Instant Pot Lentil Soup with Sausage & Kale

Hands holding bowl of instant pot lentil soup.

Instant Pot Lentil Soup with Sausage comes together quickly and easily with the help of your pressure cooker. This hearty soup is perfect for chilly days.

The instant pot is the quickest way to create delicious soups at home. Take for example, my Instant Pot Minestrone Soup, Instant Pot French Onion Soup, and Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup. It seems that I never even make soup on the stovetop anymore. 🤷🏼‍♀️🤷🏼‍♀️🤷🏼‍♀️

But, if you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can also make this lentil soup with sausage on the stove.

It may come as no surprise that I have a bit of an obsession with lentils… Take these recent recipes for instance:

So, this soup was bound to jump to the top of my favorites list. Not to mention that Italian sausage and hearty kale running through it.

This Instant Pot Lentil Soup is basically a meal in a bowl. Plus, it’s packed with protein, fiber and vitamins.

How to make instant pot lentil soup:

  • Sauté the sausage. Cook until meat crumbles and begins to brown.
  • Add onion, celery and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add stock, lentils, red pepper flakes, tomatoes and stir.
  • Cook on manual HIGH pressure for 12 minutes.
  • Add kale and vinegar. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper.
  • Enjoy!

Notes:

Heat level:

I used mild Italian sausage in this recipe, just to make it suitable those who don’t care for too much heat. But then, I doctored it up with some red pepper flakes.

You can customize this recipe to your heat preference by adding more or less red pepper flakes, or you can use hot Italian sausage and have that spice right from the start.

Broth:

I used some of my homemade slow cooker bone broth as the stock (I had it on hand in the freezer), but you can swap it out for some boxed chicken broth too. You can also make bone broth in the instant pot.

If you’d like to make this a vegetarian lentil soup, simply swap in some vegetable stock for the chicken stock and leave out the sausage.

Baby kale:

Look for baby kale in your produce section by the bagged lettuce mixes. If you can’t find baby kale, you can also use spinach or arugula.

There’s a whopping 5 cups of baby kale in this sausage lentil soup, which sounds like a massive amount, but really, as it cooks in the warm soup, it shrinks down to almost nothing. Don’t be alarmed when you first try to fit it all into your Instant Pot at the end. Just add a bit at a time and keep stirring.

2 bowls of lentil soup on counter.

Adding flavor at the end:

I added in a splash of red wine vinegar and some fresh parsley to really give this soup some bright flavor, and, don’t forget to season with salt and pepper. You’ll need a good sprinkling of both, but it will depend on the salt content of your chicken stock.

Make it cheesy!

As I’m typing this post, I’m really wondering why I didn’t grate a bunch of parmesan cheese over the top of these warm bowls of soup – Definitely doing that next time. But even without it, this Instant Pot Lentil Soup was a standout!

Instant pot lentil soup variations:

  • Instant Pot Vegan Lentil Soup: Leave out the sausage and swap the chicken broth for vegetable stock. You could add in 1 pound of diced potatoes too.
  • Instant Pot Lentil Soup with Ham: Swap out the sausage for 1 1/2 cups cooked & cubed ham. Add it when the stock and lentils go in.
  • Instant Pot Lentil Soup with Bacon: Swap out the sausage for 6 strips of thick bacon cut into 1/2″ pieces. Brown it using the sauté function as you would with the sausage.
  • Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup: Swap the green lentils for red lentils. The cook time will remain the same, but your soup will be a bit more creamy as the red lentils will break down more.
  • No Instant Pot? You can also make this lentil soup with sausage on the stove.
Overhead close up of bowl of lentil soup with spoon.

How to store and reheat Instant Pot Lentil Soup:

  • To Store: Store in a tightly covered container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat: Gently reheat on the stove over medium-low heat until hot. You can also microwave the leftovers.
  • To Freeze: Store in a tightly sealed container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Wine pairings for lentil soup with sausage:

  • Medium-bodied, rustic wines like Chianti, Cotes du Rhone, and Sangiovese have earthy, spicy flavors that echo those in the Italian sausage and lentils.

What to serve with lentil soup:

Hands holding spoon and bowl of lentil soup arranged next to bowl of red pepper flakes.

If you loved this Instant Pot Lentil Soup recipe I would appreciate it so much if you would give it star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

For more great Platings & Pairings recipes, be sure to follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

More instant pot recipes

More instant pot soup recipes:

Instant Pot Lentil Soup Recipe

Hands holding bowl of instant pot lentil soup.

