Vegan Instant Pot White Bean Stew

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A dump-and-go Instant Pot recipe that couldn’t be simpler! This Instant Pot White Bean Stew is healthy, vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free and has no added oil. And it comes together with zero hands-on cooking!
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
4.9 from 56 votes

Pantry meals came into high demand in 2020 for obvious reasons, and one of the easiest yet tastiest pantry meals I made was this Vegan Instant Pot White Bean Stew. It’s incredibly easy to make, hearty and satiating, and very flavorful!

This stew a dump-and-go recipe, which means you can quite literally, dump all the ingredients into the Instant Pot, do no hands-on cooking, and come back to a warm, delicious dinner!

Unfortunately, a lot of dump-and-go recipes you’ll find online seem to lack creativity and flavor—think mixing canned beans and salsa on top of a chicken breast (blah). Luckily, I am a stickler for maximizing flavor, so your taste buds definitely won’t be bored with this recipe!

bowl of white bean tomato stew with plate of toasted bread

Why you’ll like this vegan white bean stew

Dump-and-go. See above. Dump and go = no hands-on cooking!

Weeknight-friendly. See above. You can have dinner on the table and all you need to do is 10ish minutes of chopping. Oh, and one-pot meals also mean minimal dishwashing! Bonus: the Instant Pot inner pot is dishwasher safe!

Hearty and satisfying. This is hearty yet healthy comfort food that satisfies your cravings and your hunger, and leaves you full for hours. Especially if you serve this stew with some crusty, whole grain bread.

Allergen-friendly and healthy. This stew is vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free, and nut-free so it is definitely allergen-friendly!

Flavorful. There are multiple levels of flavors in this dish, from the bouquet garni (more on that below) to the ground cumin and paprika to the fresh gremolata topping (my favorite part).

Ingredient Rundown

The aromatics. If you’re familiar with my savory recipes, you know that I usually like to start with some aromatics. This could be as simple as onions or garlic, but it always varies based on the flavor profile and cuisine. The aromatics I use in this recipe are shallots, celery, and garlic.

This recipe is a bit different than most of my savory recipes in that you don’t cook the aromatics in oil. That’s because there’s no hands-on cooking in this dump-and-go recipe. But don’t omit the aromatics – they still add a good amount of flavor.

Yukon Gold Potatoes. To naturally thicken the stew, I add one large Yukon Gold Potato. I grate it with a box grater (the side with the large holes). Why grate them? Because the potatoes practically melt into the stew. But if you don’t have a grater, just peel and finely dice the potatoes.

Dried white beans. The beauty of the Instant Pot is that it makes it much simpler to cook beans from scratch. No need to babysit the pot, wait for it to boil, or check to see if your beans are burning.

You do need to soak the beans for this recipe overnight or for 8 hours, so it does require a little advance planning. But as long as you can remember to soak the beans, the soaking step takes just 2 minutes.

As for bean variety, my go-to is cannellini beans (so creamy and rich). But great northern beans or navy beans work just fine too.

Crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Read up, this part is important! Thick ingredients like crushed tomatoes tend to burn in the Instant Pot.

To avoid the burn warning, add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste at the end and layer them on top of all of the other ingredients without mixing in. The tomatoes are less likely to mix into everything and sink to the bottom of the pot if you pour them as low and close to the pot as possible and not from high above.

Gremolata. An Italian word for a chopped herb condiment featuring lemon zest, garlic and parsley. I make the gremolata while the stew is cooking, and stir it into each bowl when ready to serve. I promise you it will take your stew from good to AHMAAZING. It adds an incredible amount of bright, lemony freshness that makes every bite sing!

vegan instant pot white bean stew with bread slices and spoons

Substitutes and Modifications for this Recipe

Using unsoaked dried beans. If you do forget to soak your beans, you can make this recipe with unsoaked beans, but a few notes

  1. the texture of soaked beans is much better IMO (you’ll end up with more split skins if you don’t soak the beans);
  2. You’ll need to add more liquid (about 4 3/4 to 5 cups of vegetable broth instead of 3 cups – that’s about 1.1-1.2 liters instead of 720 mL);
  3. You’ll need to increase the cook time from 12 minutes to something about 55 minutes.

Using canned white beans. Since the beans are already cooked, you don’t need to cook them for very long. I’d say 5 or 6 minutes using the pressure cook setting. IMO, dried beans are better in taste and texture, but if you don’t got ‘em and can’t get ‘em canned beans will work.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I substitute this ingredient?

No Shallots? Try leeks or a sweet onion.

No Thyme? Try oregano, rosemary, or sage, but use less. Or, use dried thyme (1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons).

Is the gremolata necessary? 

Yes! When making dump-and-go recipes, you’re missing out on some of the opportunities to build flavor during the sauté step. So, it’s important to find other ways to build flavor elsewhere.

What to serve with white bean stew?

A hunk of crusty bread is the best pairing! If you’re gluten-free, try serving this over a bed of millet or brown rice.

Can I freeze this white bean stew? 

Yes! Freeze it without the gremolata in freezer-safe containers (affiliate link). Defrost in the fridge before reheating.

tomato white bean stew with parsley and bread

More Delicious White Bean Recipes to Try  

If you give this recipe a try, be sure to tag me on Instagram with your recreations and please comment with your feedback below!

