Pressure cooking used to terrify me. With the help of JL Fields, Lindsay Nixon, and plant-based Facebook groups, I’m a happy convert. Not only am I spending less time in the kitchen overall, I’m spending less money on dining out.
Being the sole plant-based person in the house is challenging enough. Converting to more of a whole foods plan for the family added to the challenge. While less packaged ingredients came into our home, meal prep and cooking time increased. There were some days that dinner didn’t hit the table until 7-8 pm when dinner prep started at 3-4. Using the slow cooker helped, but only when the ingredients were pre-thawed.
Many members of the Eat to Live Facebook group mentioned an Instant Pot and how it made the ETL lifestyle easier. Then JL Fields of JLGoesVegan.com released Vegan Pressure Cooking and my mother-in-law received an electric pressure cooker as a gift. I was intrigued, but worried because of past experiences and stories about stove top units exploding. My worries faded as people everywhere praised the pressure cooker and how it saved dinner. I read reviews on various units and took the plunge.
Electric pressure cookers often have preset settings that make cooking easier. A 6 quart unit works perfectly for my family of four. I chose the Instant Pot, but there are a variety of electric pressure cookers available. The Power Pressure Cooker and Cuisinart CPC-600 are available in many Charleston-area stores, including Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, Walmart, and Costco.
So far, I’ve cooked several batches of oats, rice (brown, white, Jasmine, and blends, and dry beans in the pressure cooker with no problems. The rice was ready in less time than from a rice cooker and came out perfectly. Soaked dry beans were ready for recipes or the freezer in 25 minutes. I can coook unsoaked beans in less than an hour. Fresh Collard Greens came out perfectly in 30 minutes – just enough time to get a batch of corn muffins out of the oven. Creamy macaroni and cheese took 10 minutes.
Soups and stews take even less time but have a deep, slow simmered flavor. My favorite omni-pleasing chili recipe took less than 20 minutes from prep to finish. I started with the saute function and give onions, garlic, and celery a quick saute before adding the spices, beans, canned tomatoes with liquid, tvp, and a splash of vegetable broth or dark beer. I locked on the lid and manually set the unit to 10 minutes on high pressure and walked away. My game day entree was ready long before kickoff and I didn’t have a lot to clean afterward.
I have not tackled pressure cooked desserts yet, but with the holidays just around the corner, I just might.