Camper Cooking: Instant Pot Mexican Black Bean Soup (Vegan)

I’m a fan of creating my own homemade soups because I’m not a fan of store bought. This Mexican inspired black bean soup was one of my first recipes, and remains one of my very favorites. However, this will be my first attempt at making it in the Instant Pot.

The Instant Pot has come in handy in the camper. 🙂 My mom gave it to me a couple years ago for Christmas. How awesome and useful the gift I never knew I needed has become!! I ❤ my mom. She’s the reason my kids and I are spoiled. She’s the most generous person I know. Case in point: she gave up her prepaid mausoleum crypt site to her best friend after her friend had died of cancer but made no arrangements. Basically, as you might realize, an angel raised me. 🙂

This soup is heavenly too. 🙂

Per usual, you’ll want to saute chopped onions first. If you have fresh garlic, mince and saute with the onions. If not, garlic powder will suffice.

You’ll need two cans of black beans. I like the spicy black beans, of course. Don’t worry about rinsing the beans–just dump all the contents into the pot once the onions have softened into golden bits of flavor.

Black beans provide plenty of protein and fiber, and benefit your heart, bones, and digestive health. If you lack an enzyme though, you’ll fart. Lol Beans don’t affect my intestines thankfully. Health Benefits of Black Beans

I also add a can of water. Then I dump in paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, chili powder, and salt by the teaspoon. I prefer it with a kick. Use a quarter or half a teaspoon if you don’t.

For color and vitamins, I chop red and yellow peppers and include it in the soup, as well as a half cup of sweet corn. If you want to further limit carbs, then omit the corn. I love peppers, even though I’m sensitive to foods in the nightshade family. They make me burpy and slightly upset my stomach if I eat them raw. But I can’t live without peppers. They’re some of the healthiest vegetables (ahem, fruits) around, so loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants. Peppers: World’s Healthiest Foods Given the flu abounds at the moment, we can’t go wrong eating as much as possible.

Set the Instant Pot to the soup setting for 15 minutes.

Serve hot! Keep it vegan friendly, or top with Mexican style shredded cheese. 🙂


  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • 2 cans black beans (do not rinse)
  • Can of water
  • Spices: paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, chili pepper, salt
  • 1 yellow and 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 0.5 – 1 cup sweet corn
  • Optional: Mexican style cheese


Camper Cooking: Instant Pot Zucchini Squash Corn Chowder (Vegetarian, Vegan Option)

When the Polar Vortex delivers -21*F (wind chill) and you’re iced in, you make soup. 🙂

We planned ahead on a few meals and had the ingredients on hand before we couldn’t open the frozen-shut door. Our Tale of Sub-Zero Living in a Travel Tralier and the Abominable Snowman

As I mentioned in a previous blog (Camper Cooking: Instant Pot Moroccan Lentil Stew [Vegetarian, Vegan Option]), I’m converting favorite stovetop recipes to make in the Instant Pot. Shane loves this soup and requests it fairly often. I’d say it’s a staple dinner in our home–try it for you and your family. Let me know if you liked it!

I do hope you’ll enjoy this simple, healthy, low-carb Zucchini Squash Corn Chowder. It’s more suited to cooler autumn than frigid winter, simply because on it’s own it’s not as hearty as most winter soups. Serve with whole grain crusty bread or throw in some potato chunks if you need filler. Still, the late summer soup warms you from the inside, and it was the perfect remedy to the ice outside the door and at the windows.

Save for spices, the recipe calls for only 6 ingredients: zucchini, yellow squash, corn, onion, vegetable broth, and cream. You don’t have to be limited if you prefer to include more. 🙂 I like the simplicity, the lower cost, and zucchini is nutritionally dense without much need for other vegetables. 17 Science Backed Health Benefits of Zucchini

I flavor the chowder with thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper–normally white pepper, but I didn’t pack it for the camper. Unfortunately I couldn’t bring all my spices. 😦 You could add basil, parsley, bay leaves, even dill for a unique ting or jalapeno for a kick.

First order of Instant Pot business is sauteing the onions in a few tablespoons of olive oil.

Once your onions look soft and golden, throw in the chopped zucchini and squash.

I like to nearly carmelize my vegetables, so I had to continually stir to avoid caramelizing the bottom of the pot. Cook at least until soft or let them cook in the broth. Your choice; you’re the chef!

When they reach their desired doneness for you, dump in the spices. I say dump because I didn’t use a measuring spoon. 🙂 When you’ve cooked for as long as I have and you create your own recipes, you forget to measure. It’s all by sight. Looks like enough! LOL I taste test as I cook. Though, I can’t quite do that with the Instant Pot once the lid locks on. Truly gambling with dinner now! 😉

Stir the spices and vegetables, then pour in the carton of vegetable broth (or at least 24-32 ounces of homemade broth). Next add the corn, as little or as much as you want. I prefer fewer to keep the carbs lower.

The next step can be skipped or modified for the vegan option. I use cream, sometimes as much as a cup. I only used about a quarter cup for this version because we didn’t have enough cream. No matter the amount the cream thickens and sweetens the chowder. If you skip, you’ll end up with a thinner, watery soup, which is fine, but it won’t be a chowder. For Vegans who want the creaminess but not the dairy, you can make cashew or almond cream. It’s easy to do in a blender or food processor. Soak cashews or almonds in water (few hours or overnight), drain, then add fresh water to blend smooth. Viola! Vegan cream. 🙂

After you add your dairy or non-dairy cream, stir and taste. Do you need to adjust your spices? Last chance until finished “souping” in the Instant Pot.

