It seems like winter is hanging on forever here in Northern Illinois so there is plenty of soup weather left. I tried this recipe from Brandi of The Vegan 8 last month and it was so tasty that I made it again soon after. At first I was skeptical of the seasoning mixture but Brandi got it spot on. This will remind you of your favorite canned vegetable soup but it has more flavor and nutrition and a lot less sodium.
Part of the appeal of this soup is its ease of preparation. The only vegetable prep needed is to chop an onion and press a few garlic cloves and of course you can skip that if you don’t mind paying a little bit more for the pre-chopped stuff that can be found in many grocery store produce departments. I added a little chopped celery and a stray carrot that I wanted to use up, too.
Here are the ingredients I used:
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1/2 cup diced celery (optional)
- 5 large garlic cloves, minced
- 5 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 – 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 5 cups frozen mixed vegetables (corn, peas, green beans, and carrots)
- ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon or less cayenne pepper
- 1 ½ cups cooked brown rice (add at the end)
I made this soup in my Instant Pot. What, you don’t have one?! It’s the new “it” kitchen appliance with a huge following. It combines the features of a pressure cooker with those of a slow cooker and most have multiple additional features. Mine has functions for beans, grains, and yogurt, to name a few. I got rid of my yogurt maker, my rice cooker, and one of my crockpots to make room for this baby.
Back to the soup. My Instant Pot has a saute function so you can saute ingredients and then pressure cook your soup in the same vessel. I cooked my onion, garlic, celery, and carrot in a bit of the vegetable broth.
To keep this soup from being the sodium heavy equivalent of the canned variety, it’s important to check the labels of your broth and tomato products carefully. I make my own salt free vegetable broth but if you purchase yours in the store remember to look for a salt free or low sodium option. The same for the crushed tomatoes. It’s becoming easier and easier to find no salt added and low sodium tomato products. The tomatoes that I used came from Aldi’s and has less than 100mg per serving.
Once my fresh vegetables and garlic were softened I hit the “cancel” button and added all of the additional ingredients except the rice. I stirred everything together, put the pressure lid on the pot and twisted the lid to lock it shut. I moved the steam valve to “lock” and pushed the “soup” function button that is preset to 30 minutes. It worked perfectly for this recipe. It takes the IP about 8-10 minutes to come up to temp and then it starts counting down. When it completes its cycle you can either wait for the steam to release naturally or use a long handled wooden spoon or other implement to push the steam vent to the release position. I added the cooked rice at this point and put the lid back on to let the rice heat through.
Of course you can totally follow Brandi’s recipe for stovetop preparation if you prefer but I thought you’d like this information about using the Instant Pot in case you are thinking of purchasing one.
This soup was, (dare I say it?), “Mmmm…mmm…good!