!
Lentil Soup with Coriander and Cumin
- 2 cups brown or green lentils uncooked
- 8 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 large carrots thickly sliced
- 1 rib celery chopped
- 2 large gold or red potatoes cut into large cubes
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 vegetable bouillon cubes use if water is used instead of broth
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- Additional seasonings: 1/4 teaspoon coriander, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 2 cloves minced garlic
- salt to taste
- 4 ounces fresh spinach chopped if large leaves
- 2 teaspoons Red wine vinegar or lemon juice
- Pick over the lentils and rinse well.
- Start the water or broth heating in the pressure cooker while you chop the vegetables. Add all ingredients except the additional seasonings, salt, spinach, and vinegar into the cooker and bring to a boil. Seal the cooker and cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes before using a quick-release method to release the pressure. (If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can simply cook this on the stove until the lentils are tender, about an hour.)
- Check to make sure the lentils and potatoes are tender; if not, cook, covered but not at pressure, until done, adding water if it seems too thick. Remove the bay leaves, and add the additional seasonings, salt, and spinach. Check the seasonings, adding more cumin and coriander as needed. Cook for just a few minutes to wilt the spinach. Stir in the vinegar or lemon juice and serve.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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Mrs S.December 9, 2012 at 7:47 am
I made this soup last night and it was DELICIOUS. My husband and I were practically licking the bowls. This has been officially added to my recipe binder. Love love loved it.
laloofahDecember 12, 2012 at 1:20 pm
This is perfect – not only do we love lentil soup and the spices cumin and coriander, but we just got a new slow cooker after several years without one and I’m gathering up some good recipes to make in it. I’m definitely going to use it to make this as soon as I’ve gotten all the ingredients! Thank you, thank you!
Ben @awesomeveganblog.comJanuary 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm
Nice! I made a lentil soup with coriander and cumin this week, too! 🙂
LindaJanuary 20, 2013 at 9:23 am
Can this be made with red lentils? If so do you wash the red lentils until water runs clear?
Christine ReidFebruary 24, 2021 at 11:58 am
@Linda (and anyone else years later who may wonder!), each type of lentil tends to have its own cooking qualities. brown, green and black lentils (beluga) hold their shape — alas, red lentils do not. They are best reserved for a soup where the texture is pureed or creamy, I find. Black lentils, though they hold their shape, impart a smokiness to the soup — so unless that is desired, they also would not be a workable substitution. Now, off to the kitchen to make soup — hope this was helpful!
Leslie RadcliffeMarch 3, 2013 at 7:53 pm
Having our coldest weekend this season in Orlando, FL. Couldn’t pass up making this for dinner. I have plenty left to eat this week. Thank you so much for another great meal.
Mary-AnneApril 27, 2013 at 12:33 pm
Be careful printing out this recipe..I didn’t notice the Print Recipe button until after I hit the print button, 20 pages of comments later it finally stopped! ARRRGGHH! I am so mad at myself for this enormous waste of paper, it has now become “GOOS” paper ( good on one side), very popular in the classroom 🙂
Mary-AnneApril 27, 2013 at 1:45 pm
Oh and I forgot to mention the most important thing, I am making this in my slow cooker! We are having such a chilly start to Spring feels more like Fall out there today, poor little flowers don’t stand a chance. My kitchen is smelling divine, I think it’s going to be another winner as all your recipes are Susan! 🙂
StevioMay 7, 2013 at 4:19 am
I tried this one and it went down well, thanks. The ground coriander makes this!
Tara JensenMay 23, 2013 at 3:09 pm
I made this soup this afternoon, with the help of my two girls, and I have to say….This soup is absolutely amazing! We made it on the stove top, and the only things I changed was adding one more bouillon cube, and an extra 1/2 tsp of cumin. This recipe makes a hearty, savoury, delicious soup, that my girls could not get enough of. I added a couple handfuls of baby spinach leaves just before turning off the heat, and although my girls don’t really like spinach, they gobbled it up! They ate two bowls of it right away, and will be eating more as soon as they are hungry again. They were actually disappointed that they were too full to have more…lol.
Thank you so much for such a wonderful recipe. I will be making this one often. My poor Husband, who is on a juice fast at the moment, had to smell it when he came home from work….talk about torture. He’ll be getting his own fresh batch as soon as he’s off of his fast. Thanks again!
cjJune 1, 2013 at 1:33 pm
Delicious! I doubled the amount of vegetables and the spices/seasonings. This is my favorite lentil soup recipe!!! Thank you!!
ViennaOctober 24, 2013 at 7:59 am
This is a solid (as in reliable), easy to make soup with ingredients normally in the refrigerator. Tasted good. I let cook on the stovetop and it took way less than an hour, however, I am one to forget the lentils and let them boil too long in the beginning!
CaseyDecember 4, 2013 at 7:03 pm
Recently been introducing my boyfriend and his family to vegan food. It’s recipes like this that show people vegan food can be hearty also 🙂 They enjoyed this very much!
Wendy TremblayMarch 6, 2014 at 9:51 am
This is simply to let you know that I tried this recipe and found it easy and delicious. It’s a keeper.
SheyMarch 10, 2014 at 9:41 pm
Just tried the lentil soup recipe!
and I LOVED it!
So very fragrant, light and healthy.
Pat BApril 5, 2014 at 11:21 pm
This is delicious! I served with a lemon slice. I used Seitanbacher Vegetable Broth and Seasoning instead of vegetable bouillon cubes.
Pat BApril 5, 2014 at 11:33 pm
Will this soup freeze well? I made more soup than I can use in a a few days.
Susan VoisinApril 6, 2014 at 7:31 am
It should freeze well. Hope you enjoy it!
