Instant Pot: Vegan wild rice + mushroom soup with herbs + crispy tofu (gluten-free)

The wild rice and mushrooms make a chewy and chunky soup — perfect for cold, rainy days. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can make this recipe in a soup pot or pressure cooker on the stovetop. To cook wild rice, use 1 part wild rice to 3 parts water or broth. If you don’t have time to soak the wild rice, just add a few additional minutes of cooking time. For the herbs, you can use fresh or dried.

  • crispy broiled tofu
  • olive oil
  • onion, diced
  • carrots, sliced
  • mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • kosher salt
  • white wine
  • wild rice, soaked in water and drained (see note above)
  • raw cashews, soaked in water, drained, and blended
  • water or homemade vegetable broth
  • greens (such as kale, chard, spinach, or beet greens), chopped
  • garlic, minced
  • sage
  • parsley or cilantro
  • thyme
  • fennel seed
  1. Prepare the crispy tofu and set aside.
  2. Set your Instant Pot to the Sauté function. When hot, add the oil and then the onion, carrots, mushrooms, and a pinch of salt. When the vegetables start to brown, add up to ¼ cup wine and cook until the wine is absorbed. Add the wild rice, water or broth, cashew cream, and a sprinkle of salt. Stir well.
  3. Cancel the Sauté function, press the Pressure Cooker function, lock the lid, and set to Sealing. Set the time to 10 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes before Venting.
  4. Unlock the lid. Stir the mixture and taste to make sure the wild rice is cooked to your desired texture. Stir in the greens, garlic, and herbs. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Garnish each bowl with crispy tofu and serve.

Homemade vegetable broth (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

Here is a way to make a pot of vegetable broth in less than 1 hour that is great to use when cooking soups, stuffings, and legumes. To keep the broth neutral-flavored, use milder vegetable scraps, like fennel tops, leek tops, onion quarters, and shallot halves; refrain from using broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage; and don’t add salt.

  • olive oil
  • vegetable scraps, chopped (see Note)
  • hot water

In a soup pot over medium heat, warm some olive oil. Add the vegetable scraps and cook until starting to brown. Add hot water to cover by several inches, cover, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 45 minutes or longer.

Tangy, spicy + creamy broccoli soup (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

This chunky blended soup will surprise you with its depth of flavor—honest! There’s a hint of dairy-free cheesiness from the nutritional yeast and vinegar-based hot sauce (to avoid spicy heat, try just vinegar). An immersion/stick blender is very handy for blending the soup right in the pot. Inspired by a post on the Connoisseurus Veg blog.

  • olive oil
  • onion, diced
  • mushrooms, chopped
  • potato, chopped
  • sweet pepper, chopped,
  • jalapeño chile, sliced
  • homemade vegetable broth or store-bought
  • fresh tomatoes, chopped, or canned diced tomatoes
  • raw cashews
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • unsweetened plain plant-based milk (such as soy milk or almond milk)
  • nutritional yeast flakes
  • vinegar-based hot sauce
  • turmeric
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • broccolini or broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
  • miso
  • fresh cilantro or fresh parsley, chopped
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, potato, sweet pepper, and jalapeño and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly browned. Add broth, tomatoes, and cashews and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. During the last 5 minutes, stir in the garlic.
  2. Using an immersion blender right in the pot or transferring the soup in batches to a blender (and then back into the pot), blend until mostly smooth. Stir in the milk, nutritional yeast, hot sauce, turmeric, a few grinds of pepper, and the broccolini. Bring to a simmer and cook until the broccolini is tender, about 7 minutes. Ladle some soup into a heatproof measuring cup with a spout, whisk the miso into the liquid until dissolved, and pour the miso mixture back into the pot to reheat. Taste and adjust seasonings, stir in the cilantro, and serve.

Peanut-vegetable stew with fresh herbs (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

Ground roasted peanuts thicken this stew and, surprisingly, add a layer of flavor complexity more than a peanut taste. For nutty goodness, add more roasted peanuts to individual bowls when serving. No need to purchase specific vegetables and herbs because whatever is in your fridge works in this very forgiving dish.

