Last year was the “Year of the Pulse.” Fancy word for beans. Despite the low-carb craze, beans are still an incredibly potent health food. They were good before the carb thing, during it and yes, are still good. As one writer said, they “scour” your veins. And that’s not to mention they are loaded with B-vitamins and iron (in case you don’t get enough from your cast iron cookware). Now those are important vitamins and minerals in a vegan household.
My Instant Pot lets me throw in dried beans and usually have them perfectly cooked within half an hour (with the exception of chickpeas, which usually cook longer, and lentils, which usually cook shorter). So I said to my husband, Andy, “We should eat more beans.” To which he responded, “I don’t like them.” To which I responded, “Trust me.”
The only problem is, I haven’t been in the mood for cooking as much lately, winter doldrums maybe, after long weeks of zigzagging temperatures from -60 degrees (with the windchill) to +30 degrees overnight, ice, snow, salt, slush and high winds. Oh, and did I mention the coyote having a party in my backyard? So I needed something quick and easy.
I looked through my kitchen library of beans and chose lentils because they cook quickly, small red beans (really, Goya calls them that) because they’re pretty, and then I thought barley might be a nice, chewy and substantial addition. I had almost a pound of Crimini mushrooms I needed to use up before my new CSA box arrived from Andy’s office, and as always I had carrots and celery in the ‘fridge and onions. And that’s all I needed plus five minutes prep-time and thirty minutes Instant Pot time.
Oh, and one more thing: I always keep Vegeta in the cabinet. I usually make my soup broths from the veggies I saute when I start to make a soup, but every once in a while, I throw in the Vegeta, and it’s very good! I can county on Andy liking something when I use the Vegeta, and since I was making a point with the beans, I figured that would help me make my case.
One thing I should have used but didn’t this time was turmeric, which I should be putting into our food every day for best benefits and beautiful dishes.
Quick Instant Pot Soup From Kitchen Basics
- Extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup
- Garlic, 1 large clove
- Onion, 1/2 large
- Carrots, 3 med.-large
- Celery, 3 stalks, med.-large
- Mushrooms, Crimini, 3/4-1 lb.
- Lentils, 1/2 cup
- Barley, 1/2 cup
- Small Red Beans, 1/4 cup
- Water, 3 quarts
- Vegeta, 1 tsp/cup water (4 TB)
- Prepare the veggies: peel and mince the garlic, petite-dice/chop the onion, slice carrots and celery on the bias, dry-wipe the mushrooms to clean them and slice.
- Add the extra virgin olive oil to the Instant Pot and turn on to Saute for 10-20 minutes.
- Add the veggies in this order and saute briefly after each addition: minced garlic, chopped onion, sliced carrots and celery, and finally, sliced mushrooms.
- Add 3 quarts of water to the Instant Pot along with 4 TB Vegeta, and continue cooking on Saute.
- Rinse the lentils and beans and add to the pot along with the barley (I wanted a brothy soup, but if you like a thicker soup, just add more beans and barley).
- Cancel Saute. Set Pressure to High for 30 minutes, and close the lid and vent.
- At the end of the cooking time, you can do either a Natural Release or a Quick Release, and check the beans. These small beans and the barley should be cooked at this point, but if they’re not, put them back under Pressure for a few minutes longer.
- If you’d like to add some fresh greens, chop and add them when the soup is ready to serve.
Guess what? This soup took me no time, was delicious, and had beans in it. And best of all . . . Andy liked it!