Slow Cooker Golden Lentil Soup (Vegan)

4.96 from 24 votes
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Slow Cooker Golden Lentil Soup is a low-fuss meal perfect for easy weekday dinners. This vegan lentil soup is filled with antioxidant-rich ingredients for a cozy, nourishing meal. Instant Pot instructions also available!Slow cooker lentil soup in a blue bowl topped with a wedge of lime and cilantro

You know that feeling when it’s time to break out your thick winter sweaters? (The ones that have been hiding in the depths of your closet or in a container under the bed.)

You drape your body in your favorite fleece, give yourself a bear hug, and relish in the comfort of your seasonal heirloom?

Good, because that’s the feeling you’ll get by eating a bowl of this cozy, nourishing soup.

This recipe is packed with nutrient-dense ingredients like kale, carrots, turmeric, and lentils.

A wealth of aromatics and dried spices create a super fragrant broth. Tomato paste amps up the umami and coconut milk contributes to the soup’s luxurious texture.

I love to top it with a tangle of herbs and dollop of yogurt, but feel free to use garnishes of your choice. A side of naan is also a good idea!

How to Make Slow Cooker Lentil Soup:

This recipe calls for red lentils, which are de-husked and split before packaging, helping them cook super fast.

You may wonder why a slow cooker recipe calls for quick-cook lentils? The key here, however, is to embrace their mushy destiny and let them break down just enough to form a thick, creamy base.

The IngredientsRecipe ingredients arranged on a wooden serving platter

  • Lentils: Lentils, in their tiny legume-glory, are actually nutrition powerhouses with the perfect mix of protein and fiber.
    • They are excellent contenders for plant-based soups and stews because they help keep you full longer. Plus, they’re budget-friendly (I buy them in the bulk-bin section of Whole Foods or Sprouts) and keep for awhile in the pantry.
  • Aromatics: A mix of onion, carrots, and garlic create the aromatic foundation of this vegan lentil soup.
  • Tomato Paste: To amp up the umami and add bright, tangy flavor.
  • Coconut Milk: Make sure to use canned coconut milk (rather than refrigerated coconut milk from a carton). Canned is much thicker and richer, which contributes to the soup’s creamy consistency.
  • Spices: The spice profile includes anti-inflammatory turmeric, earthy cumin, and lots of black pepper.
  • Kale: For a one-two punch of fiber and micronutrients. 
  • Broth: If making the soup vegan, stick with vegetable broth. Otherwise, chicken broth also works well.
  • Lime: The lentils really benefit from a touch of acidity at the end of cooking. I suggest a spritz of lime juice, however you can also stir in some vinegar.

The Directions:

To make Lentil Soup in the Slow Cooker:

  1. Place first twelve ingredients (through ginger) in a 5- to 6-quart electric slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Stir well to combine.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW 6 hours, until lentils soften. Turn off heat, and stir in kale, coconut milk, and lime juice.
  3. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Spoon into bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Soup ingredients being added to a crockpot

To Make Lentil Soup in the Instant Pot:

  1. Set Instant Pot to SAUTE. Allow pot to heat for 3 minutes. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil, along with onions, carrot, garlic, tomato paste, turmeric, cumin, and ginger. Cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in salt, pepper, lentils, broth, and water. Cover and fasten lid. Lock and seal steam valve. Set to HIGH pressure for 5 minutes.
  3. When cooking ends, carefully release pressure by turning Pressure Release to VENT.
  4. Stir in kale, coconut milk, and lime juice; let stand 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Spoon into bowls and garnish with cilantro.

Soup in the crockpot after kale and coconut milk are mixed in

Recipe Variations

  • Slow Cooker Lentil Soup with Ham: Add 1 cup diced cooked ham to the slow cooker with the lentils. Cook as directed.
  • Lentil and Bacon Soup: Sauté 3 or 4 slices of finely chopped uncured bacon until crispy. Stir half of the bacon pieces into the soup once it finishes cooking, and reserve the remaining pieces for topping.
  • Slow Cooker Lentil Soup with Sausage: Slice 8 ounces of kielbasa sausage into 1/2-inch pieces, and add the pieces to the slow cooker with the lentils. Cook as directed. For a healthier spin, use chicken or turkey sausage.

Serving Suggestions:

This slow cooker lentil soup makes a mighty fine meal as is. The combination of protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats are sure to keep you satiated.

However, I also love serving it with a big green salad or bread for dipping. 

This Arugula and Persimmon Salad is a fabulous option, as well this as speedy Brussels Salad.

Close up of vegan lentil soup in a blue serving bowl

How to Store and Reheat:

This recipe can easily be doubled and frozen to enjoy for future meals.

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm soup in a medium sauce pan on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until hot. Or, rewarm gently in the microwave, stirring after every 30 seconds. 
  • To Freeze. Freeze soup in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • Programmable Slow Cooker: I’ve been using this 6-quart slow cooker for YEARS. I love that you can truly “set it and forget it”. 
  • Immersion Blender: Instead of dirtying your food processor, an immersion can do the job just as efficiently. 
  • Ladle: Dishwasher safe and inexpensive!

