Crockpot Lentil Soup - Real Food Whole Life

Crockpot Lentil Soup

September 27, 2021

white bowl of crockpot lentil soup with fresh herbs and crusty bread on the side

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!

white bowl of crockpot lentil soup with fresh herbs and crusty bread on the side

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.

top down view of ingredients for crockpot lentil soup in a black slow cooker pot

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!

ladle full of lentil soup dipped into a black slow cooker pot

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.
close up of a bowl of vegetarian soup with toppings and striped blue napkin

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.

this recipe is…

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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!

white bowl of crockpot lentil soup with fresh herbs and crusty bread on the side
5 from 2 votes

Crockpot Lentil Soup

Yield 6
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 10 mins

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. Plus instant pot and stovetop directions!

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

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.

Stovetop Directions

  • 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.

Notes

Dried brown or green lentils work interchangeably here. Do not use red lentils.
The heat of slow cookers can vary, as can the amount of liquid lentils absorb during the cooking process. If necessary add additional stock at the end, to achieve your desired consistency.
This soup will also thicken considerably as it cools, so if you prefer it thicker, allow to cool for 30 minutes prior to serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 241kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1988mg | Potassium: 983mg | Fiber: 18g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 9914IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 5mg
Nutrition disclaimer
did you make this recipe?Mention @realfoodwholelife or tag #realfoodwholelife!

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4 comments to " Crockpot Lentil Soup "

  • Robyn

    5 stars
    This humble soup is so satisfying and cozy! The addition of the red wine vinegar is genius as it adds a very enjoyable bright, tangy flavor! Definitely recommend adding it! Is two bowls, one too many? Asking for a friend 😉

    • Robyn Downs

      Robyn, two bowls is definitely NOT too many! 🙂 So glad you enjoyed and thanks so much for leaving a review!

  • Erin

    5 stars
    My entire family gobbled this up and raved the whole time! Even my lil picky eater!!! My son also asked for the leftovers to be put in his lunch the next day. It’s so easy to throw together for busy week nights!

    • Robyn Downs

      Erin, yay, I am so happy to hear this was a hit with you and your entire crew! Love it when that happens. 🙂 Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review!

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If you love this recipe it would mean SO MUCH if you gave it a star rating and left a comment. Your feedback helps me create more recipes you'll love, and helps others find my recipes online. Thanks so much for your feedback! —Robyn

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