Instant pot meals are easy and can be very healthy. They fit into our busy lives. Everyone is looking for an ace in the hole when it comes to weeknight dinner. This hearty, highly hackable Instant Pot soup is that ace, especially on a chilly winter night.

Instant Pot Meals

Several times a week, I cook something that will last for a few days — a pot of beans, a big batch of rice or farro, and most recently, some version of this hearty, white bean and butternut squash soup. You can always doctor it up if it needs a little extra something — meatballs, homemade croutons or big handfuls of greens that wilt in the soup.

Here’s a quick, healthy instant pot meal to make for a cold winter night.

Instant Pot White Bean & Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients (serves 6)

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 3 large carrots, chopped
• 3 stalks celery, chopped
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 sprig fresh rosemary
• 4 sprigs fresh thyme
• 16 ounces (450g) dried white beans or gigante beans, soaked overnight
• 9 cups (2,250ml) low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock (save 1 cup (250ml) for thinning the soup)
• 2 cups (300g) butternut squash, diced
• 4 garlic cloves, sliced
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 4 cups lacinato kale, de-stemmed and chopped
• 1/2 cup (75g) shredded Parmesan cheese


1. Turn your Instant Pot on to “sauté,” then add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pot and sauté onion, celery and carrot until softened. Try not to brown. Add soaked white beans, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, chicken stock and pepper.

2. Turn the Instant Pot to the “pressure” function, or to the “soup/stew” function and set the timer to 15 minutes. Instant Pot will pressurize, then cook for 15 minutes. The beans should be almost soft but still have a small bite to them.

3. Quick release the pressure, open lid, add in butternut squash, garlic and salt and pepper, to taste. Place lid back on and pressure cook for 10 more minutes, allowing pressure to naturally release.

4. Stir in kale just before serving and use remaining chicken stock to thin soup if it’s too thick. Test to make sure the beans are completely soft. Pull out stems of rosemary and thyme. Add salt, to taste. Serve topped with shredded Parmesan.

Optional add-ins:

• pulled chicken,
• store-bought meatballs,
• cooked quinoa or rice,
• homemade croutons,
• torn spinach.

A note on soaking your beans:

Yes, it’s true soaking beans overnight for instant pot meals before you cook them speeds up the cooking time, so hypothetically pressure cooking them in your Instant Pot takes care of all that. But, there’s another reason to soak them: phytic acid. Phytic acid is the natural toxin meant to deter predators from ingesting these little seeds before they have the chance to sprout new plants (as all legumes, beans and grains were born to do).

If you’ve ever had more gas than you want to admit after eating beans, you’re likely the victim of unsoaked beans. Soaking these ingredients dilutes and washes away this toxin, makes your beans more digestible and improves cooking time all at once. So, soak your beans on Sunday night, cook them on Monday night and eat off this fabulous, homey, healthy, life-hack soup all week.

Nutrition (per serving 1-1/2 cup):

Calories: 263;
Total Fat: 6g;
Carbohydrate: 21g;
Dietary Fiber: 4g;
Protein: 20g

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