Instant Pot Lentil Soup with Sausage & Kale

This Instant Pot Lentil Soup with Sausage & Kale comes together quickly with the help of your electric pressure cooker. It’s a hearty soup that’s perfect for chilly days.
4.38 from 81 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bulk mild Italian sausage
  • 1 medium yellow onion (diced)
  • 2 celery stalks (thinly sliced, with leafy tops)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 4 cups bone broth (or chicken stock)
  • 2 cups dried lentils
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 5 cups baby kale leaves (loosely packed )
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Hit “saute” button on Instant Pot. Add sausage and cook until meat crumbles and begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add onion, celery and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add stock, lentils, red pepper flakes, tomatoes and stir.
  • Place lid on Instant Pot and make sure the release valve is in the “sealing” position. Press “manual” button and set timer for 12 minutes.
  • The Instant Pot will warm up for about 10 minutes and then start cooking. After 12 minutes, quick-release by flipping the release valve to “venting.”
  • Add kale and vinegar. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Nutrition

Calories: 549kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 656mg | Potassium: 1158mg | Fiber: 20g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 5970IU | Vitamin C: 76.7mg | Calcium: 148mg | Iron: 6.8mg

This recipe was originally published in November 2017. It was updated in January 2021 to add new photographs, information, and an instructional video. The recipe remains the same. Enjoy!

54 comments

  1. Yoni

    What type of lentils did you use?

    Thanks!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi Yoni – I used brown lentils.

      Reply

  2. Celeste

    What size instant pot did you use for this soup? Thanks!!

    Reply

  3. Anna

    Do you know what the conversions for time would be for a crock pot?

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi Anna – I would loosely follow this recipe and cook it for 8-10 hours on low. Hope this helps!

      Reply

  4. Sam

    5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious – perfect for a day when the temps stayed in the single digits! The lentils were cooked perfectly in the Instant Pot, I ended up using 2 – 14 oz. cans of diced tomatoes since I didn’t have crushed and it was perfect. Thank you for a great recipe – will definitely put lentils into the rotation after trying this.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      So glad to hear that you liked this soup Sam – The Instant Pot makes things so easy!

      Reply

    2. Michelle

      5 stars
      Holy cow this is delicious!!!! I paired it with some creamy mashed potatoes. I absolutely love this and how easy it was, thanks!!!!!!

      Reply

  5. Charlene

    4 stars
    I should’ve read the comments before I made this dish in my 3 quart instant pot. I realized after I put the hot pepper flakes that I was up to the fill line so I just cooked what was in the pot minus the tomatoes. Once the pressure cooking was done I transferred everything to a stockpot added the tomatoes kale and red wine vinegar and he did gently on the stove came out fine. Under servings above it says “people’ is a serving size a cup? Cup and a half? Not sure what you were calling a serving size.

    Reply

    1. Sonia

      5 stars
      This recipe is very nutritious and delicious! Family loved it! I added carrots and sausage slices. Thanks for the recipe! Will make it again!

      Reply

      1. Erin

        You are so welcome Sonia!

        Reply

  6. 19 Insanely Tasty Instant Pot Recipes to try NOW!

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    Reply

  7. Janice S Ribeiro

    5 stars
    This soup is delicious! I added an extra clove of garlic to the pot and a drizzle of olive oil just before serving! It is a meal, for sure. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to more as I learn to cook in the Instant Pot. So far, I love it.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      So glad to hear that you liked this soup Janice! Please stop by again soon – I’ll be putting a new Instant Pot recipe out each week!

      Reply

  8. Joya

    5 stars
    Sooooo delicious and so easy it felt like cheating. I used roasted crushed tomatoes and WOW!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Yay! So happy you enjoyed the recipe Joya!

      Reply

  9. Leslie

    5 stars
    I made this tonight with some leftover smoked pastrami from st patties day. I skipped the vinegar, used fire roasted tomatoes and added a few dashes of spike. Yum yum yum!!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Your substitutions sound amazing Leslie! So glad you liked it!

      Reply

  10. Smitha @ Running with SD Mom

    I made this tonight for dinner tomorrow night and everything is perfect! Especially that last minute add of red wine vinegar. God bless the Instant pot!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the recipe!

      Reply

  11. Nicole

    28 oz can of tomatoes seems like it would be way too much….do you mean 15 oz can?

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Nope! The 28-ounce can works perfectly!

      Reply

  12. Megan

    5 stars
    This is great! I the only changes I made were to use hot Italian sausage (and omitted the red pepper flakes) and spinach instead of kale as that’s what I had. The soup is super thick, which I like, but I still added another cup of chicken broth. So excited to freeze in portions so I can take to work for lunches now that the weather is getting cooler. 🙂

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so happy to hear that you liked it Megan! This soup is DEFINITELY perfect for these cooler months!

