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Lip-Smacking Lemony Instant Pot Oil-Free Minestrone

Since I'm not a trained chef, I'm definitely not a cooking expert and so I'm also not an expert in how to work every cooking appliance that's out there. But I do love my Instant Pot for making many things but have largely been ignoring the function buttons in lieu of the "manual" button and setting a pressure time according to a specific Instant Pot Recipe. But no more! One of the ladies, a member in my most recent Plant-Empowered Woman Weight Loss Program introduced me to the "soup" function button this way:

"You just dump everything into the Instant Pot, push the

"soup" button and walk away!"

Vegan Cooking Level: Beginner

So, I took my favorite Minestrone Soup (a classic, naturally vegan Italian soup) recipe that previously took 3 hours to make (which I got from a cookbook called, "Bringing Tuscany Home" at least 10 years ago). The reason it took 3 hours is because you had to oven-roast plum tomatoes with garlic and herbs, then you had to saute all the chopped veggies, then the soup had to barely bubble for 45 minutes during which time you had to peel chop and steam potatoes to add. It is a beautiful recipe that warms the senses the heart and the soul...if only it could be condensed into a realistic, less labor-intense time-frame.

Enter the Instant pot and the "Soup" button.

Here's how I tweaked that recipe. First of all, I chopped and sliced all the veggies except the herbs, kale and potatoes with my Zyliss 2-in-1 Slicer so that was done in about 3 minutes. Next, I replaced the oven-roasted tomatoes with 1 can of fire-roasted canned tomatoes, completely eliminated the saute process and the potato-steaming, added twice the beans and the lemony finish to make the taste POP while getting rid of the oil, wine and cheese completely. Also, we plopped it all in a 6-quart Instant Pot, which does all the cooking work.

Shown here, with Orzo added, but you can add any grains you like.

Here's how to make this mouthwatering minestrone in just minutes!


1 large onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

6 cloves garlic, shredded

3 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

3 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped

3 potatoes, peeled and cubed

2-3 cups chopped kale*

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with their juices

1 14-oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, strained

3 tbsp. tomato paste

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp. dried oregano (or Italian Herb Mix)

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. salt (or more, to taste)

1/4 tsp. black pepper (or more to taste)

1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)

7 cups veggie broth

2 cans (drained and rinsed) of your favorite beans or combination (navy, cannellini, chickpeas, kidney)

1 whole lemon, juiced

*Spinach can be subbed for kale. If using spinach, add to your bowl on serving and you will find the heat of the soup wilts it just perfectly!

How to:

Step 1: Slice up all the veggies. I used my Zyliss 2-in-one Slicer to do this really quickly.

Step 2: Place EVERYTHING into the 6-quart Instant Pot, except the lemon. Position and lock the lid in place, make sure the vent is set to seal position and press the "soup" button which should pop up with 30 min (you can adjust this by pressing the + or - buttons). And that is all!

For 3-quart Instant Pots, cut this recipe in half.

Stove top instructions: Follow the same procedure in a large stock pot on the stove, with the lid askew and bubbling on low for about 45 minutes, stirring and watching. Then skip to step 4.

Step 3: Use the "Natural Release" method for about 20 minutes to let the heat and pressure in the pot come down. During this time, you can boil up any pasta (shown with orzo) or other grains you'd like to add to your soup on serving such as quinoa, rice or farro. When you can flip the valve to the "venting" position without a lot of strong hissing or sputtering steam, then you can open the pot.

Step 4: Stir. If you like your soup thicker like I do, use your immersion blender straight in the pot and gently pulse around the pot until the soup consistency is more combined and thicker, but still with lots of bite size chunks of veggies! Squeeze in the juice of the lemon to finish.

Buon Appetito!

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