Instant Pot Lasagna Soup

February 17, 2019 at 11:50 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Instant Pot, Italian, Menus, Monthly menu plan, One pot wonders, Pasta, Quick weeknight recipe, soup, Spring recipes, Website / blog, Winter recipes) ()


I am a member of the Instant Pot Vegan Recipe group on Facebook, and almost every week someone raves about this recipe for Lasagna Soup from Vegan Richa. I like lasagna, but it always takes so long to make. A fast version in the pressure cooker? Sounds good to me!

I’ve made the recipe a couple of times now, with a few modifications (see below). The recipe is pretty fast. You basically just have to chop the onions and other veggies and measure out all the ingredients. Everyone liked it pretty well (even 4-year-old Alma who is normally very suspicious of new “mixed” dishes and Derek who typically disdains soup). It’s surprising how filling it is given that it only calls for 5 ounces of noodles for 2 to 3 servings.  Normally Derek alone will eat at least 4 ounces of noodles! The first time I made it I think we even had a little bit of leftovers! I guess the lentils and veggies and broth make it filling.

Here is what I want to try in terms of ingredients next time. This is roughly the original amounts for 4 servings, but with more veggies and slightly more lentils. I think it actually makes around 6 servings.

The prep takes me around 20 minutes I think, until I put the lid on the instant pot and press start. Then it takes 20?? minutes to come to pressure, 3 minutes to cook, and about 7? minutes until quick release. So I generally need to start around an hour before I’m ready to eat.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced [Originally 5.6 cloves]
  • 3/4 large onion, chopped [Originally 0.7 onions, grams??]
  • veggies: around 5 to 6 cups of other veggies of your choice [original recipe calls for 1.4 cups of veggies], e.g.
    • 1 large carrot, sliced (about 130g)
    • 5 mushrooms, chopped into large pieces  (about 150g)
    • 1 large zucchini, halved longwise and very thickly sliced (maybe 300g)
    • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, in very large chunks (maybe 180g?) 
  • spices
    • 1 1/8 tsp. fine salt
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1 heaping tsp. basil
    • heaping 1/2 tsp. oregano
    • heaping 1/2 tsp. parsley
    • generous dash of thyme and/or sage
    • generous dash of rosemary
  • 1.5 tsp. olive oil [Original recipe calls for 1.3 tsp.]
  • 1/2 cup (96 g) dry red lentils (They should be hulled, but split is optional. If they are hulled and split then they are often called masoor dal.) [Originally 0.33 cups]
  • 1.33 cups (12.32 oz) tomato puree (or any thick tomato sauce such as marinara, pasta sauce or passata) [original recipe calls for 1.4 cups]
  • 1 large jar whole tomatoes with their juice, cut up with scissors (about 2 to 3 cups or 10.52 oz I think) [original recipe calls for 1.4 to 2.1 cups]
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste (optional)
  • 4 cups (940 ml) water or veggie broth
  • 7 oz frilly-edge square noodles
  • dash of black and white pepper
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1.33 cups (40 g) packed spinach, optional
  • pesto, ricotta or grated mozzarella (optional, can be vegan)
  • a squeeze of lemon juice or fennel seeds (optional add ins)

Instructions:

  1. Mince the garlic. Chop the onion. Measure all your spices out into a small bowl. (Note: If you have Italian seasoning, you can use 3 teaspoons instead of the basil, oregano, parsley, thyme and rosemary.)
  2. Heat oil in the instant pot on saute mode. When hot, add onion, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook for 2 mins, stirring occasionally. While the onion is cooking, slice the carrot, and chop the mushrooms, zucchini, and bell pepper.
  3. Add veggies, red lentils, tomato puree, whole tomatoes, and spice mix, then stir. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste for additional tomato flavor (optional). Add the water and noodles and mix well.
  4. Close the lid and pressure cook on manual high for 3 mins. (The exact time will depend on your exact noodle, see note below). After you hear the beep, leave the pot for about 6 minutes (maybe a bit more or less, depending again on your noodle), then manually release the pressure and open the pot.
  5. Taste and adjust salt and flavor. Add some more salt, lemon juice, or additional broth as needed.
  6. Fold in the spinach if using. Let sit for a minute. Then serve with pesto/basil and/or vegan ricotta/mozzarella. You definitely need some cheese (vegan or otherwise) for a more lasagna like flavor. I like to sprinkle some on top of each bowl.

