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Instant Pot Garlicky White Beans with Tomatoes

garlic white beans and tomatoes on toast

Somehow it’s October. Really, truly fall. I’m writing this from a rather uncomfortable couch in our Airbnb in Rockland, Maine on the eve of packing up the car and heading north for my sister Rachael’s wedding. The kids are asleep, Sam’s sipping a Negroni and writing postcards, and outside there’s the threat of one of those sudden East Coast thunder storms. Everyone’s tired after a day of driving up the coast, visiting Owl’s Head lighthouse and the little town of Camden, walking the boardwalk and getting cookies in Rockland.

As is always the case when we’re away from everything familiar, I notice changes in our kids more immediately. Oliver is asserting his independence more and more (Read: BIG FEELINGS) and Frances has a real lust for life these days, inhaling macaroni noodles, baguette, french fries, cheese and … anything we let her get her hands on. After living with a picky toddler for years, I can’t get enough of watching this girl’s joy around food.

As is also the case when I’m away from home, I think about the things I’m most excited to return to and cooking dinner is right up there at the top of the list – as mundane as that sounds. For weeks leading up to this trip, we were so busy that we relied on lots of frozen Trader Joe’s meals, quesadillas, quick salads, and pasta for dinner. I haven’t done much real cooking in awhile. The one kitchen success I did have was experimenting with cooking beans in the Instant Pot, which I’d had yet to do (so quick! so tender!).  This whole recipe was a grand experiment as I didn’t really know how much extra liquid I’d need to add in addition to the tomatoes or how long the beans would take to cook. I will say that depending on the age, size and brand of your beans your cook time may vary a bit. So don’t panic if your beans are taking a little longer to cook — it’s easy to give them another few minutes in the pressure cooker even after you release the pressure.

If you, too, are looking forward to getting back in the kitchen after a busy summer, I have a hunch you may like this recipe. I imagined serving the beans on toast, and they’re great that way. But they’re more of a thick stew that I like to have with rice (or on its own), chopped fresh basil and feta.  We ate half the batch the night before our flight and I froze the rest — a gift to my future post-vacation self who I know will be tired and hungry and happy to eat something homemade for the first time in what feels like forever.

Instant Pot Garlicky White Beans with Tomatoes

Instant Pot Garlicky White Beans with Tomatoes

  • Yield: 6-8 servings
  • Prep time: 10 mins
  • Cook time: 40 mins
  • Total time: 50 mins


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced (1 cup/145g)
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound cannellini beans, rinsed
3 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
4 ounces tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to season
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Crumbled feta, to serve
Chopped basil, to serve
Crusty toast, to serve (optional)


Add the olive oil to the bowl of the Instant Pot and press the saute button. Once hot, add the onion and a pinch of salt and saute until the onions are soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute.

Turn the saute button off and add the beans, vegetable broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, and red pepper flakes.  Don’t stir (best if tomatoes remain on the top as they can scorch on the bottom).

Cover the machine and press the manual button, cooking on high pressure for 40 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally. If the beans aren’t done cooking, cook on high pressure for another 5 minutes, then manually release the pressure (repeat if they’re still too firm).

Open the lid and stir the mixture well. Taste and adjust the seasoning, as needed.

Serve the beans over toast and top with crumbed feta and basil.


  1. Lori

    This post is inspiring me to finally buy an instant pot! Travel safe.

    1. megang

      They're great! Thanks, Lori :)

  2. Rachel

    Reminds me of grown up sloppy joes, in a good way. I can’t wait to try it.

  3. Alma

    I'm not a vegeterian but I've started thinking of becoming it) This course is really tasty. I recommend it!

  4. Melanie Rose Lisy

    This is a great dish and is perfect for anytime! You easily have all these ingredients in your pantry, which is great for our quarantine situation! Thank you!

    1. megang

      So glad, Melanie!

  5. Matt

    This looks great. What adjustments in liquid and cooking time would you make if you were using presoaked beans? THANKS!

    1. megang

      Hey, Matt! Sorry for the delay! So honestly I've never made the recipe with pre-soaked beans. My gut tells me you're going to save yourself 5-10 minutes of cook time in the IP. So I'd go ahead and shave 10 min off the cook time and check them out from there. Obviously you can pop them back in to cook another 5 min (but hard to reverse coarse if they're overcooked). Hope that helps!!

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