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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

My Lentil Soup Hack

lentil soup www.realfoodblogger.com

Sometimes I just don't have the energy, desire, or time to wash, trim, and chop up vegetables for a homemade soup. Yet, I still want a nourishing bowl of soup that is homemade. This is a quick and easy hack to substitute for chopping veggies. Of course, I used my Instant Pot- I always do- but you can use the stovetop too.

vegan lentil soup in instant Pot www.realfoodblogger.com

I found a trick that works for me when I'm tired and stressed. I keep jars of chunky salsa in my pantry just for this occasion. After all, salsa is made from tomatoes, sweet peppers, garlic, and onions- the very ingredients I like to add to some of my lentil soup recipes.

I open a jar of salsa and just dump it in my Instant Pot. Next, I washed a bag of small brown lentils, add vegetable broth and water, and pressure cooked for 16 minutes in my Instant Pot.

Instant Pot vegan lentil soup - no prep

The results are amazing and I didn't have to chop any vegetables!! And It made a good size pot of rich-tasting lentil soup- enough to fill 3 glass storage containers. Of course, leftover lentil soup will thicken, so you can always mix in the additional vegetable broth before serving the next day.

We ate the soup I made for 2 meals, and I then froze the rest. I figure it will last in an airtight container at least 2-3 months in the freezer.

lentil soup in glass pyrex containers, vegan, gluten-free

I buy thick and chunky organic salsa from Aldi's. which is also marked gluten-free, It's a 16-ounce glass jar that comes in mild, medium, or hot, and is only $1.99 (as of 2020)- works for me.

This makes a big batch of soup. It also freezes well or keeps for 4 days in the refrigerator

1 16 ounce jar of thick and chunky organic salsa ( mild, medium or hot- your choice)
5 cups vegetable broth
4 cups of water
1 bag of lentils (washed, picked over, and drained)
Optional: fresh garlic, cumin, salt, cracked pepper, 

Too much soup? Want less soup? 

Cut everything in half!!!

Add the salsa to the bottom of an 8qt Instant Pot. Sautee for 2 minutes. Add the lentils, vegetable broth, and water. Secure lid, close pressure valve, and pressure cook for 16 minutes. When done, allow steam to release on its own, or if you don't have time, release steam manually according to the manufacturer's directions

My Notes:

1. Tomatoes are very acidic. When you buy them in a can, the acidity from the tomatoes eats into the can and mingles with the metal. It sometimes gives a metallic taste and probably isn't good for you because you might get some of the metal in your food. I like salsa from a jar. 

2. Aldi's sells a very reasonable and delicious organic gluten-free salsa that comes in mild, medium, or hot for just $1.99 (as of 2020)  - a good deal

3. If you do have the energy to cut up vegetables, you can still add some to the IP. I actually once had an eggplant that I cut up and threw into the pot. It didn't affect the cooking time. 

4. You can probably do this on the stovetop as well. Why not? 

www.realfoodblogger lentil soup

Don't like lentil soup? 
I did the same thing with my spicy sweet potato soup and that was really great too.  


  1. Warming, comforting and so delicious!

  2. I love using salsa in soups for the very same reason, Judee! Aldi is not near me but now that I know about their great price on organic salsa, I'll have to make a point of stopping by there so I can stock up. Thanks for the tip and the recipe!


    1. So funny- I thought necessity was the mother of invention here- didn't realize others did this.. well it is easy and makes sense..

  3. This is such a good idea and we love lentil soup - healthy and filling!! My husband loves spicy foods, so I could use a salsa with a kick and take up the spice level. I love making soup in my instant pot. Lentil soup in the instant pot is so wonderful because it's FAST!!!!!! Thanks for the great idea!

    1. Yes, you could add the hot salsa for him at the end and use mild salsa in the cooking . Easy and versatile.

  4. Please tell us where you get your salss at- - or put in a link to it?? Thank youi.

  5. Hi Judee,
    How can something this simple be so delicious, can't wait to have a bowl of this goodness! Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great week!
    Miz Helen


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