It can be challenging to eat healthy meals when the temperature drops. I’ve reached a point where I just want to curl up in a warm blanket and eat comforting foods until Spring arrives. Luckily, this Instant Pot Vegan Curried Butternut Squash Soup is the best of both worlds. It’s warm, comforting, and healthy!
What I love about making soup in the Instant Pot is that you can cook everything in just one pot. No extra dirty dishes to clean! Unlike many slow cookers, the Instant Pot has a sauté setting, so you can first sauté aromatic ingredients, such as onion or garlic, to bring out a caramelized flavor before adding in the rest of the ingredients and sealing the lid. This makes SUCH a difference in flavor. (Trust me, I tested a lot of slow cooker and pressure cooker methods while working on my next cookbook, No Excuses Detox.)
While the Instant Pot is known for being a huge time-saver, steaming veggies in a mere 3 minutes and cooking rice or chicken in only 12 minutes, I wouldn’t say it’s a significant time saver when it comes to soups. They still take about 30 minutes in an Instant Pot, after it comes to pressure, which I assume is due to their sheer volume of ingredients and liquid. However, it’s still convenient to press a button and walk away to do other things! You can even run errands out of the house, since your stove isn’t on. The Instant Pot will automatically keep your food warm after it’s done cooking, too, so you don’t have to time things perfectly like you might for a stove-top meal.
That’s why I gave one of my favorite winter soups, this Curried Butternut Squash Soup, an Instant Pot “makeover.” It’s so convenient to throw the ingredients in the pot, press a button, and forget about it until the timer goes off. Blended with a bit of coconut milk, this soup is slightly sweet and slightly spicy, and you can serve it with any toppings you like to add another layer of contrasting textures and flavors. I hope you’ll enjoy it!
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion , chopped
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 (3 pound) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (or use frozen)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (coconut cream is fine, too)
- Hulled pumpkin seeds
- Dried cranberries
Hit the "sauté" button on the Instant Pot. Add in the olive oil and onion, and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add in the garlic and curry powder sauté just until fragrant, about one more minute.
Turn the Instant Pot off for a moment, then add the butternut squash, salt, and water into the pot. Cover with the lid and be sure to seal the top for pressure cooking. Select the "soup" setting, and let the soup cook at high pressure for 30 minutes.
When the soup is done, I like to wait 10 minutes before releasing the pressure, but I don't think that's necessary if you're in a hurry-- feel free to use the "quick release" method by turning the valve on the lid from sealing to venting. Whichever method you use, just be sure that the pressure is totally released before attempting to remove the lid. It releases very easily when the pressure is removed.
Use an immersion blender to puree the soup directly in the pot, or transfer the cooked soup to a blender or food processor to blend until smooth. If using a blender, be sure to lightly cover the vent in your blender lid with a dish towel, to help the pressure from the steam release without splattering. (The pressure from hot liquids can blow the lid off your blender otherwise, and cause burns.)
Return the blended soup to the pot and stir in the coconut milk. (You can use coconut cream, if you don't mind a slightly creamier soup.) Adjust any seasoning to taste at this point, I usually add a touch more salt, and serve warm. Top with hulled pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries, if desired.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week in the fridge.
Note: As always, please leave a comment below if you try any substitutions with this recipe. I’ve made it with almond milk instead of coconut milk, and the results are fine– just not quite as creamy.
Like most soups, I think the leftovers of this Instant Pot Vegan Curried Butternut Squash Soup taste even better the next day, thanks to the flavors mingling overnight. I imagine you could even use it as a “curry sauce” over an assortment of tender vegetables for an entirely different meal in the future. I hope you’ll enjoy it!
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite winter soup? Any other Instant Pot “makeover” requests?