Instant Pot has been featuring recipes from my new book, No Pressure, and here they all are in one place! If you like these recipes, consider getting a copy of my new book, which has 100 creative recipes for your Instant Pot.
Stock (AKA broth) is a magical thing. It’s really just flavored water made from parts that you’d probably be throwing out anyway, but it adds untold levels of savory flavor that cannot be denied. You can’t make a good soup without it, and it takes grains and sauces to the next level. Sure, you can buy the boxed or canned stuff at the store. You know it’s not as good, though, and making stock is real easy. Especially if you own a pressure cooker.
Stock is something I use my electric pressure cooker for over and over again. It requires no real prep or measuring, you don’t need to babysit it or even check on it, and it’s done in an hour. Magic. Below is my basic recipe for making vegetable stock. If you’re making chicken stock, just decrease the veggies a bit and add some bones/leftover meat. You can find the full recipe and many more in my Instant Pot cookbook.
Hot tips: After making a meal, I take my veggie scraps—the ends of carrots and zucchini, the tough stalks of kale and collards, the various tail ends of onions and greens from scallions—and throw them in a large zip-top bag I keep in my freezer labeled “soup stock.” When I have enough in there I simply add some fresh herbs and a bay leaf and make stock before starting the process over. A+ highly recommend.
Electric Pressure Cooker Veggie Stock
onions (white, yellow, red, green, shallots, or any combo thereof)
assorted veggies (mushrooms, bell pepper, zucchini, sweet potato, eggplant, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, corn, turnips, green beans, etc!)
crushed garlic (optional)
assorted fresh herbs (parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, sage)
1-2 bay leaves
Add all of your ingredients to the inner pot of your electric pressure cooker. Add enough water so that it is level with the topmost veggies. This will be anywhere from 5 to 12 cups of water, depending on how many veggies you added to your pot. I usually end up using about 8 cups. Do not overfill your cooker. Seal the top and cook at high pressure for one hour. Let the pressure come down naturally, and strain your stock into a bowl. Store in airtight containers. Stock will keep for 5 days in the fridge, or at least 2 months in the freezer.
My latest Cooking The Simpsons is up on Paste Magazine, and first of all go here and check it out.
Done? Okay cool. Paul and Linda McCartney’s backwards lentil soup recipe is just fine the way it is, but a great thing about lentil soup is the many ways you can personalize it. Really mix things up, bean soup style!
I’ve provided you a list of the many ways I like to modify Paul and Linda’s recipe, some vegetarian and some definitely not (sorry Lisa). With all of these options, I can make a big pot and eat lentil soup for lunch practically all week every other week and not get bored.
- Chopped up roasted or grilled eggplant
- Crumbled or sliced sausage, any kind
- Wilted spinach
- Cubed, cooked potatoes or sweet potatoes
- Canned tomatoes
- Shredded roasted chicken
- Roasted and cubed butternut squash
- Spices like cumin, smoked paprika, or curry powder
- Freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
- A dollop of ricotta cheese
- A dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream
- Fresh chives
- Fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro
- Crisp-cooked bacon or pancetta
- Micro greens
- Fresh jalapeno or chili
- A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Mix and match! Go nuts! Live that lentil life.
I had a surplus of fresh corn recently (a good problem to have), and didn’t want any of the short-lived vegetable to go to waste. I had a few other veggies, my usual pantry staples, and a can of coconut milk. In less than 30 minutes, I had a really delicious, Thai-influenced corn chowder without a drop of cream.
Vegan Corn Chowder
3 ears fresh corn
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
smoked paprika, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste
about 1/2 can coconut milk
about 1 cup (plus extra) vegetable stock
1 teaspoon soy sauce
fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
- Shuck the corn and cut off the cob. Use the back of your knife to scrape the juicy bits of corn from the cob.
- In a medium heavy-bottomed pot, heat a dollop of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and saute until the onion begins to turn translucent. Add garlic, sesame oil, paprika, and pepper flakes and cook a few minutes more.
- Add corn to the pot and add half coconut milk and half vegetable stock, just until liquid almost covers the veggies. Bring mixture to a low boil and lower to a simmer for 5 minutes. Don’t overcook, or corn will get tough.
- Turn off heat and add soy sauce, a generous squeeze of lime juice (to taste), and a sprinkling of fresh parsley, reserving some for the top. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until about 1/2 of it is smooth, leaving some corn and vegetables whole. Alternatively, pour about 1/2 of the mixture into a blender. Be careful to let it cool a bit before blending, and crack the top to let heat escape.
- Sprinkle with parsley and enjoy!
I love a good potato soup, and lately I’ve been making different variations of this classic to mix things up and make it healthier. Here are some of my tips for making variations on potato soup—get creative!
- I boil my potatoes and other veggies in chicken or vegetable stock for good flavor. Pour in just enough stock to barely cover the vegetables, boil until done, and puree the whole thing. Add more liquid if needed.
- Replace up to 1/3 of the potatoes with cut up cauliflower. You won’t notice flavor or color-wise, and it makes the soup creamier and more nutritious.
- Add broccoli for a potato-broccoli soup, or add spinach at the end of cooking for a green pop.
- An immersion blender works best in my experience, but a blender also works for pureeing. Just work in batches and crack the lid if your soup is hot.
- Roasted or sauteed garlic, sauteed leeks, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes all add great flavor.
- I never use heavy cream for a normal weeknight meal (it’s dangerous for me to have around), so I rely on perfectly pureed potatoes, cauliflower, and sometimes a touch of milk, sour cream or yogurt for a creamy soup.
- For a cheesy soup without all the fat, add finely grated parmesan to the soup and a sprinkle of cheese on top. Parmesan has a strong enough flavor that a little goes a long way.
- Don’t forget toppings! They add texture and extra flavor. My favorite toppings include: spring onions (grilled or raw), sharp cheddar cheese, goat cheese, parmesan, crispy bacon, herbs, a swirl of olive oil, crispy garlic
Pictured is a broccoli-potato soup that I made with Yukon gold potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower. I started with sauteed onion and garlic, added the veggies (potatoes first and little trees a bit later), chicken stock and a bay leaf, and simmered until all were tender. Lastly I added salt, pepper, parmesan and lemon juice and pureed. Topped with grilled spring onions and cheddar cheese.