Slow Cooker Golden Lentil Soup topped with cilantro and a lime wedge

Other Slow Cooker Soup Recipes to Try:

Crockpot Vegetarian Chipotle Chili with Quinoa

Slow Cooker Rosemary Potato Soup

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

If you give this vegan lentil soup a try, be sure to tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations!

4.96 from 24 votes

Slow Cooker Golden Lentil Soup (Vegan)

Slow Cooker (or Instant Pot) Golden Lentil Soup is a low-fuss meal perfect for healthy weeknight meals. Rich in fiber, protein, & anti-inflammatory spices.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 5 servings

Equipment

  • 6-quart slow cooker OR Instant Pot

Ingredients  

  • 1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red lentils
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. freshly grated ginger (or 1 tsp. ground ginger)
  • 1 small bunch lacinato kale, stemmed and roughly chopped (or 3 handfuls of fresh baby spinach)
  • 1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice to taste
  • Optional garnishes: fresh chopped cilantro, a dollop of yogurt, brown butter almonds (recipe in notes)
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Instructions 

  • SLOW COOKER: Place first twelve ingredients (through ginger) in a 5- to 6-quart electric slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Stir well to combine.
    Cover and cook on LOW 6 hours, until lentils soften. Turn off heat, and stir in kale, coconut milk, and lime juice. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed (you may want a pinch more salt or black pepper for spice). Spoon into bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro.
  • INSTANT POT: Set Instant Pot to SAUTE. Allow pot to heat for 3 minutes. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil, along with onions, carrot, garlic, tomato paste, turmeric, cumin, and ginger. Cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in salt, pepper, lentils, broth, and water. Cover and fasten lid. Lock and seal steam valve. Set to HIGH pressure for 5 minutes.
    When cooking ends, carefully release pressure by turning Pressure Release to VENT. Stir in kale, coconut milk, and lime juice; let stand 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon into bowls and garnish with cilantro.

Notes

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm soup in a medium sauce pan on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until hot. Or, rewarm gently in the microwave, stirring after every 30 seconds. 
  • To Freeze. Freeze soup in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Optional brown butter almond garnish: Add 2 Tbsp. salted butter and 1/4 cup sliced almonds to a small skillet over medium heat. As the butter melts, continuously swirl the butter around the pan. The butter will go from brown to burnt quickly, so watch closely. Continue swirling the butter until it is light brown in color and the almonds are toasted. Once light brown with a nutty aroma, remove from the heat and stir in 1 tsp. sesame seeds. Spoon mixture over each bowl of soup.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 190kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 8.5g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 660mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g

I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

If you love this recipe, please leave a star rating and review below!

 

 

 

 

 

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Recipe Rating




48 Comments

  1. Liz says:

    4 stars
    Very creamy. I also added celery. I like this, but felt it was missing something that I couldn’t put my finger on. Added some curry powder which helped. Would make this again, but would probably play around with the ingredients- possibly more spice next time? Not sure.

  2. Rhea says:

    5 stars
    This was AMAZING! Threw in a hammock bone leftover from the holidays. Can’t wait to make this again! Perfect.

  3. Rita says:

    5 stars
    Follows the recipe exactly using the instapot and it is delicious! Adding the cilantro at the end really makes the flavors sing!

  4. Red and Howling says:

    5 stars
    BEST SOUP I’ve ver made hands down! Thank you Jamie! I make it once a week because my husband and I LOVE it and whenever I have guests over, too! Everyone RAVES about this soup and asks for the recipe. It is truly a miracle in a bowl. Most vegan soups lack flavor unless you punch them up with MSG flavor cubes…yuck!

    1. Meg I. says:

      5 stars
      I’ve tried a few lentil soups this fall, hands down this is the best one! I love it for its simplicity and easy with the InstantPot and that’s its a hearty enough soup for a weekday lunch. Thanks for sharing! Big hit with the family.

  5. Seija says:

    5 stars
    Completely satisfying and delicious. I only had a 1/2 tsp turmeric so I added 2 1/2 tsp curry powder. Used the instant pot instructions and it came out to perfection. Family loved it too, will be making again!

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      Hi Seija – I’m so glad it was a hit! Thank you so much for taking the time to come back and leave a review!

  6. Wendy says:

    5 stars
    I added diced rotisserie chicken it was very yummy

  7. Victoria Bonner says:

    5 stars
    Love this soup and have made it several times. I have added a couple of stalks of celery just to bulk up the veg a bit. One night in a pinch I used a lime balsamic vinegar as I was out of limes and that worked well.

  8. Eden M. says:

    5 stars
    This is the perfect winter soup when you’re craving something rich yet healthy. I love serving it with warm garlic naan!

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      Hi Eden – I’m so glad you enjoy this one! Thank you for coming back and leaving a review!