I fully admit to purchasing ingredients at times that are on sale, but I have no idea how I’ll use them. This could be a vegetable, protein source (like protein power that’s on sale) or a spice. It’s like buying a beautiful scarf and not having anywhere to wear it…yet!

Recently, I found a tiny box of fennel seeds at a close out store. I suppose I was wowed by the $1 price tag and the fact that they were organic. Fennel seeds usually remind me of the sweet ending of a meal at an Indian restaurant when they’re served with colored candy bits at the check out register. It always brings back memories of Good and Plenty candy!

I love the licorice-like flavor of fennel and figured it might go well in a soup. I found a lentil recipe online and luckily had all of the ingredients on hand with the exception of coriander. If you know anything about the way I cook, I typically substitute at least 1 or more ingredients in a recipe I see, then tweak the amounts the way I’d like.

I made this soup in my Instant pot, but it can be made on the stove as well. The beauty of lentils is that they are an excellent source of fiber and protein as well as potassium. They cook up much quicker than other dried legumes. The cook time will be about 45 minutes for the lentils to soften if cooked on the stove. This is what transpired


1 cup red lentils

2 Tbsp. canola oil

1 onion, chopped

1 Tbsp. dried fennel seeds

1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. tumeric

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

1/8 tsp. cinnamon

6 cups vegetable or chicken broth

chopped cilantro (optional)


  1. Rinse the lentils and set aside. Set the Instant pot to the sautee setting.
  2. Place the oil, onions, fennel seeds, sweet potatoes, carrots, garlic and spices in the instant pot and sautee for 5 minutes until vegetables are soft and coated with spices.
  3. Add the lentils and blend them with the spices.
  4. Add the vegetable or chicken broth and set the Instant pot on soup setting.
  5. Let the soup cook until done and release the pressure when cycle finishes.
  6. Serve with chopped cilantro

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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