      Reply

  13. Mo

    Can tofu be used instead of sausage? What about French green lentils?

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi Mo! I would give it a try! The French Green Lentils will definitely work! Let me know how the tofu works out!

      Reply

  14. Nicole

    5 stars
    This is one of my husband and my favorite (Instant Pot) meals. It’s hearty, healthy, and like a perfect hug in a bowl for a cold day. It’s thick like a stew. Great with a piece of crusty loaf of bread. Freezes beautifully if you want to meal prep. Happy for the cold weather since I get to make this again!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so happy to hear you like it Nicole – Thanks for the feedback!

      Reply

  15. Art

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe! I used Swiss chard instead of kale and went a little lighter on the red pepper flakes…..makes for a thick soup with superb flavors….thank you!

    Reply

  16. Alyssa

    5 stars
    This was delicious! The kids weren’t too sure about the lentils at first, but they ended up polishing off big bowls of it. We’ll definitely make this again!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so glad you guys liked it Alyssa!

      Reply

  17. Andrea

    Would red lentils work for this?

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi Andrea – Red lentils cook faster than green and they break down more. With red lentils, it will still work but your soup will have more of a creamy texture. Hope that helps!

      Reply

  18. Jill

    5 stars
    YUM! This was delicious, and easy and quick. Basically the weeknight recipe trifecta! I used red lentils and they were basically liquified by the end, but it made for a really thick, smooth velvety stew like texture which we loved. Also used hot italian sausage and did not need to add red pepper flakes. I also think you can increase the greens – you can get a lot of these to wilt into the stew. Will be keeping this in heavy rotation. Thanks Erin!

    Reply

  19. Sarah

    Looks so yummy!

    I have a real problem with Kale after being forced to eat it as a kid (we grew it in our front yard).

    Can you suggest an alternative to the kale? Collard greens maybe? I cannot eat kale.

    thanks,
    Sarah

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi Sarah – Definitely! I would use spinach or collard greens.

      Reply

  20. Krystle

    Do you think I could use frozen spinach and kale?

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I think that will work just fine Krystle!

      Reply

  21. Wanda

    5 stars
    I love this soup! I used hot Italian sausage and green lentils, and spinach in place of kale. It turned out fantastic. Even my fussy husband loved it. I froze individual servings so I could take them for lunch and now that the weather has turned cold it’s great to have this hot and spicy soup at lunchtime. Thank you for this wonderful recipe.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it Wanda!

      Reply

  22. Karina

    5 stars
    I’ve eaten lentils before but have always been too nervous to cook them. My husband is also a picky eater so I figured he’d just eat around them. I made this soup for dinner last night and it was absolutely delicious and my husband even asked for it to be on our weekly rotation. It was deceptively easy, so I just threw a few ingredients into the pot and watched my favorite TV show. The only change I made was to stir in a mix of baby kale, spinach, and collard greens (bought the wrong bag at the store), and all tasted great in the soup. I served it with bread.

    Thanks for this amazing recipe!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so happy to hear that you both liked it Karina – and that you got some TV time in the meantime (isn’t it the best?!). Cheers!

      Reply

  23. Sue

    5 stars
    So delicious! I was sad the first day I made it and it was gone! was actually happy the weather got cooler so I could make it again! Used carrots instead of celery as that’s what I had. Perfectly tender. Never thought I would be a lentil fan. Thanks for a delicious and EASY recipe!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      You’re so welcome Sue! I’m glad you liked it!!!

      Reply

  24. Clancy

    5 stars
    This was delicious. I didnt have sausage. I used smoked pork butt trimmings. I dont do well with the saute yet. So I just put everything in the beginning. It was great.

    Reply

  25. Carol

    I’m in Australia and not sure what “bulk Italian sausage” is or if we even have an equivalent. However I am thinking to use sliced chorizo instead …. hope it will work because I have heaps of kale growing in my garden 🙂

    Reply

  26. Laurie

    5 stars
    This is a hearty, sticks-to-your-ribs kind of soup. I used chorizo sausage in this recipe. It is AMAZING! Quite spicy but the shredded parm on top cuts the heat a little. Perfect for a cloudy cold day here. I will definitely make this again, and again!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so happy you liked it Laurie!

      Reply

  27. Clarissa Benzing

    5 stars
    So happy I found this recipe! I used what I had on hand, leftover ham from Xmas, Marsala cooking wine for red wine vinegar and lacinato kale in place of baby kale. Looking forward to making this again with all the right ingredients 🙂

    Reply

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  29. Mara

    5 stars
    Wonderful flavor! I loved it thank you!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      You’re so welcome Mara!

      Reply

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