This deeply flavorful, healthy, oil-free Instant Pot (or oven) Rustic Braised Vegetable Stew is easy to make, full of hearty textures, and ultra-satisfying.
- 1 or 2 large yellow onions, quartered *
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 2 celery ribs, sliced
- 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced or whole
- 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced or whole
- 1 – [ 28 oz. can ] crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth *
- 1 ½ cups water (or broth)
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon molasses
- 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari *
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda *
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 Tablespoons dried minced onions
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons regular chili powder *
- 1 teaspoon dried crushed thyme leaves *
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 – 2 teaspoons sea salt (+/-) *
- Pinch black pepper (+/-)
- Pinch to 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional) *
- 1 – [ 15 oz. can ] kidney beans, drained and rinsed *
- 1 ½ lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, 1 ¼ -inch cubes
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
- 4 Tablespoons water
- Quinoa Flatbread or Bread
Instant Pot Instructions
- Place the Spice/Herb Ingredients (except the cayenne pepper and bay leaves) in a small bowl, mix well, set aside.
- Add all the Base Ingredients into the Instant Pot, stir well to combine. Then add the Spice/Herb Mix, potatoes and kidney beans, stir well, then tuck the bay leaves down into the liquid. Press the potatoes and mushrooms down into the liquid as much as possible; set the Instant Pot to Manual Pressure High for 14 minutes. When finished, press Cancel and allow to sit for 1 minute, then do a Quick Release. Unplug the Instant Pot.
- Once all the pressure is released, carefully remove the lid. Add the Slurry (see notes); stir until slightly thickened. Stir in the cayenne pepper. Allow to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes to let the stew cool down as the flavors to continue to develop and marry. Discard the bay leaves. Serve with your favorite flatbread.
Oven Braising Instructions
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Place the Spice/Herb Ingredients (except the cayenne pepper and bay leaf) in a small bowl, mix well, set aside.
- Add all the Base Ingredients into a heavy, ceramic-lined Dutch Oven, stir well to combine. Then add the Spice/Herb Mix, potatoes and kidney beans, stir well, then tuck the bay leaves down into the liquid. Press the potatoes and mushrooms down into the liquid as much as possible; cover with a tight-fitting lid. Bake at 400F for one hour or longer, until the potatoes and carrots are tender.
- Once the potatoes and carrots are tender, carefully remove the lid. Add the Slurry (see notes); stir until slightly thickened. Stir in the cayenne pepper. Allow to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes to let the stew cool down as the flavors to continue to develop and marry. Discard the bay leaves. Serve with your favorite flatbread.
Tips for Success:
- 6-quart or 8-quart Instant Pot: We used an 8-quart Instant Pot. If you use a 6-quart, you could possibly need to scale back a tiny bit on the mushrooms to ensure nothing goes beyond the fill line. Note: If using a 6-quart Instant Pot, you may need to slightly adjust the pressure cooking times accordingly – largely based upon the size of the cut of potato.
- Stew/Sauciness: This recipe makes a beautiful amount of sauce. We loved it for flatbread dipping while eating the stew. If you have too much sauce, the sauce is great over fluffy rice too.
- Cayenne Pepper: Instant Pots really tend to crank up the heat of some spices, specifically cayenne pepper. We always add it at the end after the dish has completely cooked in the Instant Pot. The stew is still piping hot enough to cook the cayenne pepper.
- Mushrooms and Veggies: Push the mushrooms and vegetables down into the liquids as much as possible, but don’t worry if some sticks out, just try to make sure the potatoes are under the liquid.
- Onions: If you enjoy onions, use two. If you want less onion flavor, use one.
- Size of Potatoes: When using the oven braising method (not Instant Pot), you may wish to cut the potatoes on the smaller side. Whenever you mix tomatoes and potatoes, the potatoes always lose the battle. In other words, the acidity from tomatoes tends to make is more difficult to break down the cellular wall of the potato making the cooking time longer in order to get a tender potato.
- Maple Syrup/Molasses: The maple syrup and molasses add a beautiful slight note of sweetness to this stew which really adds depth of flavor which complements the “tomatoiness” of the stew. This kind of gives almost a “wine flavor” without using wine. You can leave out the maple syrup/molasses (or scale it back) if you wish or you can add it at the very end. If you leave it out, you may need to adjust your spices accordingly.
- How to make a Slurry: Combine the cornstarch (or arrowroot powder) and water in a small bowl, whisk to remove any lumps.
*Vegetable Stock: We use Pacific Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Stock. We love this brand because it is Whole Food Plant Based compliant, as it does not contain MSG, has no oil, and does not contain any highly-processed ingredients.
*Chili Powder: We used Penzeys Regular Chili Powder. We love the flavor without adding a ton of heat. Even though we use 2 teaspoons of chili powder, the dish does not come off with a Southwestern flavor. The chili powder adds a great depth of flavor without being overbearing.
*Cayenne Pepper: If you just want a tiny punch of flavor, use a pinch. If you want a lot of spiciness/heat use ¼ teaspoon or more. Or you can leave it out completely. Add it at the end and add a tiny bit at a time until the desired punch of heat is achieved.
*Baking Soda: Baking soda is often used as a neutralizer for dishes that contain a lot of acidity, typically from tomatoes. We use it in this dish to remove some of the tomato acidity (from the tomato paste and crushed tomatoes) without losing the tomatoey flavor.
*Tamari: We used San J Tamari Soy Sauce, Gluten Free, Reduced Sodium. You can substitute the tamari with reduced sodium soy sauce, Braggs Liquid Aminos, or Braggs Coconut Liquid Aminos.
*Kidney Beans: We used kidney beans because they hold up great in the Instant Pot and oven. You can substitute with your favorite bean. Additionally, if you really enjoy kidney beans, add two cans. There is enough sauce to support two cans of beans.
*Mushrooms: You can use your favorite mushrooms in this dish, or you can leave them out entirely. If you leave them out, then supplement by adding additional veggies or beans.
*Sea Salt: Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary needs.
*Serving: 6 (makes 12 cups of stew)
*Storage: Refrigerate and use within 5 days, freezes well.