Minestra with Creamy Polenta

Serves: 6

Pressure Cooking Time: 5 minutes


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 1 small zucchini, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, and diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • One 14 ½ -ounce can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½  teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups cooked pinto, red, or white kidney beans
  • 2 tablespoons shredded fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Creamy Polenta (recipe follows)
  • Grated dairy or soy-based Parmesan cheese



  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in the pressure cooker over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and the green, red, and yellow bell peppers. Cook until the onion is soft.
  2. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the eggplant and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, water, thyme, 1 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the beans.
  3. Cover and bring to HIGH pressure over HIGH heat. Lower the heat to stabilize the pressure. Cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat. Release the pressure by using the automatic pressure release.
  5. Unlock and remove the cover. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Add the basil and parsley.
  6. Serve over Creamy Polenta with grated Parmesan cheese.

*Recipe adapted from Pressure Cookers For Dummies, 2nd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012), by Tom Lacalamita