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In case you haven’t heard, the Instant Pot is the best kitchen invention since sliced bread. This multi-purpose appliance has a wide array of features including pressure cooking, slow cooking, a rice cooker, a yogurt maker, and an egg cooker, as well as a sauté function, steamer, and warmer. If you love making food but need to save on space, or if you adore home cooking but are short on time, the Instant Pot is about to become your best friend!
Pressure Cooking 101
Pressure cooking is ideal for ingredients that normally take hours or even a full day to cook. In fact, the Instant Pot pressure cooker setting can shorten cooking times by up to 70 percent. Dried beans, lentils, hearty grains such as barley and wheat berries, beets, and hearty root vegetables no longer take up valuable stovetop real estate and their cooking times are reduced by hours. The Instant Pot’s pressure cooking seal also prevents smells from permeating your home, making it the perfect appliance to have on in the background while you relax before dinner.
A Few Words of Pressure Cooker Warning
The internal temperature of an Instant Pot’s pressure cooker setting isn’t hot enough to properly sterilize jars for home canning, which is a potential drawback for home canning aficionados. Delicate foods such as flaky white fish, pastries, and baby greens will also fare for the worst when cooked in a pressure cooker.
Instant Pot Tips to Have You Cooking Like a Pro
- Add an additional 10 to 20 minutes of time to your total recipe when using an Instant Pot as it needs to preheat and cool down before opening.
- Grains and beans can be cooked in an Instant Pot without any additional soaking time.
- It’s important to have at least a half a cup of water, stock, or broth in your Instant Pot at all times.
- Likewise, don’t overfill an Instant Pot! If you’re cooking with ingredients that expand, such as grains or beans, make sure it’s only filled halfway.
- If you already have an arsenal of pressure cooker recipes, they can still be cooked in an Instant Pot, just use this handy conversion chart.
Instant Pot Black Bean Soup (With Topping Suggestions)
This recipe for black bean soup requires very little prep and comes together quickly. Leftover soup makes a filling and healthy weekday lunch and individual servings can be frozen for up to three months. This soup will thicken up considerably after it cools, making it perfect for reheating the next day. Use the topping suggested below or make up your own. The only limit is your taste and imagination!
Active Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 60 Minutes
Servings: 6 to 8
- Instant Pot
- Sharp knife for chopping vegetables
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium-sized red or white onion, finely diced
- 1 green pepper, cut into thin strips and diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 1 small zucchini, finely diced
- 2 large stalks of celery, cut into very thin half-moons
- 1 Tbsp. cumin
- 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
- 1 to 2 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. kosher or sea salt
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 lb black beans, dried
- One 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes in their juices
- 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- Freshly cracked pepper and kosher salt to taste
- Avocado, diced
- Regular or turkey bacon, crumbled
- Cheddar or Monterey Jack, shredded
- Cotija or mild feta cheese, crumbled
- Chicken or pork, shredded
- Pico de gallo
- Roasted vegetables
- Charred corn
- Pickled red onions or radishes
- Greek yogurt or sour cream
- Cook the onion, green pepper, carrots, zucchini, and celery in the olive oil until softened using the Instant Pot’s sauté function (note: if using the Instant Pot IP-LUX60 select the “Normal” heat level for sautéing).
- Add the cumin, smoked paprika, and chili powder to the vegetables and stir until they’re evenly coated with the spice mixture.
- Stir in the dried black beans, canned tomatoes, vegetable stock, and bay leaves.
- Set the Instant Pot to manual high pressure and cook the soup for 40 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release which, depending on your Instant Pot, can take 15 to 20 minutes.
- Once the Instant Pot has depressurized, carefully remove the bay leaves with kitchen tongs or a slotted spoon.
- Top and serve immediately or allow to come to room temperature before storing in the fridge or freezer.