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

20+ Winter Slow Cooker Recipes: Lentil Soup

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This easy, healthy 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 20+ more winter slow cooker recipes the whole family is sure to love!
Course Soup
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword Crockpot, lentil, Slow Cooker, soup
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 10 mins
Servings 6
Calories 219

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: 219kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 644mg | Potassium: 783mg | Fiber: 18g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 9099IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 4mg