Instant Pot Black Bean and Barley Stew

I’m discovering that I like keeping track of my Instant Pot recipes so I know how much beans and salt to put in, and how long to cook for. But the rest is open to improvisation, and it always somehow comes out good. Instant Pot cooking seems to be very, very forgiving.

  • 1.5 cups dried black beans
  • 1.5 cups pearled barley
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (optional, for soaking)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, sliced into rounds
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 dried chili pepper, minced
  • 1.5 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Soak beans and barley in boiling water with apple cider vinegar in the Instant Pot for 2-24 hours. Drain and rinse thoroughly until water runs reasonably clear. (I’m pretty sure soaking is optional, but I’m still in the habit of doing it if I have time.)

Fill the pot with water or broth to 2 inches above the beans and barley. Add the remaining ingredients. Cook on the “Beans/Chili” setting for 25 minutes.

Just before serving, pour the olive oil on top and stir it in. (Optional, but tasty.)


Instant Pot Black Bean Stew

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from recipe posting because Nora was sick a few weeks ago and not eating much of anything.

At the same time, she made some big developmental leaps. Language is now a big part of the feeding equation. She points at things she’s interested in, wants to eat what I’m eating (including coffee and ice cream), and cries when she doesn’t get her way. She can make a few signs such as “yogurt,” “more,” and “all done,” though not consistently. When a desirable item is within her field of view (egg or yogurt), she will often refuse everything else. So mealtimes require a lot more strategizing than they used to.

That said, she did enjoy this black bean stew, with peanut butter starring as the secret ingredient to make it smooth and creamy. All quantities are extremely approximate. This is a garbage soup; just throw in however much you want to use up and adjust the seasoning of the puree at the end. The peanut butter is somewhat disguised by the other strong flavors and colors, but you can always add more or less depending on whether you want it to be a star.

I used cooked black beans in this recipe because that’s what I had on hand, but if I were starting from scratch, I’d probably use the “Beans/Chili” function for 20 minutes.


  • 1 large onion
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 cups cooked black beans
  • 32 oz can of tomatoes
  • 1 bunch carrot tops
  • 2 cups bone broth (omit for vegetarian version)
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • salt, pepper, savory

Saute the onion at the bottom of the Instant Pot until they begin to brown. Add the carrots, celery, and garlic and saute until they just begin to soften.

Add the other ingredients. Add enough broth or water to approximate the desired consistency (about 1 cup the time I did it). Add salt, pepper, and spices. Cook using the “Soup” function for 12 minutes.

When the soup is done (either natural or quick release), use an immersion blender to puree. Add peanut butter and puree some more. Adjust seasoning, adding more peanut butter if desired.