Instant Pot Minestrone Soup

You may have noticed an abundance of Instant Pot recipes lately! I’m working my way through updating old recipes and adapting them for my pressure cooker. My latest success is adapting one of my favorite recipes, Instant Pot Minestrone Soup! Instant Pot Minestrone Soup may just be the perfect plant-based soup! Veggies, beans, broth and pasta create a hearty and healthy soup! I have been in love with the stove top version of this delicious, plant-based soup for years. The only thing I don’t love about it is how long it takes to make it. It still takes time to cut the veggies but making it in the Instant Pot means I can walk away from it and come back when it’s done. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you’ll love my stove top version of Minestrone Soup that has been a reader favorite for years! Instant Pot Minestrone Soup may just be the perfect plant-based soup! Veggies, beans, broth and pasta create a hearty and healthy soup!

Pressure Cooking with Pasta

The one thing that concerned me about making Minestrone in a pressure cooker was the noodles. Pasta and pressure cooking don’t always mix. I’ve had the best luck with whole wheat pasta like rotini or penne. I haven’t gotten gluten-free pasta to work in my pressure cooker, yet. If you are gluten-free, I recommend cooking your pasta on the stove and adding it to your soup after it is done. Even if you are not gluten-free, you may want to cook your pasta on the stove anyway. This soup creates a lovely broth, the noodles will soak it up and leave you with a casserole type dish instead of a soup. It tastes great either way but you can avoid that by adding cooked pasta right before serving. Instant Pot Minestrone Soup may just be the perfect plant-based soup! Veggies, beans, broth and pasta create a hearty and healthy soup!

Building Flavor

One of the reasons I’ve always loved Minestrone Soup is the variety of ingredients. You have veggies, beans, pasta and a flavorful broth. When I cook this on the stove I’ll let it simmer and tweak the flavors as it cooks. You can’t do that in the Instant Pot. I use my dry Veggie Broth Mix to give this soup a robust flavor. If you have a favorite veggie broth, by all means, use it instead of water. I simply add 1 Tablespoon of Veggie Broth Mix for each cup of water. For this recipe, that is 1/2 cup of Veggie Broth Mix. You’ll want to add salt and pepper to taste as well. I prefer to sprinkle both on my bowl right before eating. Instant Pot Minestrone Soup may just be the perfect plant-based soup! Veggies, beans, broth and pasta create a hearty and healthy soup!

Instant Pot Minestrone Soup

This soup has a long ingredient list but it’s really easy to make. If you will be pressed for time, you can precut the onion, carrots, and celery ahead of time. The rest of the ingredients are dumped into the pot.

Instant Pot Minestrone Soup
 
Author:
Recipe type: Instant Pot
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 4 stalks chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (2-3 carrots)
  • 1 15 oz can white navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can green beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 8 cups of water with ½ cup Veggie Broth Mix (or 8 cups of your favorite veggie broth)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups whole wheat noodles (or gluten-free noodles if needed)
  • 2 cups spinach (optional)
Instructions
  1. Dump onion, celery, carrots, and canned items into the pot.
  2. Add water and Veggie Broth Mix (or veggie broth) along with other spices.
  3. If using whole wheat noodles, add them to the Instant Pot. Make sure they are covered with liquid. This should be below the max fill line.
  4. Close the lid, press manual and decrease the minutes to 5 minutes. Adjust the pressure to low.
  5. It will take a while for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure. After it finishes cooking, use the quick pressure release method. Be careful, escaping steam and liquid will be hot.
  6. Carefully remove the lid and add the spinach. Replace the lid, sealing isn't necessary.
  7. Let sit for 10 minutes, then remove lid and stir.

This delicious soup is easy to adapt if you are missing an ingredient. I usually have all of these on hand but occasionally I’ll be missing green beans or spinach. I forgot to add spinach when I made the recipe for these photos! It still tastes great! You can also use frozen or fresh ingredients instead of canned. It still comes out great! Do you love Minestrone Soup? Have you tried it in the Instant Pot?

Instant Pot Refried Beans

Before we get too far into this post I need to be upfront. These aren’t actually refried beans. They aren’t fried and contain no oil! I call them Instant Pot Refried Beans so you’ll know this recipe is for the Instant Pot and so you’ll know what to expect bean wise.

Enjoy restaurant style refried beans without sacrificing your health. These oil-free, plant-based refried beans are made in the Instant Pot.

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In 2012 when I started blogging, one of my first recipes was called Unfried Beans. I love that recipe but it has people confused and it doesn’t exactly rank high in Google searches because no one searches for unfried beans.