  • dried chiles (such as chipotle, guajillo, and/or chile negro), stemmed
  • roasted unsalted peanuts
  • olive oil or coconut oil
  • onion, chopped
  • brown rice, preferably quick-cooking rice or regular rice soaked for a few hours and drained to shorten cooking time
  • mixed vegetables of choice (such as mushrooms, zucchini, daikon, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, celery, and beets), chopped
  • turmeric
  • minced garlic or garlic powder
  • greens (such as beet greens, chard, kale, collards, and/or cabbage), chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh herbs of choice (such as parsley, mint, dill, cilantro, rosemary, oregano, and/or thyme), chopped
  1. Cut the chiles into strips using scissors and seed if desired. Place in a heatproof bowl, cover with hot water, and set aside.
  2. Grind the peanuts for a few seconds in a spice grinder or blender (if you grind longer, you’ll get peanut butter!). Set aside.
  3. In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and cook until starting to soften. Add the rice, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes. Add the chiles and their soaking water. Add the chopped vegetables and the ground peanuts, cover, and cook until softened, adding additional water as needed. Add the turmeric, garlic, greens, and black pepper, cover, and cook until the greens are cooked the way you like.
  4. To serve, spoon the stew into individual bowls and sprinkle with herbs.


Zucchini stewed with tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers + spices (gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, vegan)

Here’s a salute to summer zucchini. For a main dish, add a large quantity of the vegetables to serve over your favorite grain or pasta; for a first-course soup, add more juicy tomatoes. Instead of the mix of spices listed, use any spice mix or grill rub that you enjoy.

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • red onion, chopped
  • sweet peppers, chopped
  • jalapeño chile, sliced
  • chopped fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes with juices
  • kosher salt
  • zucchini, sliced into thick rounds
  • super-firm tofu, cubed (optional)
  • mixed ground spices (such as cayenne, caraway, cumin, coriander, and garlic powder)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped fresh parsley
  1. Warm the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms in one layer and cook, without stirring, until browned. Lower the heat to medium. Stir in the onion, peppers, and chile, cover, and cook until softened. Stir in the tomatoes and sprinkle with salt, cover, and cook until the tomatoes are cooked through. Add the zucchini and tofu, cover, and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is soft. If the mixture becomes dry, add a splash of water.
  2. Stir in the mixed spices and cook a minute longer. Season with salt to taste and a few grinds of pepper, sprinkle with the parsley, drizzle with some olive oil, and serve.

Creamy cauliflower-corn chowder with kalamata olives + miso broth (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

It might be a little late for fresh peas at the farmers’ market, but frozen work fine, along with fresh or frozen corn. This summer, consider freezing fresh ears of corn to make this chowder anytme—just steam or microwave the frozen ears in the husk for a minute or two, shuck the ears, cut the kernels from the cobs, and add to whatever you’re cooking.

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • onion, chopped
  • cauliflower, coarsely chopped
  • white miso
  • hot water
  • fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • fresh or frozen peas, snow peas, or sugar snap peas
  • pitted kalamata olives (optional)
  • thinly sliced green onions (optional)
  • hot-pepper sauce (optional)
  1. Warm the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown. Stir in the cauliflower and cook until the cauliflower is soft. Add a splash of water, if needed, to deglaze the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the corn and continue cooking, covered.
  2. Meanwhile, in a heatproof glass measuring cup, whisk the miso a teaspoonful at a time into a cup or two of hot water until the miso is fully integrated to make a broth. Pour the broth into the soup pot.
  3. Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender), blend the soup to your desired creaminess. Return the soup to a simmer. Add the peas and cook until heated through.
  4. To serve, ladle soup into individual bowls and garnish with olives, green onions, and hot-pepper sauce.

Polenta soup with potatoes, greens + herbs (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

The packaged precooked polenta that comes in a log thickens this healthy, quick, and comforting soup. If you add red beets as part of the chopped seasonal vegetables, the soup will turn pink, unless you use varieties that don’t bleed, like golden or Chioggia beets.

