This easy Instant Pot lentil soup includes healthy veggies, mild curry powder, and a touch of peanut butter for added creaminess and flavor. Comforting, totally delicious, and a great addition to weekly meal prep! Vegan, gluten-free, and oil-free.
Why We Love This Recipe
Something about the Instant Pot really brings out my lazy side. In other words, my favorite Instant Pot recipes are of the "dump-and-go" variety, like this Easy Red Lentil Curry.
Literally dump the ingredients inside, lock on the lid, press a couple of buttons, and walk away.
Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn't it? But that's not all! (Here I go again with the infomercial voice; this always happens when I get too excited about a recipe.)
For me, the REAL magic of the Instant Pot is its ability to enhance and amplify flavors while being 100% hands off. You just can't do that on the stovetop.
See the color of the carrots and orange bell pepper in these photos? Friends, that's not Photoshop. That's the magic of pressure cooking!
Lower-Fat and Just Flavorful Enough
We love the comforting, mellow flavor of this lentil soup. The words "peanut curry" may sound like a rich, decadent, flavor-bomb, but this soup is pleasantly light and mild.
Don't get me wrong, it's not bland. But unlike a curry made with coconut milk that you would serve with rice, this is a soup. So the flavor is light enough that you'll want to enjoy a nice, big bowlful.
And since peanut butter is the only fat added to this soup, it won't leave you feeling blah and heavy either!
How To Make It
Here's a quick summary to show you exactly how easy it is to prepare this Instant Pot lentil soup. Be sure to scroll down for the full recipe and instructions.
1. Add the veggies, tomatoes, lentils, and spices to the Instant Pot.
2. Add the water, and give the mixture a very good stir to ensure there's nothing stuck to the bottom. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes, then quick release the pressure.
3. Stir in frozen peas and salt.
4. In a separate bowl or a small sauce pan, heat 1 cup of vegetable broth. Stir peanut butter into the broth, then add to the soup. Taste and adjust seasonings, serve and enjoy!
I told you it was soup-er easy, right?
Aside from washing and chopping a few veggies, amazing lentil soup doesn't get any easier than this!
Tips and FAQs
For sure! Chopped kale, chard, or baby spinach are great ways to add even more color and nutrition. Add greens in Step 4 just before adding the peas.
The way we perceive spicy heat definitely varies by person, but I don't find this soup to be spicy with just ¼ teaspoon cayenne. There's a subtle heat in the finish, but that's about it. However, I did make it once with ½ teaspoon cayenne, and that WAS spicy. So feel free to experiment depending on what you and your family prefer.
The peanut butter adds a nice depth of flavor, and though I haven't tested the recipe with another nut or seed butter, it should work. Try it with tahini or sunflower seed butter for a tasty nut-free option.
Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the soup will keep for up to 5 days.
Absolutely! This soup is freezer-friendly for up to a month or two. Once the soup is cool, transfer it to a freezer-safe container. Make sure not to fill the container too full so there's room for the liquid to expand.
If you try this Instant Pot lentil soup please leave a comment and star rating below to let us know!
Looking for another way to use Chinese 5 spice? Try this Easy Massaman Curried Seitan. SO good!
More vegan soup recipes:
Creamy Vegetable Noodle Soup
Spicy Chorizo Potato Soup
Creamy Wild Rice Soup (Instant Pot option)
Tuscan White Bean Soup
Cream of Kale Soup
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Instant Pot Peanut Curry Lentil Soup (No Coconut Milk)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large orange, yellow, or red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 medium celery stalks, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 thumb-size piece ginger root, zested or finely minced (about 1 Tbsp)
- 2 ¼ teaspoons Chinese 5 spice powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons mild curry powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 1 ½ cups dry green lentils
- 5 cups water
- 1 (14 oz) can crushed or diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- ⅓ cup natural peanut butter, salted
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon tamari, optional
For serving (optional):
- lime wedges
- In the insert of a 6-Quart or larger Instant Pot, combine all ingredients except the broth, peanut butter, peas, salt, and tamari. Stir well.
