Quick, easy, nourishing and delicious Instant Pot Vegetable Soup is perfect year round. Cauliflower, asparagus, bell pepper, zucchini, carrot, celery, kale, and chickpeas make for a flavor explosion!
My favorite part about this soup is that it is so versatile. You can even add chicken, or certain beans to it without a problem. It all depends on which veggies you add and how long you will end up pressure cooking your soup.
What are the best vegetables to use?
The possibilities are endless, however, try and use vegetables that require similar pressure cooking times. Root vegetables tend to take a lot longer to cook than cruciferous, marrows, or edible plant stems.
You can make exceptions with root vegetables that can be eaten raw and taste great raw, such as carrots. They tend to take longer than zucchinis or asparagus to cook, but taste great with a bit of crunch.
All “medium veggies” fit in well with either soft OR hard veggies.
Great combinations are:
Soft veggies (5 mins): zucchini, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, sugar snap peas, green beans, etc.
Medium veggies (either): bell pepper, cabbage, celery, carrots, etc.
Hard veggies (10 mins): sweet potato, potato, celery root, yam, beets, etc.
Dark leafy greens (0 mins): add dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, or chard into the hot soup without pressure cooking.
My favorite are the soft spring vegetables mixed with one crunchy one (carrot). At the end, I love adding a dark leafy green to the vegetable soup without pressure cooking it in the Instant Pot but rather steamed in the remaining heat. (See video).
Ingredients and Substitutions
For this particular recipe I used the following ingredients:
- Onion – yellow onion or white onion work great for this recipe.
- Garlic – I recommend using fresh garlic cloves, but for flavor, you can also use garlic flakes or garlic powder if necessary.
- Carrots – use one large or two medium carrots.
- Celery – I love the taste of celery in soups, use fresh stalks if possible.
- Zucchini – green zucchini has a great texture for cooking. It can be replaced with yellow squash or pumpkin.
- Bell Peppers – for this recipe I used red and yellow bell pepper. Orange pepper is a good option too.
- Cauliflower – a delicious veggie to add to soups. You could replace it with broccoli florets if you like.
- Asparagus – the more veggies the better! If you don’t have asparagus on hand, you could also use green beans or peas instead.
- Kale – I used curly kale leaves for a bit of crunchiness, but you can replace them with spinach leaves or baby spinach.
- Vegetable Stock – any other stock works well.
- Chickpeas – I recommend using canned chickpeas to save time, just rinse them well. But you can use any kind of cooked chickpeas.
- Canned Chopped Tomatoes – a.k.a. polpa. Crushed tomatoes have a similar texture and can be used instead.
- Paprika – it has a deep and fragrant flavor. If you need to substitue, cayenne pepper is a good alternative.
- Dried Herbs – for this vegetable soup I used a combination of dried sage, dried basil and dried oregano, but when it comes to seasoning, the sky is the limit. Use your favorite herbs to boost the flavor of the soup.
- Chili Powder – it gives a nice kick to the overall taste and can be interchangeable with paprika. You can omit if you don’t have any.
- Avocado Oil – any other high-smoke cooking oil can be also used, like grapeseed oil or sunflower oil.
- Parsley – this is completely optional and will be used for garninshing only.
How to make Instant Pot Vegetable Soup
- Wash well all your veggies and get a large chopping board.
- Start by peeling a medium onion and then chop it finely. Then grab 3 cloves of garlic and chop them finely too. Put both into a small bowl and set aside.
- Grab red and yellow bell peppers and cut off the stem and seeds. Slice them and then cut them into cubes.
- Get two medium carrots and peel them. Cut them lengthwise and then slice them thinly. Get two stalks of celery and do the exact same thing.
- Grab the cauliflower florets and cut them into bite-sized pieces, enough to get about 2 cups.
- Get two zucchinis, cut them lengthwise and then slice them thinly.
- Grab six asparagus spears and cut them into 1-inch pieces.
- Get three curly kale leaves, destem them and chop them coarsely. Set kale aside, it won’t be added to the instant pot until the end.
