Instant Pot Vegan Stew with Cauliflower

Easy to pull together with just 6 simple ingredients, this instant pot vegan stew is tomatoey and light, and the perfect vegan vegetable stew for transitioning out of winter. It cooks in only 5 minutes, with minimal prep needed, so it’s an ideal meal for a quick weeknight dinner. Serve it as it is, or with thickly sliced bread or your favourite grain.

Two bowls of instant pot vegan stew

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An instant pot vegan stew

This vegan vegetable stew is the first instant pot recipe on the blog! I love using my pressure cooker and have had it for a while, but I often just ‘dump-and-go’. This means I don’t normally write down recipes when I’m cooking with it.

This recipe is finally the change of that, and I’ve written down all of my best tips for making the tastiest easy vegan stew.

And don’t worry, if you haven’t got an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, this one can be cooked on the stovetop too!

What is an instant pot?

Pressure cooking is the process of cooking food under high pressure steam, normally done in a device called a pressure cooker. The Instant Pot is a popular range of electronic pressure cooker models, but there are many different manufacturers out there.

My pressure cooker is actually more of a multi-cooker and is made by Crock-Pot. I love this thing because you can do way more than just pressure cook in it. You can slow cook, steam, and sauté, and it has 8 different cooking programmes. I have to say that I definitely use the pressure cooking function the most, as it’s just so quick.

Two bowls of instant pot vegan stew with spoons

What I love about this instant pot vegan stew

I love that this vegan tomato stew is cooked in the pressure cooker because it means it’s extremely quick to make. Once the leeks have been briefly sautéed in the bottom, it cooks in a super speedy 5 minutes under high pressure. 

Not only is it so quick, but it’s also really easy to make. There’s minimal prep required for this recipe, and after the veggies are chopped you can just dump-and-go. 

Chopped and prepared ingredients for easy vegan stew

There are no complicated ingredients, but the flavours are delicious. It’s the perfect easy vegan stew for transitioning out of winter and into spring. The combination of tomatoes and olives gives it a little bit of a Mediterranean feel (I’m definitely wishing for summer!) whilst still being cosy.

Really simple whole ingredients often make for the best recipes, and this stew definitely proves that point!

What ingredients are in this stew?

Instant pot vegan stew has a mixture of healthy veggie goodness and protein from beans, pulled together in a sweet and herby tomato sauce. For this recipe I’ve used just 6 simple ingredients:

  • Leeks- Add a mild and sweet oniony base to the stew.
  • Cauliflower- I’ve used the largest head I could get hold of, but you can use a couple of small ones if that’s all you have. 
  • Mixed beans- Along with the cauliflower, these make up the bulk of the vegan bean stew. I’ve used two cans of mixed beans to get some variety in there, but you could use your favourite beans instead.
  • Cherry tomatoes and canned plum tomatoes- These make up the tomatoey sauce, and I’ve used a mixture of fresh cherry and canned peeled plum tomatoes. You could just use two cans if you don’t have any fresh.
  • Black olives- A powerful antioxidant and a staple of the Mediterannean diet. These are mild and slightly nutty, and add a great difference of flavour to the stew.
  • Herbs- I’ve used thyme and mint here but you can use a mixture of your favourite herbs. To save time on chopping, I just like to pop these in whole and remove the stems after cooking.
Ingredients for instant pot vegan stew

I’ve made this stew without potatoes to keep it on the lower carb side, but if you want something starchy, it’s delicious served with mash!

How to make easy vegan stew

This instant pot vegan stew is just so easy to make. To prepare, remove the florets from the cauliflower, slice the leeks (you can rinse them if they’re a little dirty), and halve the olives. Drain and rinse the canned beans.

Plug in your pressure cooker and hit the saute function. Add a little oil in the bottom and give it a minute or two to heat up. Add the leeks, then saute them for 3-4 minutes until they begin to soften. 

Sauteing leeks in instant pot

Turn the saute function off, then add the cauliflower, mixed beans, cherry tomatoes, plum tomatoes, olives and herbs. If you would like a bit of a thinner stew, you can add between half and a whole cup of vegetable stock.

Give it all a good stir, then lock the lid in place. Make sure the steam release valve is closed, then set it to pressure cook on high for 5 minutes.

At this point, if you want to make this as a slow cooker vegan stew, set it to slow cook for 4 hours on high, or 6 hours on low. Make sure the steam release valve is open if slow cooking.

