I resisted, I really did. For almost a year. And then they got me. The insta pot people.
They just kept wandering across my feeds nonstop, mumbling stuff about paleo meals in minutes and perfectly peelable steamed (NOT boiled) eggs, fluffy potatoes and nearly instant rice.
One moment of weakness and some Amazon credits courtesy of CoinStar and my change jar and BAM. Insta pot on my doorstep.
First things first, I was scared sh*tless. Pressure cookers are SCARY. My mom had a pressure cooker and every time she fired that thing up I felt like I had to relocate to another zip code, lest that thing blow. And then there is that stubborn streak in me that said “I don’t need no newfangled cooking stuff, why alls I need is this here woodstove and grannies kettle!”
Yeah. That’s me. Out chopping wood and skinning a deer for salting and preserving. Not. I love to cook. I really do enjoy coming up with soups and stews and roasts… Usually I do this without a recipe even. But I am always, always short on time. As much as I love my crock pot, I often don’t get the food in soon enough, or get it in too soon, and by the time we are ready to eat it, dinner is slop.
I call this Zombie Apocalypse Minestrone because it’s so fast and low effort you could easily make it whilst under siege and also because it is what has turned my whole soup averse family around. We have joined the masses of Insta Pot zombies mumbling about our favorite recipes.
This recipe is easy enough to be your first meal made in an instapot but if you want even simpler and more confidence boosting (no judgement I made this recipe first too) these potatoes are a perfect virgin Insta Pot experience.
I purchased most of the ingredients at Trader Joes including the precut Mirepoix. You can chop your own if you have the patience. In fact this also could have been called Trader joes Minestrone, but that’s not as fun as Zombie Apocalypse.
- 1 Container of Mirepoix (one small onion, 4 stalks celery, 3 large carrots)
- A small amount of butter or olive oil (like a pat)
- 1 teaspoon diced garlic
- Large Can of Diced Tomatoes in puree
- Can of Tomato Sauce
- Can of Organic Garbanzo Beans
- 1/3 package (1.5 c) frozen tri colored pepper strips
- 1/3 package (1.5 c) frozen or tightly packed fresh spinach leaves
- Box of Organic Veggie Broth
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp smoked salt or your favorite salt
- 8 oz Pasta (I like gluten free corn based pasta in this soup)
Optional: A chopped or grated up hunk of hard cheese that you need to use up. I have used the end of a piece of gouda, some parm, and some smoked cheese the times I have made this. It adds flavor but it is really optional. I like to top with parm as well when I serve the soup.
Here’s how this soup making process goes down:
Hit the button that says “Saute.” Toss in the butter, and when it melts add the Mirepoix. You just want to soften up the celery and release the flavor from the onions. Toss in that garlic too.
Hit the “Cancel” button.
Toss all the other ingredients into the pot. I don’t technically measure the frozen veggies. Add a little more or a little less, it’s fine. Add a little water to bring the level up to max if you want more soup. Put the lid on and set the vent thingy to the position for high pressure cooking – ie, the lever gets pushed back away from you. Hit the button for high pressure cooking and adjust the time down to 8 minutes.
It’s going to take at least ten minutes for this to “get to pressure” with this much liquid. It will then be another 8 minutes so don’t get too excited about eating yet.
As soon as the cooking time is up (the pot will beep) you should do a high pressure release. Do it right away or your pasta will keep cooking and you’ll feel dumb. Basically you tap the lever towards you, to let out the steam,being careful to make sure you don’t burn yourself. The steam shoots straight up in the air. I suggest using a spatula or your overconfident spouse, because this is the one thing that’s a little scary the first few times. But not crazy scary. I mean, you dump out boiling pasta water, you can open a valve to let out steam, right?
A friend on Facebook asked me the difference between a crock pot and an insta pot and I replied sorcery. I meant it. The sorcery is that things get cooked perfectly in a fraction of the amount of time and without getting all shapeless and colorless and tasteless like they tend do when slow cooked. Everything made in an insta pot tastes brighter and more distinct. Flavors blend, rather than merge. It’s less of a food identity crisis when the carrots in your soup still taste like carrots.
Serve with crusty bread and some parmesan. Commence mumbling. Insta Pot. Insta Pot…. Brains…. What?