Meatless Monday: Instant Pot Pasta e Fagioli Soup (vegan!)

It cooled off just enough last week to eat soup again. Notice I didn’t say “to cook soup,” because IP cooking means I don’t have to stand and stir a hot pot. It’s one of my favorite things about the IP: I can quickly make yummy veggies and soups that would require more time on the stove top and heat up the house. For this very reason, my husband makes globe artichokes in the IP almost every week; it’s fast and fail-proof!

When we first bought the IP, I left it in the box in the garage for a solid nine months. I’d read enough to expect it to sound like R2D2, and anything with too many buttons makes me nervous. When I finally decided an appliance would not best me, I made my husband watch a YouTube video with me and then together we did the water test to make sure it sealed correctly.

That was so long ago I don’t remember what we actually cooked. It may have been a red lentil curry. Whatever it was, it was easy enough to try again. And again and again…

For this soup, like a lot of my recipes, I started with online inspiration, combing recipes for similarities and differences. I consulted my IP go-to guide, Vegan Under Pressure*, for cooking times (the authority for cooking beans, both dried and canned). And then I experimented. As the weather continues to cool and I will continue to make soups both in the IP and on the stove top, this recipe will be in my regular rotation.

If you don’t have an IP, of course you can make this on the stove top. Everything should be about the same with two exceptions: you’ll need to adjust cooking times; and you can cook the pasta right in the pot.

This soup can also be really flexible. Don’t have cannellini beans? Add another can of kidney beans or more/different diced veggies. Kids not fans of zucchini? Add chopped greens at the end of cooking. (Personally, I peel the zucchini and the kids don’t know it’s there). You can use veggie crumbles instead of sausage, or leave the “meat” products out altogether. I’m all for playing with recipes!

Instant Pot Pasta e Fagioli Soup
Serves 6-8

1 large yellow or white onion, diced
3 Field Roast sausage links, diced (I used 2 Italian & 1 chipotle)
5-6 garlic cloves, minced
6 c low sodium veggie broth (Better Than Bouillon)
3 tsp Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute (or 1 tsp each dried basil, thyme, and oregano)
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional if using chipotle sausage)
1 15 oz undrained can diced tomatoes (if you use fresh tomatoes, add 1/3-1/2 c additional water/broth)
1 15 oz can tomato sauce (or prepared marinara sauce)
Diced veggies – celery (3 ribs), carrots (3-4 peeled), and zucchini (2 small)
1 14.5 oz can each garbanzo, kidney and cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
1.5 cup ditalini pasta or elbow macaroni cooked separately, 8-10 minutes

On “saute” setting, stir onions and sausage for 5 minutes; add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes longer. Add broth, seasonings, tomatoes and sauce, veggies and beans, and stir to combine.

Lock the lid in place. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Allow the pot to sit for 3-4 minutes and then turn the release valve for a “quick release.”

If pressed for time, dump everything in and cook on high pressure for 12 minutes. Allow the pot to sit for 3-4 minutes and then turn the release valve for a “quick release.”

Stir in pasta and adjust seasonings. Mangia!

 

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. But seriously, if you have an IP and you like to cook veggies, this book is so worth the purchase.

Meatless Monday – “Beyond Meat” White Bean Chicken Chili

It began with a video I saw on Facebook.

Some weeks later Guy mentioned he’d also seen it. Interesting concept: this guy who wants to eat meat, while also reducing his environmental footprint, produces a plant-based fake meat that is more convincing than these types of products have been before.

And then Tween mentioned yet again how he’d like to for once taste chicken, since he’s never had it and all his friends have. Teen felt the same during middle school years, the increased desire for independence bumping up against family values. We get it.

So on a recent trip to Whole Foods we purchased a package of Beyond Meat Grilled Chicken Strips.beyond chicken

Which sent me looking for a recipe I’ve tried before but never with chicken: a chicken and white bean chili, originally from Epicurious (and modified, as always, by me).

Teen lumbered into the kitchen just as I pulled “the chicken” from the fridge, asking the inevitable question: “What’s for dinner?”

I held up the package.

His face belied confusion and skepticism, and in that look I saw that our family values have, indeed, taken hold.

He wasn’t sure he wanted “real meat.”

I feel the same. It’s funny, really, as I didn’t intend all those years ago to become a vegetarian. I simply went without meat so long that I lost the digestive enzymes. When I tried to eat it, meat made me sick. And so, just as unintentionally, I lived into the ethics of meat-free and plant-based eating.

Now I have a confused relationship with fake meat. I don’t miss real meat, and I don’t think I need fake meat, but once in a while the texture or flavor allows for variety and pleasure in my plant-based diet. On the whole I truly prefer veggie versions of meat favorites – salads without meat or dairy toppings, marinated veggie sandwiches instead of burgers, veggie stews instead of meat stews, veggie chili instead of…you get the idea.

But I’m not entirely opposed, especially where my kids are concerned… if they want veggie breakfast sausage, or chik patties, so be it.

Which brings us to the White Bean Chicken Chili. Despite Teen’s face, he ate it. We all did, and it was good. Guy and I shared more than a look – the Beyond Meat chicken tasted how we remember chicken. Shockingly so. And it’s vegan, GMO- and soy-free.

The chili itself was delish, and it would have been so even if we’d left out chicken, or used Field Roast Italian sausage, or tofu (pressed, seasoned, and baked). Our family would eat this recipe with or without “meat.” And yet, I won’t be surprised if I find myself popping a Beyond Meat package in my cart another time.

White Bean Chicken Chili
Serves 4-6

1 large onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
1 12-oz pkg Beyond Meat grilled chicken, diced (I used kitchen shears to cut strips into bites)
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained and rinsed
1 c veggie broth
2 celery stalks, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 7-oz can diced green chilies (or sub 7-oz of prepared green salsa)

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, saute onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, and dried red pepper. Sauté 5 minutes, adding water by the tablespoon as necessary to avoid sticking. Add Beyond Chicken and cook approximately 5 minutes.

Drain and rinse beans. Add beans, broth + 1/2 c water, celery, bell pepper, and chilies or salsa. Simmer about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle chili into bowls. Top with your favorite chili toppings: cilantro, green onions, cheese, corn chips. Serve alongside crusty bread or corn bread.

Note: Beware of heat! I used green salsa instead of green chilies because I didn’t have chilies on hand. In fact, as crazy salsa-lovers, we had three open bottles of green salsa in the fridge: one hot (Hatch), one mild, and one family-approved. Season accordingly!

beyond beansbeyond veggies

I dare you: you wouldn't know it's not chicken...

I dare you: you won’t know it’s not chicken…