m. c. de marco: The New Kitchen Cookbook

Instant Pot Brown Lentil Stew

There are plenty of fancy French green lentil soup recipes out there for a six quart Instant Pot, but I was sadly out of French green lentils and only had some old brown lentils. Even more problematically, I tend not to have carrots or celery lying around. Yet I soldiered on with the help of Piping Pot Curry.

Serves 2–4.


  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 or more large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 c. brown lentils
  • 3 c. vegetable broth
  • 1–2 medium potatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • heaping ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • dash cayenne
  • dash za'atar (optional)
  • several sprigs fresh thyme or ½ tsp. dried (optional)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pepper to taste (optional)
  • up to 2 c. spinach or other greens
  • 1 T. lime or lemon juice


  1. Saute onions in oil (on the Saute setting).
  2. Add garlic and saute 1 minute.
  3. If your greens have thick stems, separate them and add them now.
  4. Add spices.
  5. Cancel Saute and add all remaining ingredients except the greens and juice.
  6. Close Instant Pot, seal vent, and press the Soup button for 20 minutes.
  7. Release naturally.
  8. Add greens and saute if needed. Add juice.

Serve hot with crusty bread.


Carrots and celery are traditional.

Replace the potatoes with farro, barley, or wheat berries.

Thyme is only optional because I forgot it the first time.

For less of a stew, skip the potatoes, add more broth, and/or add a can or two of tomatoes.