This new recipe, designed for the Instant Pot, is basically that same delicious recipe I’ve made hundreds of times. Since it’s all being cooked together I add fresh onion and garlic. I usually added those when I cook beans on the stove top as well.

Enjoy restaurant style refried beans without sacrificing your health. These oil-free, plant-based refried beans are made in the Instant Pot.

I first developed the old recipe when we went plant-based. We wanted the same delicious flavors we had always loved without the meat and lard! It’s kinda gross to think about.

Thankfully, this version uses spices we always have on hand because I put them in everything!

Enjoy restaurant style refried beans without sacrificing your health. These oil-free, plant-based refried beans are made in the Instant Pot.

If you have a food processor, it will save you a lot of time. I have a 10 cup Hamilton Beach food processor that we’ve used over 5 years. It’s not too expensive and has never let me down.

If you don’t have a food processor you could use a blender, immersion blender, potato masher or a fork. A food processor works the best though.

Instant Pot Refried Beans

We enjoy these beans on anything and everything! Try them in Nachos, Tostadas, burritos or a big bowl by themselves!

Instant Pot Refried Beans
 
Enjoy this easy and delicious refried bean recipe the whole family will love. This oil-free, plant-based recipe is low in fat but high in flavor!
Author:
Recipe type: Instant Pot
Ingredients
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced or chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cups dried pinto beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt (to your taste)
Instructions
  1. Add diced onion, minced garlic, spices, beans and water to the Instant Pot.
  2. Cook on manual for 40 minutes on high pressure.
  3. After natural pressure release, scoop out excess water. Reserve it in case you need extra.
  4. Add 2 teaspoons of salt, more or less to your own taste
  5. Use a food processor, potato masher or immersion blender to puree.
  6. Add reserved bean water if needed until you get a smooth texture.

Enjoy restaurant style refried beans without sacrificing your health. These oil-free, plant-based refried beans are made in the Instant Pot.

If you have an Instant Pot, be sure to give these refried beans a try! They are perfect for batch cooking because you can use them in so many other recipes!

What are your favorite ways to eat refried beans?

August 28, 2017 Plant-Based Meal Plan

This week’s meal plan is focused on some of our easiest plant-based favorites! My goal is to do some batch cooking with a few basics, like unfried beans,  and use those in a lot of meals in this weeks meal plan.

We love Mexican food so that heavily influences our meal plan every week. In fact, we could have Mexican food every day and be completely happy!

Check out thisPlant-Based Meal Plan with easy family-friendly recipes!

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Simple Plant-Based Meal Plan

Monday

Blueberry Muffins with fresh fruit or smoothies

Veggie Sandwich

Instant Pot Mexican Casserole

Tuesday

Blueberry Oatmeal

Burritos with leftover casserole

Minestrone Soup (I’m attempting it in the Instant Pot!)

Wednesday

Breakfast Hash

Soup and salad

Bean and Rice Burritos made with Unfried Beans and Mexican Rice

Thursday

Chia Porridge

Leftover Burritos

Tostadas and Mexican Rice

Friday

Steel Cut Oats with apples and blueberries cooking in the Instant Pot

Baked Potatoes

Plant-Based Nachos using the leftover beans and rice


One of the benefits of this type of meal plan is that I only cook a few things, then I reuse ingredients in several meals. It saves time cooking since I’ll effectively only cook the Mexican Casserole, beans, and rice for dinner. I’ll reuse these in most of the other lunch and dinner meals.

Do you like to batch cook? What do you normally make and how do you use it?

August 21, 2017 Plant-Based Meal Plan

Whether you are new to a plant-based diet or long time plant-based eater, having a plant-based meal plan is a great way to make sure you stay on track with healthy eating. The simpler the meal plan, the easier it is to follow.

This week’s meal plan offers a lot of plant-based recipes. I like to show a full menu, but to keep it simple, I’ll only cook a few of them but double the portions so we can have leftovers. This week’s meal plan uses a lot of pantry staples and basic fresh ingredients that we always have on hand. You can follow along on Instagram to see what we end up eating.

Another thing we do to keep things easy is a grocery pick up. Depending on where you live, some stores allow you to shop for your groceries online or through an app, set a pickup time, then drive to the store. Then an employee brings the groceries out to your vehicle. This is so helpful if you have small children you don’t want to take in the store or have a really busy schedule.

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Plant-Based Meal Plan

Don’t worry about following the whole plant-based meal plan. Let this week’s meal plan inspire you to try new recipes!

Monday

Instant Pot Oatmeal with diced apples or blueberries

Baked Potatoes

Plant-Based Nachos! You have to try these!

