Can you smell that? The first smells of Fall are in our kitchen. Not only is the weather about to be amazing, but we are super excited to share some recipes full of that warmth and spiciness that only Autumn can deliver. And this Instant Pot pumpkin soup is only the beginning! It’s both vegan (aka plant-based) and gluten-free, with a non-traditional flavor profile.
Using the sauté setting - add oil and cook onions until soft and translucent (about 3 - 4 minutes), stirring constantly to prevent burning/browning. Then add cauliflower florets, 1 tsp. of salt, and black pepper and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Next add vinegar and cook for another minute or two, until mostly evaporated.
Add broth, pumpkin, cardamom, nutmeg, molasses, and 2 tsp. of salt to IP. Mix well. Lock lid and switch to manual setting for 5 minutes.
Once cook time is complete, rapid-release pressure. Then remove lid.
Using and immersion blender - blend soup until completely smooth. Or transfer to a high-powered blender (in batches). Remove the round insert from top of the blender and cover the hole with a towel. Blend slowly at first, increasing speed incrementally to avoid mess. Blend until incredibly smooth.
Serve and enjoy!
Top with your condiments of choice, like pumpkin seeds. Pictured with sautéed mushrooms, cashew cream, and green onions.
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If there’s anything that we miss while eating a plant-based diet, burgers are near the top of that list. And let’s be honest, there are a lot of bad veggie burgers out there. But this vegan butter bean burger recipe is so delicious that even your carnivore friends with tear this up without hesitation!
In a sauté pan, cook the onions in 2 Tbsp. vegan butter, 2 tsp. salt, and ¼ cup water over medium heat for about 1 hour (until slightly caramelized with a honey-like color), stirring frequently. Then roughly chop into medium dice-size pieces and add to large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, in medium-sized pot - cover frozen butterbeans with water, add bay leaf, black pepper, and 2 Tbsp. vegan butter. Bring to boil and cook until completely tender (about 30 minutes). Once done cooking, turn off heat and add 2 tsp. salt and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Then drain and add to large mixing bowl. Using a potato masher - Mash until mixture is about ½ whole beans and half mashed beans.
In a large bowl, toss the beans together with all the other ingredients except grape seed oil. Then, using an ice cream scoop - make patties and place them on a tray lined with parchment paper. Move the tray to the refrigerator and let rest for about 20 minutes. (These can also be frozen and saved for a later date.)
In a nonstick pan - heat grape seed oil over medium-high heat until smoking, then add as many patties as the pan can hold without being crowded. Let burger cook until caramelized and crispy (about 3 minutes) then flip and repeat on other side.
I’m not exactly sure how this happened. But somehow and some way, this Instant Pot vegan potato soup has a “meaty” flavor. Now, that is not the point – to have food taste like meat. But when eating a strict plant-based diet, I’ll take any meaty flavor I can get! And, additionally, is actually more of a potato-vegetable chowder than a soup.
Now that we’ve entered a season of plant-based eating, one of my favorite things to do is revisit old recipes I’ve created and transform them. And this vegan instant pot white bean soup has got to be one of my favorites so far.
I have to admit… I have never been a big fan of tofu. There’s something about the texture that can get weird for me. But I will say this… I have also had tofu before that was delicious. So you can rest assured that if I’m sharing a tofu recipe with you, it is going to be delicious! And this tofu stir-fry is everything: sweet, salty, spicy, and savory.
My Favorite Tofu Ever. For Real.
The secret to this dish, IMO, is the preparation of the tofu – which is obviously the star. There are three steps in the process, but it’s SO worth it once you take your first bite! There’s actual texture, not just a soft, mushy piece of soy. And the caramelized glaze can be eaten alone by the spoonful! Just make sure you use a good nonstick pan because it might stick while cooking.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Wrap tofu in a several paper towels and set a plate on top to press out excess liquid. Once dry, unwrap tofu and cut into very small cubes (about 100 pieces). Spread out evenly on the lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, until puffy and slightly crispy on the edges.
Meanwhile, add 1 Tbsp. of sesame oil, soy sauce, molasses, peanut butter, lime juice, and Sriracha to a small bowl and whisk until incorporated. Set aside.
Add baked tofu to the sauce and let marinate for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the tofu and about 3 tablespoons of marinade.
Cook for about 5 minutes until browned and caramelized, stirring frequently. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add remaining marinade, broccoli, and carrots to the skillet. Cover and cook for about 4-5 minutes (until carrots are slightly tender), stirring occasionally. Then remove lid, increase heat to medium-high, and add red bell peppers. Cook for 1-2 minutes more, stirring frequently, then remove from heat.
Serve veggies in a bowl on top of white rice. Top with the caramelized tofu and crushed peanuts. Enjoy!
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I don’t know about you, but I could eat lentils for breakfast. And as a matter of fact, I often do. I’m just not a bowl of oatmeal kind of guy, even though I know I should be. Recently, my two worlds collided – switching to a plant-based diet meets using the Instant Pot for everything possible. And the first creation is this Instant Pot lentil dal. It is super easy to make and pretty much fail-proof.
