Last Christmas I failed to give any guidance on what I would like Santa to bring me because I really couldn’t think of anything I actually needed. As such, I was a little curious about the medium sized box under the tree with my name on it. When I opened it, I found a 3 qt. Instant Pot. I had read a great deal about these “miracle” pressure cooker/slow cooker/rice cooker gadgets but had absolutely zero interest in getting one. In my mind, slow cookers were for making chili which I already did in a big ass pot; pressure cookers were for people trying to make things in a time crunch on cooking shows, not people cooking at home with all the time in the world; and I already had a really nice rice cooker.

For the first few months, it just sat in the cabinet under the counter biding its time. But then I signed up for night classes and had to figure out a way to have a decent hot meal ready to go to the table for the rest of the family since my wife’s job usually keeps her from getting home until 6:30 or 7:00, and our daughter is supposed to be practicing piano and violin before taking a shower and getting in bed by 8:30. Hello, slow cooker … .

The only actual problem with the mini version of the Instant Pot is that most of the recipes on line are for the 6 qt. version so you have to do a lot of halving to get things right for the 3 qt. version. I imagine this isn’t a problem for most people, but I find that about half way through the list of ingredients, particularly when there are more than 10, my mind wanders, or the dog barks at a shadow, or I have to help with a homework problem, etc. and I lose track of what I’m doing. Sometimes this is catastrophic, sometimes it’s inconsequential, and sometimes it works out quite well. In this case, I forgot from the outset and then realized I had screwed up as the pot got more and more full. I figured this was going to be a catastrophic example but it actually turned out really well. I also eliminated a couple of the steps they had because they involved soaking beans in a separate bowl and then pouring them into the instant pot bowl. If you are using your instant pot overnight, feel free to take that route, but I prefer to not have an extra thing to wash.

If you are going to have leftovers, it freezes fine, or it can sit in the fridge. However, do not put the bread in before you put it in a storage container. Put the bread in a bag or another container and keep it in the fridge with the soup. It will get stale, but that’s actually a good thing. If you heat the soup up in the microwave, just add the bread in the bowl when you pour it out of the container. I froze ours and heated it up in a pot on the stove and just poured the soup over the stale bread.

And now, without further ado …


  • Mini Instant Pot
  • Large Sautée Pan (minimum 10 inches)
  • Sharp chef’s knife


  • 1 lb dried Cannellini beans (medium sized white beans)
  • 2 tablespoons or so of olive oil
  • 1 white onion
  • Fine sea salt
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1/2 small to medium butternut squash (I use the top part where the seeds aren’t and then cut the bottom part in half to roast with brown sugar and cinnamon)
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoons of herbs de Provence
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 pound kale (preferably Tuscan)
  • 2 cups rustic bread, preferably unsliced
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for topping

Time: Active: 12 hours soaking, 30 minutes, 8 hours cooking

Yield: We got 3 dinners and two lunches out of this.


  1. Remove the bowl from the Instant Pot and put the beans in
  2. Add water to cover the beans by about 3 inches and put the cover on
  3. Put in the refrigerator and leave overnight
  4. In the morning, Put the bowl in the Instant Pot and set it to slow cook mode to cook on high for 4 hours with automatic warming on.
  5. When it’s almost done, you can do your vegetable prep:
    1. Peel and thinly slice the garlic
    2. Peel the squash and cut it into cubes about 1/2-1″. The actual size doesn’t really matter as long as they are all about the same size so that they will cook at the same rate.
    3. Peel and slice your carrots to about 1/4″ thick disks
    4. Slice the celery about the same size as the carrots
    5. Roughly chop the onion
  6. Now heat your pan up over medium heat (that’s 4 on my stove, yours may vary)

    When the pan is pretty hot (if you put a drop of water on it you should not get sputtering and a small explosion, but it should. evaporate pretty quickly), add the oil.
    Next add the onion and let it cook for about 5 minutes or so until it is soft.
    Now add the carrots, celery, squash, and garlic and cook the whole lot for about another 5 minutes until the carrots are just beginning to soften.
    When the beans have cooked for the full 4 hours, open the can of tomatoes and dump that in.
    Add the bay leaves and the heroes de Provence.
    Stir everything together then add the vegetables from the pan and stir again.
  1. Set the Instant Pot to slow cook mode on low for 3 hours with automatic warming on.
    When the 3 hours is almost up, roughly chop the kale across the stem/rib. I do 1/2″ ribbons but you do whatever makes you happy.
    Add the parmesan and the kale to the pot and give everything a nice stir.
    Put a few torn up pieces in the bottom of the bowl and then pour the soup over the bread and top with grated parmesan.

See above for how to deal with leftovers.