All good? Set the Instant Pot to the soup function, either on low or medium heat for 15 minutes.

Your Instant Pot will steam when complete. Don’t approach it! It’s like a baby dragon, no fire yet, but its steam will cook your face off.

Ladle chowder into bowls. Shane loves his with shredded cheddar cheese.

I’ve made low-carb cheddar crackers for the chowder in the past. All you do is drop rounds of shredded cheese on a parchment covered sheet and bake at 400 until cheese melts and browns into delicious crisps that taste amazing in the soup or as a snack. 🙂 I call them cheese crack. 🙂


  • Quarter of an onion, diced
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 yellow squash, chopped
  • Spices: thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper (1-2 teaspoons maybe. I didn’t measure)
  • 1 c of frozen corn
  • 1 carton of vegetable broth
  • 1/4 to 1 c dairy or non-dairy cream

Enjoy your Zucchini Squash Corn Chowder!!!

Camper Cooking: Instant Pot Moroccan Lentil Stew (Vegetarian, Vegan Option)

I love to cook and bake, but I’ve not done a lot of camper/camp cooking. Shane and I backpack, and we rarely bring a camp stove or food to prepare. So full-time camper living has thrust me into new territory, literally and figuratively. 🙂

Firstly, I had to downsize. I left most of my bakeware and cookware back home, as well as appliances such as my professional Kitchenaid stand mixer. Space is limited, and the convection microwave oven is small itself. If I bake, I’m restricted to mini pans. Thankfully I have those and packed every single one. 🙂

That said, I brought my bulky Instant Pot. Why? It runs off electricity (off-grid with solar power or hooked into campground) instead of the propane that fuels the stove. Considering water vapor is a byproduct of burning propane, we want to minimize the use, especially during the winter when we’re trying to keep humidity down.

Therefore, I’m converting my stovetop recipes to make in the Instant Pot. One of my favorite winter recipes I have created is what I call Moroccan Lentil Stew, and I made it in the Instant Pot for the first time!

Is this dish really Moroccan? In theory perhaps. I don’t know if Moroccans have made something like this at home, but I like to think they do. Harira is an authentic Moroccan soup made with lentils, chickpeas, and tomato. My stew has lentils and tomatoes but no chickpeas because Shane’s not a fan of them. I ❤ chickpeas, but I ❤ Shane too. Cooking for him is an easy way to show love, so I’ll sacrifice the chickpeas for him. That’s love.

My stew also incorporates traditional spices found in Moroccan cuisine: Cumin, ginger, paprika, cayenne pepper,and mint. I could add saffron as well, but the stew is flavorful without the most expensive spice in the world. Saffron is made of real gold I think. 😉

You could be more scientific with your spice measurements than I am. I simply scoop out a teaspoon or two of each. 😛 None of that half teaspoon. It’s all or nothing in my kitchen. 🙂

If Shane wasn’t sharing this dish, I would add a ton of cayenne pepper. My preferred spice level is “volcano”. You may want more or less. Shane has normal people taste buds though, and I must limit it to 1 measly teaspoon. Because I ❤ him and am not trying to kill him.

I think the Moroccan Lentil Stew is easy to prepare. For those with diet concerns, it’s vegan unless you serve it with feta cheese sprinkled on top. Shane doesn’t like feta cheese either. So he eats the vegan version.

The first step involves chopping your onion. It doesn’t matter if you chop half, a quarter, or a whole. It depends on how much you like onion. I only use a quarter to a third. You can decide how big the onion bits will be too. Cooking is all about your tastes!

In the Instant Pot, you’ll select the “saute” function. Measure out at least a tablespoon of olive oil and add to pot. Unless you’re like I am, then just pour to coat bottom because “good fats!” Saute your onions until soft and golden. If they’re brown, you’ve caramelized them, but it won’t affect your dish. 🙂

I like to add my spices after sauteing and mix with onions for 10 seconds. The onions soak up the spices. Greedy ogres. Ogres are like onions, if you recall.

Next dump in the can of lentils and tomatoes.

I’m a fan of organic foods and fire roasted tomatoes. You can choose whatever you prefer: roasted, not roasted, diced, crushed, stewed, not canned. 🙂 I can’t wait until I have a garden to grow my own vegetables. 🙂

Stir the pot. I pour in at least a cup of water as I want it more liquidy. Not enough to make it soupy though. Then I throw in a bunch of spinach.

Yes, our spinach was frozen. We had it outside in the cooler because the Giant Eagle only had the large tub of spinach, which doesn’t fit in our camper refrigerator. Everything froze, including our water pipes.

Now the easy part of cooking. Close the lid on the Instant Pot, set it to “stew”, and for 10-15 minutes. Not the 20 minutes I set. I stopped the cooking before the timer because all the hissing. My Instant Pot was really steamed. Lol

I hope you’ll enjoy my Moroccan Lentil Stew!


  1. 1-2 Tbs olive oil
  2. Chopped onion
  3. Spices: cayenne (red) pepper, cumin, garlic, ginger, mint, and salt. Recommended tsp each.
  4. Can of brown lentils
  5. Can of diced tomatoes
  6. Fresh spinach (2-3 cups, handfuls, however much green you want)
  7. 1-2 C water or broth
  8. Optional: feta cheese to top

Serve in bowls with naan or focaccia bread.