Pressure cookers: good for just protein-loading Paleos and your pot roast-loving grandma, right?
Turns out, the kitchen gadget comes in handy no matter what diet you follow—yes, even if it’s purely plant-based. And it’s well worth the precious counter space it takes up, because it will save you that thing that you can never seem to find enough of: time.
In her new cookbook Vegan Under Pressure, veggie queen Jill Nussinow sheds light on the incredible variety of ways that a pressure cooker can be used, no animal products required. And the staples of a plant-centered diet—the beloved legumes, ancient grains, and seasonal vegetables that fill your kitchen—cook in a fraction of their normal time with the help of a pressure cooker.
“When I first took meat off the menu and moved to a plant-based diet, I’d spend hours cooking whole grains and dried beans,” Nussinow writes. The gadget proved to be a real game-changer: “Time and energy spent in the kitchen has decreased while my energy level and diet of fabulous healthy food has improved,” she swears.
Nussinow has since used the pressure cooker to make everything from sauces to desserts (two words: vegan yogurt), and in the process shortened the cooking process significantly. With all the time you’ll save, we suggest taking a minute for you.
Keep reading for Nussinow’s three favorite pressure cooker recipes.
4 C’s Warm Berry Salad
Serves 4 to 6
1 cup chopped red or yellow onion
1 1/2 cups chopped red cabbage plus 1 2/2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1 cup rye berries, soaked overnight and drained
1 tsp caraway seeds
2 bay leaves
3/4 cup vegetable stock or water
2 Tbsp whole-grain mustard
1 Tbsp date or maple syrup
1 to 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 medium carrot, grated (1/2 to 1 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat a stovetop cooker over medium heat, or set an electric cooker to sauté. Add the onion and the 1 1/2 cups chopped cabbage and dry sauté until the onion starts to look translucent. Add water by the tablespoon as needed to prevent any sticking.
2. Add the rye berries, caraway seeds, bay leaves, and stock. Lock the lid on the cooker. Bring to high pressure; cook for 25 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you.
3. Carefully remove and discard the bay leaves. Transfer the grain mixture to a large bowl and let cool until almost room temperature. Once cool, drain and discard any remaining cooking liquid.
4. Combine the mustard, date or maple syrup, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Add the dressing to the cooled rye.
5. Stir in the sliced cabbage, carrot, and chives. Add salt (if you like) and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to five days. Taste and adjust seasonings before serving.
Tapioca Berry Parfait
1/2 cup small pearl (not instant) tapioca
2 cups almond or any nondairy milk
Pinch of salt, optional
1/4 cup organic sugar or blonde coconut palm sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 cups fresh berries of your choice, sliced as needed
Fresh mint, for garnish
1. Place the tapioca pearls in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under running water for 30 seconds.
2. Add the milk to a pressure cooker. Add the tapioca and salt, if using, and stir. Lock on the lid. Bring to high pressure; cook for four minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally. Quick release any remaining pressure after 20 minutes. Open the lid carefully, tilting it away from you.
3. Stir in the sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest.
4. Spoon 2 tablespoons berries into the bottom of 4 pretty bowls or parfait glasses. Add about 1/4 cup tapioca, then 3 tablespoons berries. Add another 1/4 cup tapioca and top with berries. Garnish with mint.
Variation: If stone fruits are in season, substitute chopped stone fruit for the berries.
Borscht with a Lemon Twist and Greens
Serves 6 to 8
1 cup diced red onion
2 medium carrots, diced equal to about 1 cup
1/2 tsp dill
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
2 bay leaves
5 cups finely sliced red cabbage (about ½ medium head)
1 pound beets (2 to 3 medium), ideally with their greens, washed well, roots chopped
1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed and picked over
4 cups vegetable stock
Grated zest and juice of one lemon
1 tsp smoked or regular salt, optional
2 to 3 cups finely chopped beet greens or Swiss chard
Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, chives, or dill, for garnish
Nondairy yogurt, for garnish
1. Heat a stovetop pressure cooker over medium heat or set an electric cooker to sauté. Add the onion and carrots and dry sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the dill, caraway, bay leaves, cabbage, beet roots, lentils, and stock.
2. Lock the lid on the cooker. Bring to high pressure; cook for 8 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally. Remove the lid, carefully tilting it away from you.
3. Using a pair of tongs, carefully remove and discard the bay leaves. Using an immersion blender if you have one, puree the soup in the pot to the consistency that you like. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, carefully blend in batches in a regular blender.) Add the lemon zest and juice and smoked salt, if using.
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