- Take out your instant pot, connect it and press the “Sauté” button. Once the bottom of the pot is hot, add a drizzle of avocado oil and then add the chopped onion and garlic. Sauté until slightly brown.
- Add a splash of vegetable broth and deglaze the bottom of the pot by scraping off any bits that are stuck. Turn the instant pot off and take your time scraping.
- Add all your chopped vegetables, except the kale. Then, add two cups of cooked chickpeas, 4 cups of vegetable broth and seasonings. Stir well and then add 1 can of finely chopped tomatoes. Do not stir the tomato sauce into the broth, let it sit on top of the vegetables to avoid getting the “burn” warning on the instant pot.
- Put the lid on the pot, close it tight and turn the valve to the sealing position. Set the instant pot to high pressure for 5 minutes. Once the pressure cooking time is over, CAREFULLY turn the valve to the venting position and manually release all pressure.
- When the safety pin drops, it is safe to open the pot. Remove the lid and add the chopped kale. Gently stir all the ingredients until well combined. The heat of the soup will wilt the kale without making it all mushy.
- Let it sit for a minute or two and your delicious vegetable soup is ready. Serve into a bowl and sprinkle a little chopped parsley on top. Yum!
How to make this soup a main dish
By adding some protein your soup can be the perfect lunch or dinner recipe. No need to make another main dish.
To keep it vegetarian add cooked chickpeas or soaked mung beans or soaked lentils. In this case, you don’t really have to add extra carbs because the legumes have plenty of carbohydrates.
If you want to make it low-carb but with protein, add some cubed chicken breast if using soft veggies or cubed chicken thighs if using hard veggies. Chicken breast will overcook if pressure cooked longer than 5 minutes.
If you want to add animal protein AND carbs I suggest cooking brown rice, quinoa, or farro separately first, and then add a couple of tablespoons to the bowl you’ll be serving the vegetable soup in. Cooking whole grains in the Instant Pot takes longer than 5 minutes and when left in the vegetable soup for too long soak up all broth and become soggy.
Alternatively, serve with toasted bagel or any other homemade artisan bread. :)
Important note to avoid the burn warning
Tomato sauce is notorious for setting off the “burn” warning on the Instant Pot.
The best way to avoid this is to add tomato sauce at the very end on TOP of all other ingredients and to NOT stir it into the broth but let it sit on top.
The sauce will seep into the broth little by little and you can finish mixing it in after the pressure cooking time.
Instant Pot Vegetable Soup
- Pressure Cooker
- 1/2 Tbsp avocado oil
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 carrots
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 zucchinis
- 2 bell peppers - any color works
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- 6 asparagus
- 3 leaves curly kale
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas - canned or homecooked
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt - omit or reduce if your vegetable stock is super salty
- 1/2 tsp chili powder - optional
- 1 can finely chopped tomatoes (a.k.a. polpa) - 14oz / 400g
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley - optional
- Peel and finely chop onion and garlic and set aside in a bowl.
- Wash and cut all vegetables into bite-size pieces and set aside in a bowl. Destalk the kale and coarsely chop and leave on the chopping board, the kale will not be pressure cooked.
- Press the sauté button on the Instant Pot and wait until the display says "hot". Then add avocado oil and chopped onion and garlic and stir-fry until lightly brown.
- Once the onion is browned add a splash of vegetable broth and turn the instant pot off. Use a spatula or a wooden spoon to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Remove every little bit of onion stuck to the bottom to avoid the burn warning later.
- Add all chopped vegetables (except kale), the vegetable broth, cooked chickpeas, and all seasoning to the Instant Pot and stir well together. Then add the can of tomatoes without stirring in! (see video).
- Put on the lid, set the valve to the sealing position and set the pot to 5 minutes on high pressure.
- Once the Instant Pot beeps, turn the valve to the venting position and manually release all pressure. When the safety pin drops it's safe to open the pot.
- Add the chopped kale and give it a quick stir. Let sit for a minute or two for the kale to wilt a little and serve with freshly chopped parsley on top.