I love it when my favorite things join forces to make a great meal. Imagine my happiness when I found a way to combine lentils, cabbage, and tomatoes into this bowl of lentil cabbage soup. It’s warm, hearty comfort food that’s great on a chilly day.
Updated October 23, 2019. After making this several times, I substituted vegetable broth for two of the cups of the water. It’s optional, but I think it adds some nice flavor. I also occasionally toss in some chopped golden potatoes. If you have tried this as is or have made it your way, please share that in the comments.
You’ll have no trouble finding these ingredients, and you might have most of them in your fridge or pantry already. We always have cabbage on hand because it’s such a versatile vegetable. You can eat it raw, steamed, added to a stir-fry, and in soups like this one. It’s good for you too. Check out the health benefits here. With very few calories and loads of nutrients, it’s perfect in lots of recipes. You can find it in our colorful edamame slaw and shrimp with soba noodles.
But the lentils are the main attraction here. Their flavor, texture, and protein are what makes this lentil cabbage soup a meal. I used green lentils, but French lentils would work also. Red lentils don’t keep their shape
When choosing canned tomatoes for this soup, look for a type with some added flavors. Most brands offer varieties with garlic and olive oil, or Italian style. It’s not essential that you do this, but it will add extra flavor.
The other seasonings tie all the flavors together so that what’s good for you also tastes great.
Making Instant Pot Lentil Cabbage Soup
Everything happens in one place – your Instant Pot!. Other types of pressure cookers work too, and you can use a slow cooker if you prefer. But for me, the ease of the Instant Pot makes it my go-to appliance for soups and beans. To get started sauté the onions and garlic. After a few minutes add the Italian seasoning and minced ginger.
Then add the rest of the ingredients, put the lid on, and turn on the Instant Pot.
After 12 minutes on the pressure cook setting, release the pressure and open up the Instant Pot. At this point, the bay leaves have done their job so be sure to remove them before serving.
When the soup is ready, add the red wine vinegar. That brings out the flavor of the lentils. All types of beans and lentils need some tangy acid, and vinegar serves that purpose here. If you like things spicy, try your favorite pepper seasoning – Cholula and sriracha sauce both have a special space in our fridge. Another condiment that we add to lots of our soups is a squirt or two of Italian dressing. That addition can liven up a bowl of soup like this one.
Instant Pot Lentil Cabbage Soup
- 1 cup green lentils
- 1/2 cup yellow onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 T olive oil
- 2 cups sliced cabbage
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 4 T red wine vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 15 oz can of Italian style tomatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 cups of water or 2 cups vegetable broth + 3 cups of water
- Mince the garlic or put it through a garlic press.
- Slice or chop the onion into ¼ inch pieces.
- Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot and press the sauté setting.
- Sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is soft and mostly clear.
- Add the Italian seasoning and ginger and sauté these ingredients with the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes.
- Turn off the sauté setting.
- Wash the lentils.
Add the following ingredients to the instant pot:
- 5 cups of water (or 2 cups vegetable broth + 3 cups of water)
- 15 oz can of Italian style tomatoes
- Washed lentils
- Sliced cabbage
- Bay leaves
- Put the lid on the instant pot and turn the steam handle to the sealing position.
- Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes.
- You can let the pressure release gradually or vent it to release the pressure.
- Add the red wine vinegar, remove the bay leaves, and serve.
- The cook time listed is an estimate and includes the sautéing the onions and garlic, plus the time needed on the pressure cook setting.
- The prep time is the amount of time it takes to chop the cabbage and onions and to push the garlic through a garlic press. If you do those steps ahead of time, the prep time is even shorter.
- If you have a 3 quart Instant Pot, add the water or broth last, being careful not to go over the maxium level line.
Products used in this recipe