Instant Pot White Bean Soup with Kale
After returning from summer away from home, getting back in my own kitchen felt like climbing into a pair of comfortable old jeans. One of my first moves was to pull out my Instant Pot. I had missed it and with fall approaching, the timing felt right. Plus, I had been percolating an Instant Pot white bean soup for weeks. (yes, while other people sit on beaches thinking about what SPF to apply, I think about making soup).
You Can Start the Soup with Unsoaked Beans
I decided ahead of time not to pre-soak the beans. I’ve been reading up on the pros and cons of the pre-soak and have concluded that there’s not much to be gained from it. Sure it can trim your cooking time, but if you’re relying on the speed of a pressure cooker, that’s not much of an issue. And from what I can gather, the notion that pre-soaked beans minimizes the potential for, ahem, gas, is debatable.
Easy Instant Pot Soup
Next was to figure out the direction to take my soup. I settled on flavors inspired by the soups of Italy, so I picked up a pound of cannellini beans, along with tomatoes, kale, and Italian sausage. After piling my ingredients into the Instant Pot, I added a Parmesan rind on a whim, which added a good punch of flavor to the finished soup.
After an hour in the pot, the beans were tender and the broth tasty. It was exactly the sort of soup I’d been hoping for back on the beach when I should have been thinking about applying more sunscreen. I bet you’ll like Instant Pot White Bean Soup as much as I do.
Can I Use Canned White Beans?
I think this soup is ideally made with dried beans, in part because longer cooking time allows the other flavors of the soup to really bloom. That said, this soup will still be tasty using canned beans. You’ll want to adjust the cooking time down to about 5 minutes at high pressure instead of 20. You also can release the valve as soon as cooking is done.
Tips for Making Instant Pot White Bean Soup
This is a pretty straightforward soup, but you might find a few tips and serving suggestions handy:
- If you can’t find cannellini beans, you can use navy beans or Great Northern beans instead. Cannellini beans are a bit bigger, so consider cutting the cooking time by a minute or two if you’re making a substitution.
- If your beans aren’t quite down when you lift the lid, you can put the lid back on and continue to cook on high pressure for an additional few minutes.
This is a very hearty soup that doesn’t necessarily need a side dish. I do like have a crusty baguette with my soup and Parmesan to grate over the top. If you happen to have pesto in your fridge, add a dab to the top of the soup just before serving for added flavor.
If you like Instant Pot White Bean Soup, check out:
Instant Pot Italian White Bean Soup
A flavorful and nourishing soup done in the Instant Pot. No need to pre-soak the beans means one less step to run under. Make it meaty using Italian sausage, or leave it out for a very tasty vegetarian soup. Plenty of grated Parmesan just before serving is the finishing touch. When considering total cooking time, remember that it will take a while for the Instant Pot to come to pressure before it kicks into cooking mode.
- 1 ½ cups dried cannellini beans
- 1 small chunk Parmesan cheese (it should have the rind and be at least a couple of ounces)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 1 rib celery, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with the liquid
- 8 cups low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 links pre-cooked Italian sausage (optional if you want a vegetarian/vegan soup)
- 1 large bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
Pick over beans to eliminate any little stones or debris. Cut the rind off the Parmesan cheese.
Press “Saute” on the Instant Pot. When the pot is hot, add the olive oil, onion, carrots, and celery. Saute, stirring regularly, until the onion is tender, about 8 minutes. Hit “Cancel” on the Instant Pot.
Add the cannellini beans, garlic, tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth, bay leaf, oregano, fennel, thyme, and the rind of the Parmesan cheese. Put on the lid to the Instant Pot, be sure the valve is closed, and set it to “Manual” (high pressure) for 1 hour.
When the Instant Pot is done, leave it to release steam naturally for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, carefully turn the steam valve and let the steam release.
Open the lid and taste a couple of beans to make sure they are tender. (If not, cook on Manual for another 5 to 10 minutes and check again).
When the soup is done, remove the Parmesan rind and bay leaf and discard. Add the kale, sausage, and salt and stir well. The hot broth will wilt the kale within about 5 minutes.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and pass the Parmesan cheese at the table to garnish.