Note on cooking time: The general rule of thumb for pressure-cooking pasta seems to be half the time listed on package – 1 minute. But this recipe has a lot of volume, so it takes a while to come to pressure. So maybe subtract 2 minutes instead? For our pasta 3 minutes under pressure + 10 minutes afterwards (as the original recipe calls for) seems to be too much. The pasta is not al dente and the veggies end up overcooked, especially the zucchini.  So we either need to cut the 3 minutes down (maybe try 2.5 minutes?) or cut down on the time before quick releasing (maybe 6 minutes). Another idea to keep the zucchini from overcooking would be to very thinly slice or grate the zucchini and add it in at the very end, after the pressure is released.

Update Apr 29, 2021:

I made this recipe as written, except I didn’t have any mushrooms. I left it for 7 minutes and I think that was a tad too long. Next time I’ll try 6 minutes. I’ve made it with whole wheat noodles as well, and then I think 6 minutes might not be enough time, depending on how thick the pasta is. We had to add a little salt. And after taking firsts I felt like there wasn’t enough broth yet.

I usually just add the spinach to the amount we will eat in one meal. After the spinach sits overnight in the fridge it gets putrid colored. Better to add it right before you eat it. If the soup is hot the spinach wilts pretty quickly.

Alma really doesn’t like it when the mozzarella melts. It gets too stringy and it’s hard for her to eat. I need to remember to let her soup cool down quite a bit before adding her mozzarella.

Update Feb 2, 2019:

I made the recipe above (approximately 4 of the original recipe servings) and it was plenty for a one-pot dinner for Alma, Derek and me and we had enough leftover for lunch for Derek and me. But Derek and I had been sick and we weren’t that hungry. Maybe next time I should try doubling the original recipe (to make 6 of their servings instead of 4).

I only had about a 1/4 jar of whole tomatoes this time, so I used that and a lot more passata (maybe 3/4 of a large jar?). I didn’t measure all that carefully, but it worked out fine. I think this recipe is rather forgiving about the exact amounts/proportions of tomato products.

I think of this recipe as being pretty fast and easy but tonight I was sick so Derek made it and he thought it was really long and complicated! Just too many different ingredients I think. Maybe I should pre-mix the herbs and garlic/onion powders and salt so that that step is easier at least.

I’m curious to try fresh fennel as an addition, or the fennel seed mentioned as optional in the original recipe.

Update Dec 18, 2019:

I roughly followed the recipe for 4 servings of soup tonight, but I upped the amount of lentils to 1/2 cup. Also, I didn’t measure my veggies or tomato products. I added some mushrooms which were a nice addition. Although I was winging it a bit and not measuring very carefully the soup came out well. But it made probably more like 6 servings. I quick-released the pressure after 9 minutes but the pasta still ended up a bit too soft. I think next time I might try cooking it under pressure for only 2.5 minutes and then leaving for 10 minutes before quick releasing.

Original notes from 2/17/2019:

The main difficulty I have with this recipe is getting the timing right. The second time I made this I forgot to watch the instant pot and I accidentally let it sit for 12 minutes after it finished the 3 minutes of pressure cooking, instead of 10 minutes. The pasta and zucchini ended up quite overcooked. I need to figure out the perfect timing and make sure to watch the time carefully after it finishes cooking.

The recipe calls for masoor dal, but I only had peeled (but not split) red lentils. So I soaked my red lentils a bit ahead of time, to make sure they’d cook all the way through. That worked fine. I might try adding a bit more lentils next time — 2/3 a cup instead of 1/2 a cup for a doubled recipe.

Besides the tomatoes and onions, the recipe only calls for 1 cup of sliced veggies + 1 cup of packed spinach (for 2 to 3 servings). That seemed quite low to me, so I put in more. Last time I made a doubled recipe and put in one very large zucchini, one very large carrot, and half a large bell pepper (but I didn’t have any spinach). It was a nice amount, but the zucchini and bell pepper ended up quite cooked (partly because of the extra 2 minutes sitting time). I wonder if I could just throw the quick-cooking veggies in at the end after the soup has cooked, and let them cook in the residual heat? Maybe I’d need to grate the zucchini and chop the bell peppers finely?

I used 2 cups of passata (flavored with basil and salt) and one whole jar of tomatoes (cut up a bit with scissors). It was a good amount.

I haven’t tried this yet with whole wheat pasta. I’ve been using a white noodle with frilly edges that looks a little like miniature lasagne noodles.

I have un-veganified the recipe by serving it with grated mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Next time I want to try it without the mozzarella.

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