Comfort Food? Yes!
When you think of comfort food, I’d be willing to bet that curry and lentils don’t come to mind. But, in my opinion, this dish is exactly what comfort food is all about. The flavors are warm and rich. And after eating a bowl, you’re left with that satisfied feeling. Isn’t that pretty much the definition? I believe that every cuisine has comfort food dishes. It’s not just mac-and-cheese and casseroles. Mmmm, casseroles…
My wife and I are in the process of switching to a more plant-based diet (personally, so far, I’ve done about 75/25). So now we will see what my chef skills are truly made of because I’m finding so many vegan/plant-based recipes that taste like… well… crap. That being said… We (with the exception of our 2-year-old daughter) could eat curry almost every day in our household. And this vegan chickpea curry is truly something special!
You Know the 1-Minute Quinoa Trick, Right?
By now, I hope you’ve all jumped on the bandwagon and purchased an Instant Pot. And here’s another reason why you should, if you haven’t already. Not only does adding quinoa to any meal dramatically increase the protein and fiber content, but (admittedly once you’re used to it) it offers a rich and nutty taste that, in my opinion, pairs especially well with curry. More often than not, when making a curry dish, I will forego the brown rice in lieu of quinoa. Plus… it takes a fraction of the time to cook. That’s a win, if nothing else.
Oh, I Almost Forgot to Tell You the Trick
Here are the measurements: 1 part quinoa. 1.5 parts liquid. 1 teaspoon salted seasoning (ie. salt, garlic salt, seasoned salt) . 1 bay leaf.
Here are the times: 1 minute of high pressure cook time. 10 minutes of natural-release pressure. Quick-release remaining pressure, remove lid, and turn off pressure cooker “keep warm” setting or it may overcook and become mushy.
14.5-ounce can tomatoes - fire roasted, petite diced, drained
13.5-ounce can coconut milk
15-ounce can chickpeas - drained
1½ tsp. sea salt
8 oz. fresh baby spinach
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then add the onion and ginger. Cook over medium-high heat until softened (about 5 minutes), stirring frequently. Then add garlic and continue cooking for about 1 minute. Add the curry powder, mix well, and cook until fragrant (less than 1 minute).
Add the tomatoes and their juices, coconut milk, and drained chickpeas; bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and simmer over medium-low heat until slightly thickened (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Turn off heat and stir in the spinach, mixing until wilted.
Transfer to a bowl, serve, and enjoy!
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I’m a firm believer that everyone needs a collection of easy meals for busy nights. Sure, you can turn to take-out on hectic nights, but it’s cheaper and often healthier to make your own meal. This Quick Quinoa Fried Rice is healthy, inexpensive, and perfect for a quick weeknight meal. It’s also gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian!
Why Quinoa Instead of Rice?
Believe me, I love fried rice as much as the next person. And, yes, you can follow this recipe, subbing rice for the quinoa, and still end up with a delicious meal. However, when I have a choice between quinoa and brown rice, quinoa wins out. You can see a comparison of brown rice and quinoa here.
There’s also a fool-proof method of cooking perfect quinoa each and every time using an Instant Pot. Simply add 1 part quinoa, 1.5 parts water (or stock), and cook on high pressure for 1 minute. Then let pressure naturally release for at least 10 minutes. Perfect, fluffy quinoa has never been so easy.
A Note on Onions
Due to my wife’s food intolerances (onions, gluten and dairy – it keeps me on my toes), we often remove onions and use garlic instead – when it works. Below, I’m sharing our family recipe for Quinoa Fried “Rice”, onion-free. Though this dish is delicious without onion, you can easily scale back on the garlic and add some minced onion (or green onions) instead.
Perfect, fall-off-the-bone barbecue chicken with just 3 ingredients in 3 easy steps – Need I say more? This tender pressure cooker BBQ chicken has layers of flavor and is incredibly simple to make.
Just marinate your chicken, throw it in your pressure cooker, then remove and toss with BBQ sauce before finishing in the oven. Use a foil lined baking sheet for easy clean up, and all you have left to clean at the end is your Instant Pot.
The Best Homemade Barbecue Sauce Recipe
Sure, you can use a bottle of store bought sauce if pressed for time. But trust me, once you try this homemade sauce, you’ll never want to go back to store-bought again.
How to Cook the Chicken
3-4 lbs. chicken pieces
16 oz. zesty Italian dressing
2 cups BBQ sauce
Marinate. Add chicken and dressing to a gallon-sized Ziplock bag and marinate for at least one hour (preferably overnight).
Cook. Pour all contents of bag into Instant Pot, lock lid, and use poultry setting (20 minutes, high pressure). Once cook time is complete, allow pressure to naturally release (about 30 minutes). Meanwhile – pour BBQ sauce into a medium-sized bowl. Preheat oven broiler on high.
Char. Carefully individually remove each piece of chicken from Instant Pot with tongs. As you remove them, dip in the BBQ sauce and place on a lined baking sheet. Then place baking sheet under a high broiler for at least 5 minutes, but basically until you have the desired char and caramelization.