Crockpot Lentil Soup
This easy crockpot lentil soup is made with simple pantry ingredients like green lentils, celery, carrot and spinach making for a hearty vegan and vegetarian meal.
Also includes stovetop and instant pot directions!
Lentil soup is just one of those staple recipes you need in your back pocket, as it’s not only easy to throw together, made with simple pantry ingredients, and budget friendly, it’s also delicious, filling, and completely nourishing.
We’re big fans of lentils around here, with Slow Cooker Lentil Chili, Golden Glow Red Lentil Soup, Autumn Meal Prep Lentil Salad, and Lentil Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing being some of our favorite lentil recipes.
Sometimes nothing’s better than a big bowl of green lentil soup, and If you’ve never made homemade lentil soup, now is the time to try it!
It’s easier than you think, especially since you don’t need to cook or soak the lentils ahead of time.
Just add them to the slow cooker along with the other ingredients, hit start, and you’re well on your way to a delicious meal that will feed a crowd.
This lentil soup is super easy as most of the cooking time is hands-off due to the magic of the slow cooker, making it perfect for busy weeknights or slow weekends at home.
Our version is vegan, vegetarian, and naturally gluten-free and dairy-free.
If you prefer meat, though, besure to check out our recipe variations below for how to make this crockpot lentil soup with ham, sausage, a ham bone, Italian sausage, or bacon.
How to Make and What to Serve with Lentil Soup
For the slow cooker version of this recipe I opted to skip the saute step to keep prep easy and streamlined. If you prefer the added depth of flavor, feel free to saute the onions first in a bit of olive oil and salt over medium heat.
Pureeing a bit of the cooked soup at the end using an immersion blender or regular blender lends a creamy quality without any dairy, so don’t skip this step.
Be sure to check the recipe card below for Instant Pot and Stovetop instructions too.
Lentil soup goes well with a simple green salad and crusty bread. We love it with our Easy Fall Harvest Salad!
Crockpot Lentil Soup Recipe Variations
- Slow Cooker Lentil Soup With Ham: Add 1-2 cups chopped cooked ham to the slow cooker along with the lentils. Proceed with the recipe. Top with additional cooked ham, crisped up in a pan over medium high heat.
- Crockpot Lentil Soup with Sausage: Add 1 pound kielbasa or Italian sausage to the crockpot along with the lentils. After the soup has cooked, remove the sausages, slice, and add back to the soup along with the spinach.
- Slow Cooker Lentil Soup with a Ham Bone: Add a ham bone to the slow cooker along with the lentils. After the soup has cooked, remove the ham bone and discard. Proceed with the final steps of the recipe.
- Crockpot Lentil Soup with Bacon: Cook one pound bacon until crisp. Crumble half the cooked bacon and add it to the crockpot along with the lentils. Proceed with the recipe. Top with remaining cooked, crumbled bacon.
recipe notes, modifications & adaptations
- Either green or brown lentils work in this recipe. Do not use red lentils, they produce an entirely different consistency and result.
- If you’re looking for a red lentil soup recipe, try our simple, delicious Red Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk.
- Kale can be used in place of baby spinach. Just be sure to add a few extra minutes of cook time at the end to wilt the kale.
- Vegetable or chicken stock can be used, but be sure to use vegetable stock to keep this recipe vegan and vegetarian.
- Finishing the soup with red wine vinegar adds a much needed flavor boost after a long cooking time.
- If you don’t have red wine vinegar then balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, or lemon juice will also work.
how to store or freeze leftover crockpot lentil soup
- Homemade vegetarian soups keep well in the fridge for up to 3-4 days, in a sealed container.
- This recipe also freezes well, store in a sealed freezer friendly container for up to 2-3 months.
Tip: Lentil soup thickens as it cools. Add a splash of stock when reheating to return it to the original consistency.
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I hope you’ll make this healthy Crockpot Lentil Soup recipe soon.
If you do, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me at @realfoodwholelife so I can see!
Crockpot Lentil Soup
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 2 cups chopped carrot
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
- 1 ½ tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1 ½ cups dry green lentils, (or brown lentils) rinsed and picked over
- 1 15-oz can petite-diced tomatoes
- 6-8 cups vegetable stock, (or chicken stock)
- 1 large bay leaf, (or 2 small bay leaves)
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Optional Serving Suggestions
- extra virgin olive oil, freshly cracked pepper, freshly grated parmesan cheese (traditional or vegan), fresh parsley, red pepper flakes, crusty bread
Slow Cooker Directions
- Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, lentils, tomatoes, stock and bay leaf to a 6-quart slow cooker, stirring to combine. Do not add the spinach, it will be added at the end.
- Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 6-8 hours, or until the veggies and lentils are soft.
- Remove the lid, remove the bay leaf, add the vinegar, and stir to combine. Add an additional 1-2 cups of stock to thin the soup if necessary. Taste and add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, plus additional vinegar if desired.
- Using an immersion blender, blend for 5-10 seconds. Alternatively, carefully, remove ½ to 1 cup of cooked soup to a blender. Cover, blend on high, then add back to the soup, stirring to combine. Note: blending for just a few seconds will add a creaminess to the soup, while leaving the texture of most of the lentils and vegetables intact.
- Add the spinach, and stir to combine. Serve with a generous drizzle of olive oil, and any other toppings you like.
Instant Pot Directions
- Set a 6-quart pressure cooker to saute mode for 8 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, onion, a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft.
- Cancel the saute function. Add the celery, carrot, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, lentils, tomatoes, stock, and bay leaf, stirring to combine.
- Secure the lid, select the manual setting, and set it to high pressure for 15 minutes.
- When the pressure cooker timer is done, allow to naturally release for 15 minutes.
- Follow remaining slow cooker steps 3-5.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat in a large Dutch oven. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, stirring to combine. Cook until the onions soften, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the celery, carrot, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring to combine. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the lentils, tomatoes, bay leaf, and stock, stirring to combine. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Cook, covered, until the lentils are soft, about 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Follow remaining slow cooker steps 3-5.
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