Pressure Cooker Lentil Orzo Soup
A warm, thick, hearty soup perfect for the cold, winter days we’re having. My husband said this was more of a stew than a soup because it was so thick and hearty. This was my first time making lentil soup and it’s was a big hit with the family.
I adapted this recipe for the pressure cooker from The Garden Grazer. Pressure cooker lentil soup has been on my recipes to try list for a while now and Kaitlin’s recipe appealed to me because my family loves orzo in soups. I thought the addition of orzo would help make the soup seem a little more familiar, but feel free to omit the orzo if you’d rather.
Making Lentil Orzo Soup in an Instant Pot
Of course homemade chicken stock or broth is the best base for soups, but I don’t take the time to make it very often. Since I bought my pressure cooker, I’ve been making more and more soups, and using canned chicken broth was a little expensive, so lately I’ve been using this chicken base instead. Sam’s Club sells it and it adds a great flavor to soups. I also like the Better Than Bouillon base that Costco sells.
My husband decided we should also add some diced, grilled chicken that I keep in the freezer for quick meals. It was a great addition, especially in a family of meat lovers.
Lentils cook in one third the time in the pressure cooker that it takes on the stove. So this soup is ready to eat in about 30 minutes.
Lentil Orzo Soup
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cans (15 oz.) diced tomatoes
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups brown lentils, rinsed
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup orzo
- 2 cups roughly chopped baby spinach
- Select sauté and add oil to cooking pot. When oil is hot, sauté onion and carrots until tender, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, cook for one minute. Add tomatoes, broth, water, lentils, cumin, garlic salt, red pepper flakes, parsley, salt and pepper.
- Select high pressure and 10 minutes cook time. When beep sounds turn pressure cooker off, use a Quick Pressure Release to release the pressure.
- When valve drops carefully remove lid, tilting away from you to allow steam to disperse.
- Select Simmer and add orzo; simmer 10 minutes or until orzo and lentils are tender.
- Add spinach and cook until spinach wilts.
- Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed.
adapted from The Garden Grazer
More soup recipes you might like:
Turkey Noodle Soup
Quick White Chicken Chili
Chicken Tomatillo Soup with Hominy
You should really look into healthy alternatives. Vegetable oil is not the best for you and using chicken stock is soooo healthy for you rather then the powder stuff you recommend.
As I mentioned in the post, homemade chicken stock is the best option, but the chicken base, which is a paste is a good alternative.
Hello! I’m barely playing with my instapot duo mini and I’m so scared and excited! I’ve been reading a lot of your blog, thank you! For this recipe, if I wanted to add uncooked chicken, when would I add it to the pot, to cook?
Hi Lena – I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying my site. I think boneless, skinless chicken thighs would work well with this recipe and you could add them with the lentils before pressure cooking. You could also cook large boneless, skinless chicken breasts for 10 minutes and shred them while the orzo is cooking. Let me know if you try it.
So far I hadn’t found a lentil soup that I liked – until now! I had lentils, I had orzo, I had spinach… so I gave it a try! And it was delicious!
Sounds like it was meant to be – thanks Becky!
I love cooking in my Instant Pot!
Will try this recipe as you’ve suggested but why wouldn’t I use the soup button? Most recipes I find seldom call on using the preset buttons so what are they used for?
Hi Donna – you could use the soup button and adjust the time to the time in the recipe if you prefer. I don’t use the pre-set buttons because not everyone has the same preset buttons with the same times. Enjoy!
I am very excited to try this recipe. I have a bag of Earthy Choice Lentil Trio with red split, green and black beluga lentils. I was wondering if I omit the orzo, my family doesn’t like it, and substitute chickpeas at what point would I add them. They are canned not dried, and would I need to adjust the liquid.
Hi DeAnna – I think substituting chickpeas is a great idea. Since they’re canned I would stir them in after pressure cooking and simmer them for a few minutes to absorb some of the flavor of the broth. I don’t think you’ll need additional liquid but you could add some if you want a thinner soup. Let me know how it goes 🙂
Thanks for this recipe. How should I modify the time if I soak the lentils first?
Ruth I wouldn’t soak the lentils- though many beans need to be soaked, lentils do not.
I could not find orzo at the store today, do you know how rice would do as a substitute and how long it would need to cook for in the recipe? This looks delicious and I’m excited to try it!! Thanks for sharing!!
Hi Aaron – I’d probably just omit the orzo. But if you want to add rice, I’d probably cook the rice first and then just stir it in after pressure cooking the lentils. https://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/pressure-cooker-white-rice/ Then you don’t have to worry about changing the liquid in the soup to account for the liquid the rice will absorb.
Hi… I’m brand new to IP. I have the 5 qt size. Would this recipe be appropriate for that pot? Also…the suggestion to add Italian sausage i’d like to try. I haven’t had a piece of any brand sausage in 45 yrs. Would you tell me when I put it in & do I slice or chop? I bought this IP just for lentils(red,french green,brown). I am so excited to find this site as tomorrow I plan to experiment. My first undertaking was sweet potato. Perfect. I was thrilled & am now going for a Big Girl recipe…lol… Thanks for anything to help(how do I buy sausage? I’ve only had Jones frozen when young…).