Vegan Instant Pot White Bean Stew

4.9 from 56 votes
A dump-and-go Instant Pot recipe that couldn’t be simpler! This Instant Pot White Bean Stew is healthy, vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free and has no added oil. And it comes together with zero hands-on cooking!
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mediterranean, New American
Diet Vegan
Keyword: gluten-free, instant pot, no added oil, nut-free, soy-free, white beans
Serving size: 4

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces (340g) dried white beans, such as cannellini or great northern beans, soaked overnight*
  • 3 medium shallots, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, sliced
  • 1 large or 2 small-to-medium Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and grated**
  • 3 1/2 cups (840 mL) vegetable broth***
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (use 1.5 tsp if you love cumin like I do)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
  • Bouquet garni: 2 bay leaves + a few sprigs of flat-leaf parsley and thyme, tied tightly together with kitchen twine
  • 1 ½ – 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 (14.5-ounce / 410g) can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons (50g) tomato paste

Gremolata Topping

  • 1 large handful of Italian flat-leaf parsley, leaves and stems
  • 1 large garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • 1 small organic lemon
  • Coarse or flaky sea salt
  • For serving (optional): fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and crusty whole-grain bread

Instructions

  • Pour the vegetable broth into the Instant Pot. Add the soaked and drained white beans, shallots, garlic, celery, grated potatoes, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and the bouquet garni. Stir to combine.
  • Pour the crushed tomatoes and scoop the tomato paste on top of the other ingredients, but do not stir, allowing the tomatoes to sit on top (this prevents the tomatoes from blocking the Instant Pot’s heat sensory and burning).
  • Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Pressure Cook setting at high pressure and set the cook time to 12 minutes.
  • While the stew is cooking, prepare the Gremolata Topping. Roughly chop the parsley. Using a Microplane, grate the garlic directly over the parsley and zest the lemon on top of this mixture, taking care to not zest the white pith underneath the skin. Mix the garlic and lemon zest into the parsley and chop until everything is finely minced. Sprinkle with a bit of the coarse or flaky sea salt.
  • Once the 12-minute timer has completed and beeps, allow a natural pressure release.
  • Open the pot and taste for seasonings, adding more salt as needed. Transfer the stew to individual bowls, and top each with some gremolata. If desired, squeeze a little fresh lemon juice and drizzle with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, and serve with whole grain bread. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.

Notes

* Cover the beans with 6 cups (about 1.4 L) water and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Soak for 8 hours or overnight, then drain and rinse them under cold water.
** I use the large side of a box grater. if you don’t have a grater, just dice the potatoes.
*** This recipe originally had 3 cups of water but some users reported getting the burn warning, so I recommend adding a bit more water, as all Instant Pot models are a bit different. 

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70 comments on Vegan Instant Pot White Bean Stew

  1. Mary

    5 stars
    I have made this so many times. It’s the best! So flavorful and satisfying! The gremolata is such a cool touch too—I had never heard of it until this recipe.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Mary! Happy you enjoy the stew!

  2. Anne Nguyen

    5 stars
    Delicious

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Anne, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  3. Brooke

    Can I use this in the crock pot and how?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      From Nisha: “Hi, I don’t own a crockpot so I’ve never tried it myself, but based on similar types of recipes online, I’d guess cook on low for 7-9 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Just be sure to soak your beans in advance.”

  4. Em

    5 stars
    I’m trying my first bowl now! I love it, even though I didn’t get to make the gremolata topping or have any bread. I WILL make this stew again.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Em, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  5. Alex

    It was so delicious and easy to make! Much more flavor than most Instant Pot recipes I’ve tried.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Alex, we’re thrilled to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating alongside your review? Star ratings are big help to readers who are thinking of making the recipe. Thanks!

  6. wendy Borrie

    1 star
    Sorry, this was very disappointing, sloppy, and tasteless. Will not use this recipe again.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      So sorry that was your experience, Wendy. We hope you have better luck with the other recipes here on the Rainbow Plant Life channel.

  7. Joanne Guy

    This recipe looks great! I have some flageolet beans I want to use. I’m new to the Instant Pot – should I adjust the cook time for these small, delicate, thin-skinned beans?

  8. Julie Kang Harvey

    5 stars
    Wow, this was a fabulous meal, hearty and healthy and tons of flavor- the gremolata makes a huge difference. I used more broth to avoid the ‘burn’ notification. ( I have burned things in the past in the instant-pot.) I also added more beans and potatoes to balance out the extra broth. Turned out great! What an easy and delicious meal! Thanks so so much for sharing.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Julie, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  9. Lori

    5 stars
    This was delicious and easy to make! Very good! I hope it freezes well.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Lori, It does! Freeze it without the gremolata in freezer-safe containers and defrost in the fridge before reheating.

  10. Kristy

    4 stars
    The flavor is great! I don’t know if too much water or not enough thickening from potatoe, my first try came out more like soup than stew. Served over rice to bulk it up as a meal.

    It all took longer to make as well. Not a pro kitchen? Or maybe more repetitions to get faster? Our instapot took 15mins to heat, 12mins cook, and 25lressure release.

    All that together to say this is more a yummy weekend meal prep than a quick evening dinner.

  11. karen

    Hi, whenever I put tomato based products in the instant pot to make a recipe, it tends to burn as in I get a “burn” message. I do make a point of putting whatever tomato based sauce or chunks on top and not stirring but it still often happens to me. Any thoughts? suggestions? thanks

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      From Nisha: “Hi there, sorry to hear about the annoying burn notice! What I’m coming to learn since is that there’s some variability across instant pot models and unfortunately it seems like newer instant pot models are more sensitive to triggering the burn notice.

      So my advice would be: whenever you have a recipe that doesn’t have a lot of liquid and calls for canned tomato products (especially thicker ones like crushed tomatoes), I would consider increasing the amount of liquid (broth, water) just a bit.

      I also find tomato sauce to be too thick in general, so I rarely add that to the instant pot during the pressure cook function. I usually just add it afterwards and use the sauté method for a few minutes to heat it through and combine it.

      Hope that helps!”

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