After the time is up, you can quick release the pressure. Carefully remove the lid. Take out the large pieces of herbs from the stew, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

How to make stew on the stovetop

If you don’t have an electronic pressure cooker, multi cooker, or slow cooker, you can make this vegan vegetable stew on the stovetop. In a large casserole dish, stock pot, or saucepan, heat a little oil over a medium heat. Add the leeks and fry for 3-4 minutes until softened. 

Add the cauliflower, mixed beans, cherry tomatoes, plum tomatoes, olives and herbs. You can add between half and a full cup of stock if you would like a thinner vegan stew. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Cook covered for 15 minutes, then uncovered for 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft.

Remove the large pieces of herbs, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Easy vegan stew in a bowl with a spoon

What to serve with instant pot vegan stew

This stew is really tasty on its own, and makes a big enough portion to serve 4 with no sides. If you’re feeling extra hungry, or want to make it serve 6, there’s so many things that you can serve this with! I’ve put my favourite suggestions below:

  • Rice- I’d serve this with brown rice as I think it’s much tastier and healthier. But white rice would work great too!
  • Potatoes- Mashed, steamed, boiled or roasted, this stew doesn’t have any potatoes in it, which means serving it with potatoes is a good wholesome option.
  • Pasta- Try serving it with your favourite pasta shape. Give wholewheat pasta a go for an extra healthy option.
  • Bread- This vegan stew is delicious served with a big chunk of bread to dip in!
  • Other gluten free grains- If you need to keep it gluten free, try serving it with buckwheat, quinoa, or another gluten free grain.
  • Protein- If you want to serve it with some protein on the side, try some crispy baked tofu or fry off some tempeh to top it with.

Instant pot vegan stew FAQs

How long will this stew keep?

This stew will last 4 days if stored in an airtight container in the fridge. This makes it great to prep ahead of time for lunches or dinners.

Can stew be frozen?

This instant pot vegan stew is the perfect recipe for freezing! I like to portion it up in reusable containers, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

How do I reheat vegan stew?

To reheat from refrigerated, you can microwave each portion for 2-3 minutes. If you want to reheat it on the stovetop, warm it over a medium heat until it’s simmering, about 3-4 minutes for the whole lot.
To heat from frozen, you can pop it in the microwave for about 6-7 minutes per portion, depending on how powerful your microwave is. You can also heat it on the stove until simmering, which should take around 10-15 minutes depending on how many portions you’re doing.

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Two bowls of instant pot vegan stew

Instant Pot Vegan Stew

Chloe from Forkful of Plants
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 4
Easy to pull together with just 6 simple ingredients, this instant pot vegan stew is tomatoey and light, and the perfect vegan vegetable stew for transitioning out of winter. It cooks in only 5 minutes, with minimal prep needed, so it’s an ideal meal for a quick weeknight dinner.

Ingredients
  

  • 2 medium leeks sliced
  • 1 large cauliflower florets removed
  • 2 400g cans mixed beans drained and rinsed
  • 300 g cherry tomatoes*
  • 1 400g can peeled plum tomatoes
  • 60 g black olives sliced in half
  • 8 sprigs fresh herbs**
  • 250 ml vegetable stock optional

Instructions
 

  • Plug in your pressure cooker and turn on the saute function. Add a little oil in the bottom and give it a minute or two to heat up. Add the leeks, then saute them for 3-4 minutes until they begin to soften. 
  • Turn the saute function off, then add the cauliflower, mixed beans, cherry tomatoes, peeled plum tomatoes and their juices, olives and herbs. If you would like a bit of a thinner stew, you can add between half and a whole cup of vegetable stock.
  • Give it all a good stir, then lock the lid in place. Make sure the steam release valve is closed, then set it to pressure cook on high for 5 minutes.
  • Once the pressure cooker has finished, quick release the pressure. Carefully remove the lid. Take out the large pieces of herbs from the stew, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

*If you don’t have any fresh cherry tomatoes, you can use an extra can of peeled plum tomatoes instead.
**You can use any herbs you want here. I used mint and thyme, but you could use rosemary, sage, parsley or whatever you have to hand.
 
If you want to make this as a slow cooker vegan stew, set it to slow cook for 4 hours on high, or 6 hours on low. Make sure the steam release valve is open if slow cooking.
If you want to cook it on the stovetop, see cooking instructions in recipe post above.
 

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