I’m sure you’ll love this soup then. You really could use any sausage that you like. Either links or ground would be fine. I would brown it first and remove excess grease then proceed with the recipe as written, adding the sausage in when you add the tomatoes. Hope you love it! Be sure and try the lentil taco filling as well https://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/pressure-cooker-turkey-lentil-taco-filling/. Have fun!
Funny that you are making more soup with the pressure cooker – but not broth! 🙂 No need to buy canned broth or a powdered bouillon.
Hi Marie – homemade pressure cooker chicken broth is fabulous, but people often don’t have the time to make it. I don’t include it in the recipe to simplify the process but definitely use homemade if you have the time. https://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/chicken-stock-in-the-pressure-cooker/
Wondering if I could use Italian sausage in this? Would that taste ok?
Hi Michelle – yes, I think Italian sausage would be a deliicous addition.
Thanks Barbara! Made this tonight with the sausage and without Orzo. So yummy and quick!
This was great! I added chopped roast chicken (like you get in the deli section of the grocery store) and used kale instead of spinach (I had some around). We also added some shaved parmesean cheese before serving.
It was excellent!
Thanks Mike – sounds like great additions.
Are there directions to make this without using the pressure cooker?
Hi Debi – I adapted it from this recipe http://www.thegardengrazer.com/2012/03/lentil-orzo-soup.html
If there was just one reason to buy a pressure cooker – lentil soup is it! Sauté up some aromatics, add uncooked meats if desired (or previously cooked meats at the end); add vegetables, lentils and broth and FIFTEEN MINUTES later you’re enjoying homemade, DELICIOUS, good-for-your soup made with ingredients you can be confident about. It’s one of those “recipes” that’s ideal for cleaning out the refrigerator! Ham, turkey, chicken, kielbasa, some steak? Pop ’em in. Some leftover carrots, peas, bok choy, corn or green beans? Perfect! Heck, you can even stir in that half-empty carton of whipping cream at the end. Sprinkle it with the last bit of parmesan. Less-than-perfect herbs are also a great addition.
I bought my first pressure cooker shortly after I moved out of my parents home at age 18 (Reagan was President and only “just”). I still have that pressure cooker (but it now has 3 siblings). The cookbook that came with it (it’s a Hawkins Futura) has a great lentil soup recipe in it and one of the suggestions was to add a splash of vinegar (sherry, balsamic, whatever) at the end. It’s a great trick that I still always use; complements the earthy flavor of the lentils very well.
I can’t imagine trying to cook without my pressure cooker(s). Invest in your family’s health and buy one! It will pay for itself via time savings, food waste reduction and personal satisfaction in no time at all.
Thanks for sharing Patrick. 🙂
Hi Debi – Pressure cookers are the way to go. Especially with the new electric ones, they are full of safety features and less likely to blow up. I had my Mom’s original Presto pressure cooker – the one that my Dad brought home in the 50’s and cooked with it on the stove. When it finally died in 1999 I bought my first electric pressure cooker. Since then in 2012, I bought my 2nd electric pressure cooker.- which is a big 10 quart cooker. I use it for (lentil soup, split pea soup, stews, corned beef, chilies, chicken and dumplings, etc.) almost everything that I cook because it is the only way to get good, fast and healthy meals where you control everything. It is also great because now that there is just me at home, I can freeze so many meals to heat up later when I don’t feel like cooking. You really need to invest in one.
Hi Barbara! So glad you and your family enjoyed it – one of my favorite soups for sure! Your photos are wonderful. Cozy up to a bowl of this soup and stay warm!! 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by my site to let me know!
This looks wonderful. Soups are definitely popular on the menus this time of year! can’t wait to try it.
Love soups and in this cold weather, we eat a lot of them! Want to try this one for sure. Thank you for such great recipes and so much information on how to use these new pressure cookers. I am liking mine more and more!
Thanks Nancy – glad you’re enjoying your pressure cooker and my recipes.
I made the soup exactly as directed and it was wonderful! I did appreciate the addition of the grilled chicken. I was surprised by how filling it is. It does make a LOT and I hope it will freeze well.
Thanks for a great dinner idea!
Thanks Dorothy – so glad you enjoyed it. Yes, it makes a lot of soup and it freezes and reheats very well.
I wonder if I can convince Bob to try lentils again-he swears he doesn’t like them after having lentil soup at work. Fingers crossed! 🙂
Maybe start with half the bag of lentils and double the orzo, then he’ll hardly notice them 🙂
Woops – sigh…. just found the link to print…. guess more coffee is required….
No worries! Enjoy the recipe.
I love the idea of the lentil soup/stew…. I want to print the recipe out – is there an easy way please? When I checked it wanted to print 8 pages… yikes, another tree would die… I just need the ingredients and the method….TIA
Bryden – there’s a print recipe button on the top right hand side of the recipe. That will allow you to only print the recipe.
Lentil Soup (stew) gets even thicker the second day. A tip: it makes a great Shepherd’s Pie! Just spread the stew into a prepared pan, top with mashed potatoes and some butter and bake. It’s a great way to enjoy the leftovers.
That’s a great idea. Thanks for sharing.