- Secure the lid, and set to sealing. Cook on normal/manual high pressure for 10 minutes. It will take approx. 15 minutes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure, then the countdown timer will begin.
- While the soup is cooking, heat the 1 cup of broth on the stovetop or in the microwave until hot. Add the peanut butter and stir until smooth and fully incorporated. Set aside.
- When the Instant Pot beeps and the 10 minutes is up, carefully quick release the pressure (this will take 2 to 3 minutes). Remove the lid. Add the green peas and salt, and stir. Add the peanut butter-broth mixture, and stir again.
- Taste and season with tamari or more salt, if desired. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve with lime.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.
Truly fabulous! Easy and delicious! I LOVE peanut sauce, so this recipe is a no-brainer. Thx!
Just made this soup for maybe the 5th time and I’m sharing the recipe with my sister. I don’t normally follow a recipe to a “T” but I wasn’t familiar with lentils so I did with this one. It is PERFECT. And it makes a TON. I will continue to have this on rotation, the macros are pretty great too, 17g of protein! 👌 The only thing I would add is that prep time is NOT 15 mins. It’s more like 30. I thought maybe the first couple times I was going slow but this is my 5-6th time and it took a full 30 minutes. 5 mins to gather ingredients and 20-25 to chop/measure/peel everything. And that doesn’t include the other ingredients you add at the end. Anyway, not a huge deal but I always get excited to see prep time is 15 mins and then it takes twice as long.
I just made this recipe over the weekend and it will officially be a go-to recipe from now on! Absolutely delicious and I served it over rice. Thank you for a wonderful recipe!
Made this this morning and had for lunch today. So good with steamed rice and I followed your recipe exactly. gonna freeze in single portions to grab when we need. thanks for this one! so hearty and delicious!!!
This sounds so delicious—I’m going to try it soon. I’ll make a half-recipe in my IP Mini (3-qt Instant Pot). Thanks!
I made the tonight on my stovetop and it was delicious! It’s so flavorful. I was excited to use a recipe that called for Chinese 5 Spice, since I had it in my cupboard and couldn’t remember what recipe I had used it in. I just discovered your website when I searched for a rice pudding recipe and it was so good! I’m excited about trying more of your recipes. I have a suggestion for you. When you post instant pot recipes, could you also include stovetop instructions for those of us who don’t have an instant pot?
Hi Lorna, I'm so glad you discovered my site and enjoyed the soup! We really love this one, too.
I appreciate your feedback about the Instant Pot recipes. Usually I do include stovetop instructions, which you'll notice if you view the IP category. But there have been a few exceptions. Sometimes a recipe won't translate as well without the pressure cooker, but in the case of this one I was probably just eager to get it published and couldn't bear to test it yet one more time. I'm glad you figured it out anyway! I'll try to update this one soon.
Thanks for being here!
Really good soup! I've been wondering what to use my 5 spice powder for, this is it. I like a thicker soup so next time I think I'll use less water, and add a potato or two. Spinach mentioned above is a good idea too. Definitely making this again!
I am so very glad to have found this recipe. It all came together so quickly and when it was done, simply delicious!. We shared this with some friends who couldn't say enough good things about the soups deliciousness! I can't wait to make this again 'n again!
This soup is amazing! Thanks for creating and sharing it, Lori! I added 5 oz of baby spinach right after mixing in the green peas. I will definitely make this again (and again).
This is perfection! I have made this several times now. I live alone and it does freeze beautifully. The peanut butter adds just the right touch and the spices are spot on. I do add a large handful of baby spinach as suggested. This is so nutritious too!
How long do I cook this on top of stove since I don't own an instant pot?
Begin by sautéing the veggies for a few minutes, then add the aromatics and spices, followed by the tomatoes, water, and lentils. Bring to a boil, and simmer until the lentils are done, about 25 minutes. Then add the peas and peanut butter slurry mixture, and cook for a few more minutes.
Hope you enjoy!
Just made this for lunch - it's delicious! 🙂
We had this soup for lunch, delicious! Thank you for sharing your recipe.
Wonderful! Thanks for letting us know, Karen. 😀