Instant Pot Vegetarian Lentil Stew

This recipe is a work in progress, as my husband was the one who prepared the lentils and veggies and he didn’t do any measuring. I will try measuring more precisely next time in order to have one recipe I can use as the standard.

  • 3 cups dried lentils
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalk of celery, diced
  • several cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp salt

Put the beans in the Instant pot. Pour boiling water over the beans with about two inches of water above the beans. Let soak for 2-24 hours.

Drain and thoroughly rinse the beans until the water runs clear. Add water (or bone broth, for the non-vegetarian version) up to at least an inch above the beans. Add vegetables and and spices. Hit the “Beans/Chili” button and dial the time down to 20 minutes.

Instant Pot Vegetarian White Bean Chili

This is the best white bean chili I’ve ever made. The Instant Pot really concentrates the vegetable flavors.

I also found that soaking the beans for two hours in boiling water and a piece of kombu in the Instant Pot is more than enough to reduce gas, which is the problem I’ve always had with white beans. Even when the Instant Pot is off, it’s great at keeping its contents warm, which is a perfect way to soak beans.

  • 2 cups dried white beans
  • 1 piece of kombu
  • pinch of baking soda
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 bay leaf

Put the beans in the Instant pot. Pour boiling water over the beans with about two inches of water above the beans. Add the kombu and a pinch of baking soda and cover. Let soak for 2-24 hours. In the meantime, dice the onions, carrots and celery. Wash and chop the kale.

Drain and thoroughly rinse the beans until the water runs clear. Add water up to at least an inch above the beans, more if you want the chili to be more like a white bean soup. Add the kombu, vegetables, and spices. The kale will reach the top of the pot, but it cooks down, so this isn’t an issue. Hit the “Beans/Chili” button (high pressure, 30 minutes)  and walk away until the chili is done.

Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili

This is very liberally adapted from The Real Food Daily Cookbook by Ann Gentry. The main problem is fitting all the ingredients in the pot! I actually chopped more than could fit. The version below is my best guess as to what actually did fit.

This version was spicy enough to taste like chili, but not spicy enough to scare Nora off. She loved it, probably because everything cooked up nice and soft.

  • 3 cups dried kidney beans
  • 1 piece of kombu
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 red or green bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeno chile
  • 4-10 cloves garlic
  • 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp dried sage
  • 2 tbsp sea salt

If you care about Weston A. Price recommendations, bring some water to a boil. And the beans, kombu, and water to the Instant Pot, and soak for 18-24 hours. I discovered that the Instant Pot keeps the boiling water hot for a good long time, which is ideal for phytase activity. To be honest, I’m not fully convinced that soaking grains and legumes really matters nutritionally, but I find the beans very digestible with this method so I’ll continue to do it when I have time.

Dice the onions, carrot, celery, and bell pepper. Seed and mince the jalapeno. Mince the garlic.

Rinse the beans thoroughly until the water runs clear. Add the remaining ingredients, including the kombu (no need to stir). Add water just past the level of the beans. Hit the “Beans/Chili” button (high pressure, 30 minutes) and walk away.

When the chili is done cooking, use a wooden spoon to break up the kombu and then serve.

Instant Pot Chicken Soup

I’m still tinkering with my Instant Pot settings, but I think there’s a wide margin of error when making chicken soup. Add chicken, water, and salt; hit the Poultry or Soup button, and as long as the chicken’s not undercooked when you take it out, it’s fine. But here’s what I’m figuring out so far:

Amount of Chicken: Half a chicken seems to be about the correct amount for my preferred broth-to-meat ratio. I cut the chicken in half, freeze the other half, and put it in with as much water as I am allowed per Instant Pot instructions (2/3 of the pot).

Timing: Letting the meat cook longer makes it easier to get it off the bone. 20 minutes seems to be an acceptable compromise between convenience and a longer cook time.

Bone Broth: The broth is much improved if I freeze the bones from one batch, and then use them again in the next. By the second cooking, the bones are soft and snap easily. It’s very easy to separate them out from the fresh bones because the former are so soft, and the latter are still attached to the chicken flesh. So I throw away the brittle bones, keep the hard ones, and the cycle continues.

Flavorings: My favorite batch is the one where I added sliced ginger to the chicken as it was cooking (about 8 slices the width of a coin, but I could have done more). My second best batch was the one where I added previously-frozen cauliflower stems. I’ve read that the Instant Pot concentrates the flavors of vegetables, so it isn’t necessary to use as much. I think this is true. Next time, I’ll try a single carrot and stalk of celery. I usually hate using vegetables to make broth and then throwing them away, but I can live with having a few turn to mush. If I had peppercorns, I’d use them in this step, but I’m out of peppercorns so I skipped it.

Vegetables: I’ve been in the habit of removing the chicken chicken carcass after it’s done, adding chopped vegetables (carrots, celery, shredded cabbage, cubed potatoes) to the broth, and letting them cook in “Soup” mode for another 10 minutes. While the vegetables are cooking, I separate the chicken meat from the bones over a colander so as not to lose any of the broth. Then I freeze the bones (or throw them away if they’ve already been cooked twice), and add the chicken back to the soup. The result is tender but not overcooked vegetables, though they don’t contribute nearly as much flavor to the broth as those added at the beginning. This is labor-intensive, however, and can be skipped if there are time constraints.

In short – Instant Pot chicken soup is very easy, but I am still experimenting with different variations!