  • avocado oil, coconut oil, or extra-virgin olive oil
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • onion, chopped
  • potatoes, sliced
  • jalapeño or serrano chile, sliced (optional)
  • chopped seasonal vegetables (such as carrots, celery, fennel bulb, cauliflower, and beets)
  • kosher salt
  • chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
  • packaged precooked polenta, sliced and cubed
  • greens (such as chard, kale, collards, or beet greens), stems removed and leaves finely sliced
  • herbes de Provence or fresh or dried rosemary and thyme
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • freshly ground pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the mushrooms in one layer and cook, undisturbed, until sizzling and browned. Move the mushrooms to the side of the pot, add the onion and potatoes, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened. Stir in the chile and chopped vegetables, season with salt, cover, and cook until the vegetables are softened. Add the tomatoes, cover, and simmer until the tomatoes become saucy.
  2. Add the polenta and water just to cover the contents of the pot. Cover and bring the soup to a simmer. Let the polenta cook for a few minutes so that it softens, then mash the polenta against the side of the pot. Cook until the polenta is well integrated into the soup and the vegetables are cooked through.
  3. Stir in the greens until wilted. Then add the herbs, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

Creamy broccoli soup with shredded coconut (gluten-free, vegan)

The coconut oil and coconut shreds give this blended broccoli soup a tropical flair, and the potatoes give it creamy heft. You will need an immersion blender or a regular blender to blend the soup.

  • coconut oil
  • onion, coarsely chopped
  • potatoes, coarsely chopped
  • jalapeño chile, chopped (optional)
  • kosher salt
  • broccoli florets and stems, coarsely chopped
  • unsweetened coconut shreds
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh basil leaves, slivered, or homemade or store-bought pesto
  • sliced toasted almonds
  1. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, potatoes, and chile, sprinkle with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown.
  2. Add water to just cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through.
  3. Stir in the broccoli and cook until bright green, 1 to 2 minutes.  Using an immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender, whirl the soup until smooth but still chunky.
  4. Stir in the coconut shreds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the basil, top with almonds, and serve.

Zucchini soup with sugar snap peas + potatoes (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

This bright green blended soup is downright delicious. With late spring comes the end of sugar snap peas and fresh dill and the beginning of zucchini, peppers, and potatoes. This version (inspired by a recipe in Amy Chaplin’s At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen) combines them into a rich, sweet, and smooth success story. Ladle the soup over brown rice, pasta, or rice noodles or enjoy it on its own.

  • olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee
  • red or yellow onion, chopped
  • yellow potatoes, chopped
  • Padron or Anaheim peppers, chopped
  • zucchini, chopped
  • kosher salt
  • sugar snap peas
  • garlic cloves, chopped
  • fresh dill, chopped
  • black pepper
  • hot-pepper sauce (optional)
  • chopped green olives (optional)
  • green onions, sliced thinly, for garnish
  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened. Stir in the potatoes, peppers, zucchini, and a sprinkle of salt and cook until vegetables begin to soften and brown a bit.
  2. Meanwhile, pull the strings off the sugar snap peas and thinly slice the pods. Add the peas to the pot along with filtered water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until the vegetables are completely cooked. Stir in the garlic and dill.
  3. Blend the soup in the pot using an immersion blender or transfer in batches to a standard blender. Reheat the soup, if needed, and season to taste with salt, pepper, and more dill. Ladle into bowls, add hot-pepper sauce and olives, if using, and garnish with the green onions.

Springtime vegetable soup (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

April vegetable soups are light and brothy compared to winter’s dense stews. Here is a favorite, highlighting spring’s fennel, leeks, romaine lettuce, sugar snap peas, spinach, fava beans, and dill. What’s lovely about this soup is the unexpected crunchiness of the romaine ribs and the creaminess of the avocado. For extra richness, I cooked the vegetables with both olive oil and homemade ghee. Inspired in part by a March 2014 recipe in Sunset magazine.

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • potatoes, diced
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • fennel bulb, diced
  • romaine lettuce
  • leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced thinly
  • lemon zest
  • chopped fresh dill
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • homemade vegetable broth, store-bought, or water
  • sugar snap peas, sliced thinly
  • fava beans, single-shelled
  • spinach, sliced thinly
  • avocado, cut into cubes
  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the potatoes, mushrooms, and fennel. Cook until vegetables are softened. Meanwhile, cut the ribs from the romaine leaves and finely chop the ribs and leaves, keeping them separate.
  2. Add the ribs to the pot along with the leeks, lemon zest, dill, and salt and pepper; stir and cook a minute or two. Add the stock, cover, and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through.
  3. Stir in sugar snap peas and fava beans and cook for a minute or two until fava beans are completely soft. Add spinach and lettuce leaves and stir until just wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, top each bowl with avocado and more fresh dill.