Tuesday

Toast with fruit

Veggie Sandwich

Mexican Casserole

Wednesday

Overnight Oats

Burritos using leftovers

Chickpea and Rice Soup in the Instant Pot

Thursday

Instant Pot Oatmeal

Soup and Salad

Busy Night Pasta

Friday

Toast or bagels with peanut butter and fresh fruit

Leftovers

Tofu Kabobs (made in my Air Fryer) and a side dish


Have you heard of the Plant Fit Summit? Don’t miss this free, online event with 33 renowned doctors, elite athletes and people who’ve been through the worst challenges, reveal how you can live your life the way it’s meant to be lived: healthy, active and fun.

The summit runs September 1-10! Sign up today!

Pineapple and Tofu Kabobs

These Pineapple and Tofu Kabobs are the perfect introduction to tofu!

These easy Tofu Kabobs are a great way to introduce your family to tofu!

When we first went plant-based I was a little afraid of tofu. I had never tried it and didn’t know what to expect. Years later, I’m happy to say that we love tofu. We don’t have it often but when we do it’s a crowd pleaser.

Cooking Tofu

There are a few different ways I like to eat tofu; we eat it crumbled in a tofu scramble, diced and cooked in a skillet, or cooked in my Air Fryer.

When I bought my GoWiseUSA Air Fryer I had two things I wanted to make, crispy fries and Tofu Kabobs.

Grilling isn’t an option for us. Our grill is pretty old and since we stopped cooking meat, we stopped using it and it fell into disrepair. Broiling and roasting in the summer is out because we live in Arizona and it’s too hot. In the summer, I don’t use my oven because it heats up the house.

You can definitely make these on the grill or in the oven if you don’t have an Air Fryer. I’ve even cooked them in a skillet but they don’t cook as evenly since the individual veggies and tofu pieces don’t all touch the surface of the pan at the same time.

These easy Tofu Kabobs are a great way to introduce your family to tofu!

When I came up with this recipe, I really wanted to mimic the kabobs we used to make on our grill. Those had meat but the tofu was a great replacement. I also wanted to add my favorite veggies! Grilled bell peppers and onions are my favorite veggies to grill! Turns out, they are also great in the Air Fryer.

These easy Tofu Kabobs are a great way to introduce your family to tofu!

If you are new to making tofu there are a few things to know.

First, tofu will take on the flavors of the other things you are cooking, so season your food well.

Second, tofu is packed in water and absorbs it like a sponge. You’ll want to squeeze it out. I used to put it between two plates and put heavy books on top. I recently bought an EZ Tofu Press and it’s much easier to use.

These easy Tofu Kabobs are a great way to introduce your family to tofu!

Pineapple and Tofu Kabobs

Get your wooden skewers ready for these easy and delicious kabobs.

Ingredients for Tofu Kabobs

  • 1 block firm tofu
  • 1 pineapple, cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped into large chunks
  • 1-2 bell peppers, chopped into large chunks

Ingredients for Marinade

  • 1/2 cup tamari (or soy sauce or Braggs Liquid Aminos)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Optional sriracha

Do

  1. Press tofu to remove excess water. This will take about 10 minutes. While the tofu is pressing, soak wooden skewers in water. I broke mine in half so they would fit in my Air Fryer.
  2. Mix up the marinade in a shallow bowl or baking dish.
  3. Cube the tofu, then place the tofu in the marinade to soak for about 10 minutes.
  4. Chop veggies and pineapple and set aside.
  5. Build the kabobs by alternating veggies, tofu, and pineapple on the skewers.
  6. If cooking in Air Fryer, at 320° for 15 minutes, shaking after 10 minutes. If cooking in a skillet, stir or turn tofu, pineapple, and veggies until lightly browned on all sides.

These easy Tofu Kabobs are a great way to introduce your family to tofu!

Use these spices and ingredients as a starting point, add your favorites like mushrooms, grape tomatoes, zucchini, and more!

You should know that the veggies cook way faster than the tofu. If you use small chunks of veggies and big chunks of tofu the veggies will dry out if you cook them longer than 15 minutes.

One last tip! Use the leftover marinade to cook your quinoa, rice or noodles! If you are sauteing the veggies in a pan instead of making kabobs, use the leftover marinade in the skillet. The photo below is pineapple, tofu, and veggies that were sauteed in a skillet. No oil was used, just the marinade or a little water to keep it from sticking.These easy Tofu Kabobs are a great way to introduce your family to tofu!

What are your favorite (plant-based) kabob ingredients?

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