LeahMay 5, 2014 at 1:24 pm
Love this recipe. I even made it for my mother who isn’t fond of soup, and she liked it enough that she wants me to make it again!
RuthSeptember 26, 2014 at 11:54 pm
love this recipe!
ShelleyOctober 4, 2014 at 6:50 pm
I made this without a pressure cooker, so I just brought everything (minus lentils) to a boil, then added them, turned to low and cooked for an hour. The soup turned out great! I used frozen spinach and extra lemon juice, which made it even tastier! I can’t wait to make this soup again when it gets colder.
Marian GleasonSeptember 1, 2015 at 1:07 pm
I’m getting serious now about purchasing either the Fagor Multicooker OR the Instant Pot. Which do you prefer? I seem to remember that you have them both, and perhaps gave us a negative comment about the Instant Pot? Thanks for your reply!! xxooxxMarian (& Bill too!)
crunchycompassionistaDecember 30, 2018 at 8:16 pm
I have 2 instant pots and use them almost every day. My vote is for the IP!
Beverley CummingNovember 18, 2015 at 6:57 pm
Love it…I love the spices and a friend who is from India taught me a lot about the medicinal properties of spices…my 12 year old Boston Terrier had nasal problems that were resistant to antibiotics…so I used turmeric…if it made him well…me too…so my friend taught me to make “Indian Food”…it is wonderful and made at home…very economical…thanks for your post!
BeckyFebruary 2, 2016 at 5:31 pm
Thanks for this delicious recipe! I was having a lot of trouble finding the quintessential lentil soup recipe until I stumbled on yours. My boyfriend and I are both trying to eat less meat. He’s an incredibly picky eater and really liked it a lot. Turned out great in the Instant Pot. I’m looking forward to checking out the rest of the blog.
MarioMay 16, 2016 at 2:00 am
I just went vegan recently and always on the hunt of nice low fat/fat-free recipes and I am delighted that I have found this blog which gives me so many ideas.
My first attempt was this Lentil soups, as Lentils was even in my meat time one of my favorites and what can I say – This soup turns out so great. Couldn’t stop eating.
Thanks for this fantastic recipe!
Christina TraynorNovember 12, 2016 at 3:17 pm
Hi. Your lentil soup with coriander and cumin recipe popped up on my Facebook newsfeed today. Decided to make it only to discover I was down to one potato, and it was a sweet potato, not the gold or red the recipe calls for. I ultimately went for it with bit of improvisation – one cubed sweet potato and some cubed turnip as well. Turned out scrumptious!
Susan VoisinNovember 12, 2016 at 3:23 pm
I’m so glad to hear that all potatoes (and turnips) work! Thanks for letting me know.
CherylNovember 13, 2016 at 11:50 am
This is great! I did almost everything you told me to do. 😉 I left out the carrots because I’d made a big pot of veggie stew yesterday with plenty of them but I had some turnips I chopped and tossed in, and a couple tiny sweet potatoes I also cut small so they’d just disintegrate into a “seasoning” I also left out the celery. But other than that I followed your instructions and used lemon juice at the end. This is delicious Susan! Thank you! 🙂
MaggiNovember 28, 2016 at 7:33 pm
I made this in the pressure cooker exactly as written and it was fabulous. The combination of the coriander and bay leaves really give a depth of flavor. This will be a definite repeater.
orthohawkNovember 30, 2016 at 2:29 pm
when you say “green lentils” do you mean the French Puy lentils? I love those (especially mixed with minced pistachios and pecans in the tomato sauce for lasagna).
As for the “regular” lentils, I have pretty much a love/hate relationship with them. I eat them, but only if they’re cooked to absolute smushiness; but if I make a big pot of soup, I get tired of ’em quick and the rest either goes to waste or grows fur. I’ve taken to only making (brown) lentil soup when I go to a veg*n potluck, and even then there’s LOTS of veggies and double, or even triple the amount of cumin most people use :). I really need to start making half batches of things I less-than-absolutely-love, so I have a variety of leftovers and nothing goes bad!
LindaOctober 1, 2017 at 7:36 pm
Susan, soups with beans, carrots and potatoes, Love Them!! I appreciate all you do and the shares. Thank you, Susan =) Love that spinach is in there, too =)
DianeJanuary 2, 2018 at 3:34 pm
You recomment adding spices at the end…..why.
how would adding spices in beginning affect taste. please reply to my email, i cannot ck this site
Susan VoisinJanuary 2, 2018 at 5:55 pm
I will include my answer here for others who have the same question. Cooking, especially pressure cooking, weakens the flavors of the spices, so adding more at the end makes it more flavorful.
wernerFebruary 22, 2018 at 3:52 pm
Had forgotten how delicious and warming this soup is! Made it infrequently in Arizona, but now live where it’s cold and snowy – completely hit the spot. I used the Instant Pot and did add additional spices at end, as you noted in previous comment. Thanks.
Mary Ellen McPheeOctober 9, 2018 at 5:48 pm
This is my family’s favorite lentil soup recipe. It is one of the few recipes where I actually measure ingredients because it comes out so good. Only change is 9 minutes at pressure rather than 10.
crunchycompassionistaDecember 30, 2018 at 8:18 pm
I must need new spices as I found the soup to be good but a bit bland. I’ll double up on the seasonings next time. I love that it comes up so quickly and easily in the instant pot.
CaseyOctober 22, 2022 at 9:26 am
One of my all-time favorites. I’ve been making it since it was “Rainy Day Lentil Soup”. I wouldn’t normally consider a lentil soup for company, but everyone I’ve ever served it to raves about it. I’m about to make my first batch of the fall season, and I can’t wait. This soup proves that wholesome, good-for-you foods can be delicious. I like to freeze a few servings for later. Thank you for the wonderful recipe that I come back to over and over again.